Alan Tudyk brings us a new show about an alien trying to fit in.
Alien Captain Hah Re (Alan Tudyk) crash lands on Earth during a mission and ends up killing a Colorado doctor named Harry Vanderspeigle. When the doctor in the nearest town is murdered, the alien is forced to take his place, having taken on the doctor’s appearance. He is assisted by the doctor’s former aide, Asta (Sara Tomko), but quickly draws the suspicion of the town’s Sheriff, Mike Thompson (Corey Reynolds), and the ire of Max (Judah Prehn), the son of the mayor, Ben Hawthorne (Levi Fiehler), as Max has a genetic anomaly that allows him to see Harry for what he really is. Harry befriends the local bartender D’arcy (Alice Wetterlund) as well as Deputy Liv (Elizabeth Bowen) and Ben’s wife Kate (Meredith Garretson). While Harry mostly finds humans interesting and enjoys interacting with them, he also is trying to fix his ship and save his mission: Killing every human.
The show is significantly darker than I had expected. I mean, I suppose the concept of “alien has to pretend to be human, hilarity ensues” has been played to death, so this is a fun way to try and breathe some life back into that very specific genre. Harry frequently finds things to like and even love about humans, but he also is painfully aware that we are, in all likelihood, a blot on the universe. While this first season is only about halfway done, so far Harry appears to still be committed to the plan.
I’m not going to say the show would not work without Alan Tudyk, but a lot of the humor really only works because the man is so perfect with his delivery. He can make almost any line that he delivers sound funny, which is a thing that you desperately need in a show where the main character is supposed to be a genocidal figure and also humorous. Harry frequently contemplates or even does things that would shock most people, and would likely be too dark if the main character were supposed to be human. For example, he frequently attempts to either kill or otherwise remove Max in order to cover his identity. In most shows, the main character attempting child murder would probably be the end of the series. Here, it’s a fun running gag, and it’s almost entirely because Alan Tudyk makes it seem like harmless tomfoolery, despite being completely serious.
The rest of the cast is also pretty great. This series is supposed to take place in a relatively small mountain town in the middle of Winter, and you do get the feel that all of these people know each other and are deeply involved in each other’s lives, which makes Harry an outsider on two different levels. However, it also creates an environment in which Harry’s eccentricities are able to be overlooked and even accepted, because these people live in a situation where they have to get along with each other. Also, D’arcy is one of my favorite characters because she frequently mistreats people and then reveals that they’re actually the kind of friends where that’s acceptable.
Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised at how funny this show is, but more so about how the show has made itself feel unique even when using an old premise. Also, some one give a Alan Tudyk a lot of awards. He has earned them all.
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