“Enjoy watching me crash yet another spaceship,” Firefly‘s Alan Tudyk tells the crowd at the NYCC premiere of his upcoming SYFY series Resident Alien. “They keep giving me the keys, man!”
Based on the comic by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse, Tudyk plays an alien on a mission whose job is delayed when his ship crashes on Earth. After his first encounter with a human, Doctor Harry Vanderspeigle (also played by Tudyk), leaves that person dead, he takes on their appearance to pass himself off as a local of a small Colorado town.
The show is a bit Northern Exposure meets Roswell, New Mexico with a murder mystery introduced in its first episode. “It’s a drama, but it’s also funny. It’s a dramedy,” Tudyk describes the show. There’s a bit of Peter Sellers’ iconic portrayal of Chauncey Gardner in the Hal Ashby film Being There to how he plays Harry, whose primary education about humanity thus far comes from obsessively rewatching the same episode of Law & Order.
Though Executive Producer Chris Sheridan says Tudyk was the last actor they saw, you’d swear they had him in mind all along. “I didn’t know what the character was until Alan came in and did his audition,” Sheridan says. The first episode writes to the former Firefly star’s strengths, taking advantage of his unique oddball humor and sudden ability to summon a hint of sincerity when, despite “Harry’s” initial disinterest in humanity, he finds himself beginning to care.
The series won’t premiere until 2020, but the Comic Con audience’s response was overwhelmingly positive.
“I felt there was optimism in the comics, and I wanted to capture that. There’s a lot of great stuff but a lot of dark stuff on TV. And I didn’t want this to be one of those,” says Sheridan.
“I wanted to say something positive. I wanted it to feel like, even though there’s some dark stuff that happens in it, that the overall message is positive. The overall message is this alien comes down here, you know, intent on killing us all and we slowly watch him get a taste of humanity and start asking himself the question, are humans worth saving?”
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