EntertainmentTVResident Alien Overview: Alan Tudyk Shines in Overstuffed Syfy...

Resident Alien Overview: Alan Tudyk Shines in Overstuffed Syfy Present

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It is a perfect efficiency to construct a present round, however the hourlong genre-hopping Syfy sequence would not at all times capitalize on what it does finest.

Alan Tudyk is an artisan of non-humans. Signal him as much as play a droid or an anthropomorphized boat or the cartoonish embodiment of chaos and the person will ship. So it’s no shock that the actor slots in completely as “Harry Vanderspeigle” in “Resident Alien,” the star of the most recent genre-averse providing from Syfy.

The scare quotes across the character’s identify come from the truth that it’s laborious in print to tell apart the alien of the title from the human physique which he inhabits for a majority of the present. With the erstwhile Harry’s corpse actually sits chilling within the downstairs freezer of a distant cabin, the alien that assumes his kind is left to take over the duties of city physician for the tucked-away mountain group of Endurance, Colorado.

It’s a premise befitting the sitcom that “Resident Alien” channels for a piece of the sequence. To assist construct out the acquainted internet round alien-out-of-water Harry is Asta (Sara Tomko), an worker on the well being clinic who serves as a principal interpreter for Harry’s sudden odd, indifferent habits. There are the notable sufferers: Mayor Ben Hawthorne (Levi Fiehler) and his son Max (Judah Prehn), the latter of which occurs to be the one human who sees previous Harry’s disguise. Throughout the road from the clinic is the native watering gap, the place frequent bartender D’Arcy (Alice Wetterlund) takes an curiosity within the odd new physician on the town.

The clear draw right here is the bodily comedy chops of Tudyk, who takes each alternative to play with the “alien in a human physique” prospects. He fumbles via parroting TV accents, finds new strategies of chewing meals, and takes each little bit of narrative leeway to lean into Harry’s romantic inexperience. (It additionally helps to have Tudyk’s voice performing expertise for a present that makes use of intro narration and inner monologue jokes as a lot as this one.)

Even earlier than the present’s pilot can end placing all of those Harry interactions in context, “Resident Alien” continues so as to add on issues. Quickly, Harry isn’t simply attempting to go via Endurance with out suspicion, he’s fixing a mysterious loss of life. And he’s searching for the remnants of the ship that introduced him to Earth. And he’s attempting to homicide a toddler. And he’s skirting the suspicions of native regulation enforcement (Corey Reynolds as Endurance’s cowboy sheriff is the present’s different clear comedian vivid spot).

RESIDENT ALIEN -- "Pilot" Episode 101 -- Pictured: (l-r) Judah Prehn as Max Hawthorne, Alien Harry -- (Photo by: James Dittinger/SYFY)

“Resident Alien”

James Dittinger/SYFY

Relatively than work to carry all of those threads collectively in a present that focuses Harry’s anxieties about whether or not or not he actually needs to remain part of this human world, “Resident Alien” continues to radiate outwards, piling on layer after layer of issues the present simply doesn’t want. These later-season threads are logical ripple results of an alien crash touchdown, however too typically they (and the folks tasked with making them make sense) really feel like half a distinct present solely.

That typically goes for the Endurance residents, too. Asta is coping with an advanced household historical past, D’Arcy is in full freewheeling sloppy rom-com hurricane part, and the 2 officers are in a throwback cop comedy. Hopping between these typically brings some tonal whiplash, even when the performers tasked with navigating these turns do as a lot as they’ll.

Filming elements of “Resident Alien” on location does assist to mitigate a few of these points. The principle avenue exteriors do really feel like a sleepy, distant former mining city that welcomes the occasional out-of-town customer. When Harry’s on the hunt for incriminating proof (both out on the close by lake or caught on the aspect of a snow-covered mountain face), you may really feel the stress of him attempting to battle nature to ease his lingering nerves.

There’s a poster for the present that payments “Resident Alien” as “the sci-fi homicide thriller physician dramedy Earth wants now.” It’s the type of self-awareness that seeps into the present because it juggles all of these completely different subgenre expectations. However having to accommodate these disparate wants finally ends up getting in the way in which of what the present does finest. It’s a blended bag of largely efficient flashbacks (our first glimpse of Harry’s pre-“murdered by an alien” life is actual delight) and padding subplots (Harry and Max’s battle of wills is a repetitive seesaw for a lot of the season).

Very like the dilemma confronted by its principal character, this can be a spry half-hour comedy trapped contained in the physique of an hourlong sequence too expansive too early for its personal good. Nonetheless, regardless of the weather that typically drag it down, Tudyk and people most locked into the energies of the present’s funnier aspect are sufficient to maintain you interested in the place Harry finally ends up.

Grade: B-

“Resident Alien” airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. on Syfy.

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