Created by Chris Sheridan
Based on Resident Alien by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse
Produced by Universal Cable Productions, Dark Horse Entertainment, and Amblin Television
January 27, 2021 to present
- Captain Hah Re / Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle-Alan Tudyk
- Asta Twelvetrees-Sara Tomko
- Mike Thompson-Corey Reynolds
- D’arcy Morin-Alice Wetterlund
- Ben Hawthorne-Levi Fiehler
- Max-Judah Prehn
An alien is sent to Earth on a nefarious mission but things go wrong and when he crashes he must hide among the people of a small Colorado town until rescue arrives and he can complete his mission.
I just caught the pilot episode of this series creatively titled “Pilot.” The title is my first beef here. I hate that. Use that before the show gets picked up but do us all a favor and rename it. That pet peeve aside, what we have here is an interesting premise.
The titular character finds himself near a town filled with quirky people. And in a town of quirky individuals Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle (Alan Tudyk) is the quirkiest even without being from outer space. His real name is Captain Hah Re who is sent to drop a bomb on Earth because the human race is seen as a threat. Harry comes across and replaces the REAL Dr. Vanderspeigle and promptly goes to work watching television (specifically Law & Order) to learn English and blend in.
Tudyk’s performance is awkward and robotic, as it should be, as he plays an alien pretending to be human. He can at times be condescending to the people around him. We catch glimpses of Hah Re’s real form in reflections with the implication being he is seeing himself as he really is. Strangely in these moments it feels like Tudyk is human in his performance of the alien
Vanderspeigle looks as if he is going to be able to exist comfortably anonymously until the death of town doctor Sam Hodges (Jan Bos) and Vanderspeigle being the only other physician in the area gets pulled into the investigation to act as a medical examiner.
Asta Twelvetrees (Sara Tomko) acts as the assistant to Hah Re/Vanderspeigle during the course of the investigation. She knew Dr. Hodges and seeks an answer to who murdered him and dismisses Vanderspeigle’s original assessment that the lethal injuries to the doctor were self-inflicted in an apparent suicide attempt. She has an abusive SO and during the course of the episode Vanderspeigle starts to become attached to her and even goes so far as to save her from him when his goal is ultimately to kill all humans.
Mike Thompson (Corey Reynolds) is the town’s local sheriff and likes to be called Big Black. D’arcy Morin (Alice Wetterlund) is the town’s bar owner and gets a little flirty with Harry in this episode. I get the feeling she will become part of a romantic triangle. Ben Hawthorne (Levi Fiehler) is the town’s young mayor.
According to the series mythology established in this episode, an extremely small portion of humanity is capable of seeing through Hah Re’s disguise and unfortunately for Harry one of them lives in the town he has settled in. Max (Judah Prehn) is a young boy he first encounters out in the street and immediately freaks out. Harry’s first instinct is to kill the kid after a night of dancing and drinking whiskey which fails to go as planned.
The pilot episode called “Pilot” does a good job of establishing the major characters and their relationships with each other as well as the plot thread that will run throughout the season. The tone and general environment is well laid out. This show could be seen as a spiritual cousin to Twin Peaks being set in an oddball town with the implication of unusual things to come.
Resident Alien certainly has potential but Syfy more often than not shows a lack of interest in investing in and nurturing its programming. It killed Farscape. I will never get over that. They axed the Stargate franchise. They have favored low budget productions with poor quality scripts. I understand television is a business but good content matters. They have even taken to dipping into reality television with a sci-fi theme to it. Or worse on movie nights show James Bond Casino Royale or Braveheart and I do not recall science fiction or fantasy aspects in either of those.
I have heard some say Resident Alien is probably Syfy’s last chance at relevance and they could be right. If this turns out to be a good show (and it looks like it could be) and they cut the budget or cancel it I think the network is done. It will be one more indication they do not care about content and with a star like Tudyk who has a loyal and at times vocal following that could be more than they could handle. I am not calling Tudyk a huge star but his fanbase is made up of geeks and geeks are vocal.
This is definitely on the low budget side but given the premise they set up it should work. A little budget show with a premise that lends itself to a little budget tends to work. We have a good cast and in the pilot some really good writing.
There is a lot of potential here and I think the upcoming season could be quite good. The question is if Resident Alien is able to keep the quality up will sci-fi keep it going? I certainly hope so. I suggest you carve out a time on Wednesdays at 10 PM and watch it! Resident Alien deserves to succeed because it is very good from what they have shown so far.