Review: ‘Resident Alien,’ the best science fiction comedy TV show

Nathan Turoff, Reporter

Step into the shoes of an alien that crash lands on Earth and poses as a human doctor in a small town in Colorado. Science fiction and comedy are two wildly different genres that rarely intersect, but when you have a series about an alien struggling to fit in while posing as a human, you have yourself a Sci-Fi Comedy.

“Resident Alien” is that series. It first premiered on the SyFy channel in 2021, with a second season premiering in 2022. 

Before seeing this show, SyFy seemed associated with horrible CGI shark movies. So watching something that was unironically enjoyable was nothing short of completely unprecedented. Throw in realistic and well-portrayed characters, absurd levels of clever and thoughtful humor topped with a good message of the human experience in a bowl, and you have a recipe for a fantastic show from an unexpected source.

Harry talks to the town mayor, {Courtesy of SyFy)

Much of this show’s humor is carried by the unusual nature of the titular alien, Harry, portrayed perfectly by actor Alan Tudyk, who felt born for the role. His mannerisms and voice inflections when portraying the character walk the line between robotic and just awkward—almost monotone. A voice one would expect of an alien struggling to blend in as a human.

As a viewer, joining Harry in learning about things like alcohol, emotions, morality, birth, and much more feels immensely entertaining and somewhat childish. 

Comedy is one of the best parts of the show. It has a sense of humor that’s very rarely used in modern culture, that being an absurdist comedy. Absurdist comedy is comedy in the form of chaos caused by unrealistic reactions and illogical choices being made in traditional circumstances. An example of a modern absurdist comedy would be shows like the raunchy animated sitcom “Family Guy.”

Harry is confronted by the town sheriff. (Courtesy of SyFy)

In one scene, Harry learns to “speak” English and communicate with other people through watching reruns of Law & Order.  Absurd? You bet it is. Hilarious? Absolutely.

Tudyk really does shine in this role, but there is a strong cast of people in the town, played by actors that bring life and levity to their characters.

Max and Asta’s relevance to the plot is highlighted by their appearance on the season 2 poster. (Courtesy of SyFy)

Two of the characters are more important to the show’s overall plot and share the most screen time with Harry. They are the obnoxious kid Max, and Asta, a nurse at the town clinic at which Harry works.

Max is the most stereotypical of the two. The trope of an annoying child is a very common one, but this show adds an interesting twist to it. Harry initially wants to kill Max, but as the series progresses, Max grows on both Harry and the viewer. By giving Harry so much interaction with Max, it benefits the show by showing how petty, irresponsible, and immature Harry can be at times. This is another example of the show’s trademark absurdist comedy as you would never see an adult insult a child in a childish manner, but with Harry, that’s exactly what he does.

Scenes featuring just Harry and Max show Harry in his true form, to give the audience the idea of what Max sees. (Courtesy of SyFy)

The other of the two is Asta. She is Harry’s close friend and confidante. Unlike Max, she cannot see Harry as an alien and believes he’s the actual Harry. She has been through a lot of trauma, such as abuse and teenage pregnancy, and it’s handled with maturity and respect. It does that just by not making fun of it. Insensitivity is a common criticism of absurdist humor, so it was nice to see the show not fall into that rabbit hole of controversy..

Asta has good chemistry with Harry, creating an easily likable pair of characters whose bond culminates in an unlikely friendship. Friendship is one of the most important aspects of the show, as through Asta, Harry learns to be human. He becomes a better person as a result of Asta and everyone else’s influence in his life.

Harry sits with Asta on a bench. (Courtesy of SyFy)

Anyone who has ever questioned life’s purpose felt contempt for mankind or even just faltered in social interactions will find themselves identifying with Harry.

“Resident Alien” is truly a funny yet dramatic show that feels like it deserves more praise. The show is a laugh riot, all while exploring many fascinating themes and concepts with realistic and understandable characters. If you remotely enjoy comedies or science fiction, then you will love this show.

5 spinnaker sails

Spinnaker Rates “Resident Alien” 5 out of 5 Spinnaker Sails.


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