alan tydyk stars as the alien in resident alien

Netflix Just Added the Most Underrated Sci-Fi Mystery of the Decade

The comic book world has dished out everything from zombie apocalypse thrillers to dark and brooding superhero tales, and even some light and frothy teen drama for good measure. But an “alien murder mystery medical dramedy”? In 2021, that complicated premise not only became a reality but turned into one of the decade’s best sci-fi shows. Its first two seasons have just been added to  Netflix for you to catch up on as Season 3 airs on Syfy and Peacock.

Diving into the quirky cosmos of “Resident Alien,” you’ll find it’s based on the Dark Horse comics by Peter Hogan and Steven Parkhouse. But when this tale made the quantum leap from the comic book pages to the screen, it transformed from a serious, contemplative narrative into an absolutely bonkers story of an extraterrestrial who crash lands in the quaint town of Patience, Colorado. Our alien hero, after assuming the identity (and job) of the late Dr. Harry Vanderspiegle, finds himself in the thick of human life, playing doctor and amateur detective all while trying to keep his tentacles hidden under his lab coat.

Alan Tudyk, whom we adore as the pilot from “Firefly” and who has lent his voice to more characters than there are stars in the ‘Verse, stars as our lovably awkward alien-turned-doctor. Tudyk nails the role with a performance that’s as hilarious as it is heartfelt, turning Dr. Vanderspiegle’s alien perspective on humanity into comedy gold. In a twist straight out of a sci-fi plot, his character’s mission of “I just want to kill everyone” gets complicated as he becomes entangled in the lives of Patience’s residents.

Harry can use his natural camouflage to hide his true form, but it’s not perfect. In Patience, Max, the mayor’s nine-year-old son, gets a glimpse of him as an alien and becomes determined to reveal Harry’s true identity, turning the two into mortal enemies and providing much of the early comedy and drama.

Speaking of entanglements, Harry can use his natural camouflage to hide his alien form — most of the time. Max, the mayor’s 9-year-old son, somehow manages to see through the disguise and is determined to reveal the truth to everyone. This sets the two up as mortal enemies bringing a lot of comedy and drama with it.

But, amidst the laugh-out-loud moments and extraterrestrial antics, “Resident Alien” carves out space for genuine human connections and dramas that feel as familiar as your favorite small-town sci-fi saga.

The narrative genius of Resident Alien isn’t just in its outlandish premise but in how it weaves standalone adventures with overarching story arcs, allowing characters to explore the universe one odd encounter at a time. Remember that UFO convention episode? Classic. And as the series evolves, so does Harry, grappling with his growing empathy towards humans and questioning his original, Earth-shattering agenda.

The galaxy of guest stars is like a who’s who of the Whedonverse, with nods to “Firefly” and “Dollhouse” alumni making appearances that are sure to tickle the fancy of any self-respecting sci-fi aficionado. His Firefly co-star Nathan Fillion voices an octopus (a distant cousin of Harry’s alien species), and Dollhouse’s Enver Gjokaj appears as an alien hybrid.

Resident Alien is a cosmic joyride that proves you don’t need an Avengers-level budget to tell a captivating, heartwarming story. It’s a testament to the power of great storytelling, a sprinkle of sci-fi magic, and, of course, the incomparable Alan Tudyk. So, if you’re in the mood for a show that’s a little bit “out there” (in more ways than one), grab your communicator, set your streaming coordinates to Netflix, and prepare to beam up to Resident Alien. Trust me, it’s a universe worth exploring.

Resident Alien Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Netflix.


Lori has been a science-fiction fan since the age of 12. She is owner of as well as and chaired Tachycon, science fiction convention, for 13 years.

Written by Lori Anne Brown

Lori has been a science-fiction fan since the age of 12. She is owner of as well as and chaired Tachycon, science fiction convention, for 13 years.

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