Friday, March 8, 2024

Syfy’s ‘Resident Alien,’ a strange but worthwhile winner

By Matt Pascarella

Rated: TV-14
2 seasons on Netflix with a third season currently airing on the SyFy channel

It’s a mystery within a mystery. It does get a little weird in spots. When an alien’s ship crashes in the small town of Patience, Colorado, the alien takes the form of Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle, who has a cabin by the lake. In order to do so, the alien kills Vanderspeigle and throws his body in the lake.

When the town doctor, Sam Hodges is found murdered, the town calls on Vanderspeigle to solve the murder, but he has to learn how to fit in his new human body. I know this sounds a bit out there, but I enjoyed this very much, and it’s not as gory/violent as it sounds.

This Syfy original stars Alan Tudyk, Sara Tomko, Levi Fiehler, Elizabeth Bowen, Judah Prehn, Corey Reynolds, Alice Wetterlund, Meredith Garretson, Gary Farmer, Gracelyn Awad Rinke and Jenna Lamia.

The alien’s mission was to drop his device on Earth and go back home.

“Nobody in their right mind would live in a place like this, unless they have something to hide,” says alien Harry (Tudyk) at the start of the series.

After the alien assumes the body of the actual Harry Vanderspiegle, he learns to talk by watching “Law & Order.” He becomes mildly obsessed with Detective Lennie Briscoe and in one episode later in the series even dresses, and acts like the detective, using very similar speech patterns and mannerisms.

One of my favorite lines was when alien Harry says, “A birthday party is just a participation trophy.”

Town Doctor Sam Hodges is found dead and the local sheriff and medical professional Asta (Tomko) and Mayor Ben Hawthorne (Fiehler) ask alien Harry to help figure out how he died. Alien Harry knows in order to survive and complete his mission he must fit in. Alien Harry’s awkward movements and responses to questions or statements he might not fully understand made me root for him, despite the fact that his goal is to vanquish human life.

The actual Harry Vanderspiegle is at the bottom of the lake near his cabin. The alien must also find his body before it washes ashore.

Despite his weirdness, he does make friends with Asta and others in the town. And then there is Max (Prehn) who can see alien Harry in his true form and knows he’s an alien.

This is based on the Dark Horse comic of the same name by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse. I don’t know how closely the show follows the comic, but before watching this, I had only seen Alan Tudyk in a couple movies and didn’t think much of him. After seeing him play alien Harry Vanderspeigle, I have a whole new appreciation for his talent.

He is only made better by his great supporting cast. His “alien” mannerisms and dialect make this fun show that much funnier. There is mild language and sexual content. It has a great soundtrack with a lot of endearing, sweet moments. Harry learns what it means to be human and maybe even develop a feeling or two.

Detective Lennie Briscoe gives it two thumbs up. Kung! Kung!

Currently airing on the Syfy channel, with the first two seasons available to stream on Netflix and all seasons available to stream on Peacock. <

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