Resident Alien: “One Of The Funniest Shows… About Destroying The Entire Human Race”

Resident Alien, the sci-fi murder-mystery doctor-dramedy Earth needs now, has crash landed on Showmax.

Emmy nominee Alan Tudyk (Hoban “Wash” Washburne in Firefly and Serenity) stars as an alien trying to pass himself off as small-town human doctor Harry Vanderspiegel. 

As Harry sees it, “To say my species is more advanced than humans would be a massive understatement. If the universe had a scale for intelligence, humans would land right below lizards.” But learning “how to human” – mostly from reruns of old Law & Order episodes – isn’t as easy as a superior species might assume.  

As Harry assimilates into his new world, while trying to solve a murder, he begins to wrestle with the moral dilemma of his secret mission to wipe out humanity. He is soon asking big life questions like: “Are human beings worth saving?” and “Why do they fold their pizza before eating it?” 

Based on the Dark Horse comic by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse, Resident Alien won Best Cable Series: Comedy at the 2021 Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards.

Even if you’re not a Firefly fan, you’ll recognise Tudyk from his support roles in the likes of Knocked Up, DodgeBall and A Knight’s Tale, as well as his Screen Actors’ Guild Award-nominated performances in 3:10 to Yuma and Trumbo

But in many of his most iconic roles, you don’t even see his face: from his motion-capture performances as K-2SO in Rogue One and the robot, Sonny, in I, Robot, to his voice-over work on the likes of Frozen, Zootopia, Wreck-It Ralph, Raya and the Last Dragon and Moana (he was Heihei the chicken). 

“Alan Tudyk is amazing,” says Sheridan. “I thought I knew what I was looking for in the alien, and it wasn’t until Alan came in that I knew what the character was…. Behind the scenes, there’s a transformation that takes place. You’ll be talking to him and he’ll just seem like a normal guy and then, the second the camera starts rolling, this look comes over his face, and without doing anything, he looks like a different person.”

But as wonderful as Tudyk is, the series thankfully doesn’t hang its entire premise on the awkwardly hunched shoulders of one undercover alien. In adapting the comic book, Sheridan told Variety his goal “was to figure out what the show would be… if the alien never showed up — that there were characters who were interesting and funny and quirky and had their own journeys.” 

The result, says co-star Sara Tomko (Once Upon A Time), is “an exploration of what it is to be ‘other’… a small town family drama that happens to have an alien.” 

Screen Actors Guild nominee Corey Reynolds (The Closer), Alice Wetterlund (Silicon Valley) and Levi Fiehler (The Fosters) co-star as the residents of Patience, Colorado, while guest stars include Emmy nominee Linda Hamilton (Sarah Connor in The Terminator movies), Emmy winner Terry O’Quinn (John Locke from Lost), and Tudyk’s Firefly co-star, People’s Choice Award winner Nathan Fillion (Castle, The Rookie).

“Everybody in the town is kind of stuck on their own stuff,” Wetterlund explains. “They don’t really notice that this guy is completely abnormal.”

Thanks to Tudyk, that abnormal quickly grows on you. “Harry has this innocence about him where he’s trying to do his job, and at the same time, trying to learn how to be human, which, as we all know, is a complicated concept,” says Tomko. 

Human-Harry’s facial contortions conjure precisely the uncanny valley you’d expect from a face recently donned by an alien who hasn’t quite figured out how to operate it yet. This is a feat in itself, but, as IMDb says, “it’s the way he slowly becomes human, at an emotional level, that makes this series one of a kind.” 

“I think people are going to enjoy experiencing this world through Harry’s eyes,” Tudyk says dryly, “…‘cause they’re alien eyes… they’re very large.”

Season 2 has already been greenlit, with three-time Emmy winner Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Susie Myerson) joining the cast.

Add Resident Alien to your Showmax watchlist: https://www.showmax.com/eng/tvseries/of48e651-resident-alien  

By Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers. Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry. Catch him on Twitter: twitter.com/andrewgerm_za Instagram: instagram.com/andrewgerm_za IMDb: www.imdb.com/name/nm5390453/