“Resident Alien” is based on the comic book of the same name by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse, published by Dark Horse Comics from 2012 (and still in progress). Alan Tudyk plays an alien visitor who crashes into a small Colorado mountain town on a mission and ends up being forced to replace a reclusive doctor on the outskirts of town, calling himself Harry Vanderspeigle. When the town doctor is eventually murdered, Harry descends from the hills and learns to behave like a human while investigating the crime with the help of the deceased doctor’s nurse named Asta (Sara Tomko) and the sheriff. of the city (Corey Reynolds). ).
At first it feels like “Resident Alien” could be a mystery show of the week in which a goofy alien dressed up as a man played by Alan Tudyk has to solve crimes and let me just say I would totally watch this show every time. the weeks. Surprisingly enough, the first few episodes don’t really dig into that potential, sometimes lazily pushing their characters in a way that’s more prime time than necessary. Even “Northern Exposure” had more standalone stories packed into individual episodes than “Resident Alien,” which essentially uses its early episodes to tell an ongoing story of Harry’s attempts to merge with normal human society. He struggles with simple human concepts like handshakes and decorum while looking for something he lost during the crash landing and facing the fact that there is a kid in town who can see. its true alien form. There’s a better version of it all that has a bit more urgency, both in the individual episodes and as a whole.
But despite the frustrating structure, “Resident Alien” is an easy hangout series thanks in large part to its cast. Tudyk discovers the strangeness of an alien who must learn to deal with not only human behavior, but the emotions and connections that come with it, things that don’t really concern his species. He basically learns to act like a human by watching cable TV, and Tudyk captures the character’s blend of awkward fascination with his predicament without going overboard. It’s an excellent physical performance, perfectly calibrated in a way that suggests the locals would take a break, but also then brush off its uniqueness as a personality quirk. Most of the rest of the cast are forced to play the straight man with the eccentricities of Tudyk, but they all do it admirably, especially Tomko and Alice Wetterlund, who almost steals the show as a charming bartender named D’arcy (in especially in his scenes with Tudyk.). It’s when the show contrasts fully realized and believable characters like D’arcy against the ridiculous concept at its center that it is at its best. (Less when it gets surprisingly soapy in some of its developments, including a secret baby.)