Someone who seamlessly blends into his character, basically becoming unrecognizable in his work. That description is apt for both actor Alan Tudyk, as well as Harry Vanderspeigle, the shapeshifting alien who has crash-landed in Patience, Colorado, masquerading as a small-town doctor. Tudyk’s fish-out-of-water character with an identity crisis highlights Resident Alien.
“Nobody in their right mind could live in a place like this… unless they have something to hide.”
While on an extinction-level mission, a random lightning strike stranded the creature on Earth. Survival dictated his character must fit in with the local life forms, never intending to actually land on the planet. Taking the place of a reclusive doctor, he has unknowingly stepped into a murder mystery, one which he intends to solve. Unfortunately, there’s a big problem: A local child is able to see through his disguise. Can kids really see his true form? Or was it a temporary lapse in judgement? This will surely end badly for his character, but it should end up being great for the actor, as Tudyk has made a career out of playing funny, weird and darkly comic supporting characters throughout his career, but this one is different. He’s the featured actor!
My introduction to Alan’s work began with A Knight’s Tale, Ice Age and most importantly, Firefly. Tudyk won over sci-fi fans of all ages with his portrayal of Wash, whose character became the heartbeat of the show. Dodgeball, 3:10 to Yuma, V and Dollhouse offered him strong supporting roles, which were balanced with voice-over work in Astro Boy, Halo 3: ODST and Wreck-It Ralph, among others. It could be argued that his rebel-scum reprogrammed droid, K-2S0 in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story brought the actor into the big time, as his work has exponentially increased ever since its premiere.
Co-created by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse for Dark Horse Comics, Resident Alien was adapted for Syfy by Chris Sheridan, which finally functions as a series that fully utilizes Tudyk’s true talents. It’s shocking how long it took for him to finally get cast as the star of a TV show. It may be even more surprising that it’s a sci-fi murder mystery. As Harry, Tudyk’s creepy walking and talking and partial understanding of the English language creates quite a few awkwardly funny situations, but he does have ulterior motives, which include a hidden past and a mission to save his species.
As a limited series, Resident Alien will only last for 10 episodes throughout its first season, but Syfy is already banking on Tudyk. The actor will soon voice the main character for TZGZ, the network’s late-night animation block, in Devil May Care. premiering on Feb 6th at midnight. In that series, Tudyk stars as Satan, whose plans to rebrand Hell as an upscale living destination could prove problematic. That scenario truly sounds killer.
I look forward to watching the rest this show’s first season, as long as it doesn’t become self aware, trying too hard to be goofy. There’s already plenty of shows like that. Resident Alien seems to work without employing too many tropes, but I do wonder how many years it will last, once the murder has been solved.