Resi​dent Alien is great; Alan Tudyk is greater

Resident Alien, Alan Tudyk. SyFy, science fiction TVIt took SyFy long enough – I get it, timing and seasons and COVID and all – but finally, finally we have a new season of Resident Alien, and with it the return of the damn near legendary Alan Tudyk.

Ahhh, Alan Tudyk. I’ve been watching the guy, enjoying his work over and over, since we all first encountered him on the legendary single season of Firefly wayyyback in 2002. Can you imagine that? More than twenty years ago? I don’t have to go on and on about Firefly; any fan of science fiction on TV has seen all fourteen episodes by now; it single-handedly launched the careers of half a dozen stars that are still working hard and well today, including Nathan Fillion and Gina Torres and Morena Baccarin. But Alan Tudyk has always stuck with me. Partly it’s because the Firefly character he played, Wash, and Tudyk himself, looked like a regular guy. I mean, I loved Fillion, and still do, but he’s damn near movie-star handsome. And Gina Torres and Morena Baccarin? Come on. Gorgeous. But Tudyk looked like us. His jaw was a little too wide. One eye was a little bigger than the other. And even though he’s 5’11” – an inch taller than me! — he’s just got a regular build, he’s a litle thick. He’s’ just a guy. He’s also one of the funniest, fastest, most talented guys – comedic and dramatic, in voice work and live action working today – and he’s shown it over and over in the last two decades.

Look him up. He’s amazing. But there’s more to him. When he was working on Trumbo back in 2015, a very serious drama with major stars like Bryan Cranston and Diane Lane and Helen Mirren, Alan entertained the kids on the set by doing voices, bits, from Frozen and Ice Age and Wreck-It Ralph ,,, because he was in those movies, he was a legend already. And even now, I remember him not just as Wash, but as King Kandy in the aforementioned Wreck-It Ralph, or Noah on Suburgatory, or The Joker – one of the best Joker voices ever, right up there with Luke Skywalker himself – in the Harley Quinn animated series ,,, and my favorite role of all, Mr. Nobody on Season… Two? Three? … of Doom Patrol.

And for a while now – as Harry Vanderspiegle in Resident Alien.

Resident Alien is just now entering its fourth season after a very long COVID-induced wait, and you know what? Worth it. It is a very funny, and weirdly touching show about a real life big-eyed ugly-as-hell alien sent to earth to destroy it who crashes here instead, is stranded for the longest time and takes on the identity of a small-town doctor – he can shapeshift, y’see. And ends up caring about these awful earthlings, protecting them from destruction by his own people even as various Earthlings are out to find him and destroy him.

The story, as it has twisted and turned over the years, never gets boring or predictable. The characters of this small Colorado mountain town, including everyone from Native Americans who’ve lived there forever to burned-out Olympic skiers and former big-city cops, just roll through this thing, fast and furious – so much so you sometimes forget about the elaborate science fiction premise and just enjoy them.

But it’s been a long, hard road. Resident Alien was about to start production on its fourth season back in the winter of 2019, when this whole COVID thing – you may have heard about it – came around, and of course they shut down. But it took them a very long time to pull it all back together, and now, more than two years later, we finally get to pick up where we left off with Harry and his people, and thank God – they haven’t missed a beat.

There is one funny bit in here, though. Two of the major supporting characters – a young boy and girl who totally have Harry the Alien’s number from the very beginning – made the poor choice of growing up during the long, long break. Kind of the Harry Potter syndrome, but it’s a problem here, since this new episode picks up just a few weeks at most after the end of the last one … and whoops, now the boy has grown six inches and the girl is not a little girl anymore. There’s absolutely nothing you can do about it, and no mention has been made – I don’t know that it can –but it is one blinding reminder that we have waited a long time to see Resident Alien come back.

I won’t say it’s the best science fiction series on television right now. I’d probably still give that to Strange New Worlds,  now that The Expanse is over and very little else, especially in live action, is making much of a mark. And no, not Rebel Moon. Jeez.

You can catch past seasons on Amazon Prime or YouTube, and you can catch new episodes on SyFy every Wednesday for the next few weeks. If you haven’t encountered it before, lucky you (so much to enjoy!) but it’s probably worth starting at the beginning – there’s a lot of plot here. But you won’t be disappointed. Not in Resident Alien and certainly not in Alan Tudyk.

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