Tag Archive: Resident Alien


ghosts-cbs-

Review by C.J. Bunce

The top genre TV actress Rose McIver is back and as irresistible as ever.  The star of the wildly popular series iZombie is right back in her wheelhouse in CBS’s new series Ghosts: rapid-fire dialogue, outlandish situations where she must lead a crew of characters to decipher and inhabit myriad character types in the craziest of concocted schemes.  But unlike iZombie, which had its lighthearted moments, Ghosts is 100% pure comedy.  Sure, there are ghosts, but this is a full-on ensemble cast comedy where a brilliantly conceived haunted mansion is only the setting, the framework on which to build a comedy that will hopefully stand up to the even more dreaded ratings wonks.

For fans of Resident Alien, the show smacks of the exact same tone and humor, the latest in the trope mastered by The Munsters and The Addams Family.  It’s Beetlejuice, The Sixth Sense, and Tru Calling meets The Money Pit with a splash of Clue, with not a speck of heavy drama (or frights) but heaps of fun and pop culture references (like Sneakers, and if you pay attention you’ll find more than one iZombie reference) stuffed into each half-hour episode.

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luke cage

Ten years!  That’s ten years reviewing TV series in the decade that streaming services began to dominate TV viewing– and binge-watching was born as Netflix began releasing entire seasons at once in 2013.  How do you pick the best series?  As with yesterday’s list of movie recommendations, our theory from the very first day of publishing borg has been reviewing only those things we like, things we think are fun, imaginative, or just plain cool—because if we think they’re cool, maybe you will, too.  What makes a great TV series?  Great writing—great storytelling.  Also we looked to difficulty level and technology innovation—TV productions tend to get a fraction of the budget of big-screen features, so what they do with their time and money is critical, and some television series in the past decade were all-out feats.  The third factor we looked to is re-watchability—we’ll be watching the best series for years to come.  The big difference between ranking movies and TV is the change between seasons, that force that inevitably causes most shows to decline with each season.  So consistency is a factor.  Finally, as with movies the most important factor is the fun—why would you devote so many hours of your valuable time if you’re not going to have a great time?

Manda

One more thing: Ten years is a long time so we narrowed the series we’re including to those recommendations that fall primarily within the ten-year window.  We covered several fantastic, re-watchable series that cemented their status in reruns or syndication, many beginning before borg began publishing and finishing in the years after, including Burn Notice, White Collar, Warehouse 13, Leverage, House, MD, In Plain Sight, and three landmarks among the best pop culture-packed series of all time, Chuck, Psych, and Community.  We were disappointed that some of the best series were canceled and left to only a single season, otherwise they may have gone on to fare better against our top recommendations, shows like Jason Isaacs’ psychological police procedural Awake, Sarah Shahi’s all-for-fun Fairly Legal, Lauren Cohan’s action/spy series Whiskey Cavalier, the Doctor Who spin-off Class, the adaptation of Max Allan Collins’ popular noir novel series Quarry, the slick animated series Tron: Uprising, and the cyborg future-world Almost Human starring Karl Urban, to name a few.

Grimm

So here are the Top 40 series we recommend, spanning 2011 to 2021.  These are our favorites.  How should you use lists like this?  If you like what we talk about at borg, you’re probably going to like these shows.  If you’ve missed any, odds are you have some new series to take a look at.  Let’s start at #40 and move our way to #1.  As with everything borg, we’re stressing genre series.  Title links are to one of our previous borg reviews.

Let’s get started!

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Another pandemic delayed production finally makes its way to TV audiences this week.  It’s the Syfy Channel series Resident Alien, based on the crazy-good Dark Horse Comics sci-fi/crime/mystery mash-up comics by Peter Hogan (2000 AD, Tom Strong) and Steve Parkhouse (Milkman Murders, Doctor Who)–first reviewed here at borg back in 2013.  Airing Wednesday nights, the show stars Alan Tudyk as the extra-terrestrial hero who survives a ship crash on what was supposed to be a quick mission to Earth, Coneheads-style.  Taking on the part of Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle, he is able to mask his appearance using his otherworldly powers.  Like E.T. he just wants to go home, but he must wait until his friends come to find him in the town of Patience, Colorado, an Everwood-style small town full of medical crises that he must attend to after the town doctor is found dead.  He gets pulled into a murder mystery, which he takes to like Agent Cooper in the town of Twin Peaks.  It’s this police procedural drama-meets-sci-fi blend that is taken forward in the story.

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Resident alien

With all the changes at the movies, including delays for The New Mutants, originally scheduled for release two years ago and seemingly cursed to never get released by the studio, a television series also based on comics still doesn’t have a firm release date.  That’s Syfy’s series Resident Alien, which currently is marketed to arrive this summer on the heels of Syfy’s current, similar vibe, sci-fi comedy Vagrant Queen.  Based on a sci-fi/crime mystery mash-up series of comics beginning in 2012 by Peter Hogan (2000 AD, Tom Strong) and Steve Parkhouse (Milkman Murders, Doctor Who)–and first discussed here at borg back in 2013the television series will be headlined by Firefly, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Doom Patrol fan-favorite actor Alan Tudyk.

Tudyk plays an alien posing as a human doctor (a la Coneheads), but he’s cloaked, at least to some.  The big news for the series is that Linda Hamilton (The Terminator, Chuck) will co-star as a military general pursuing Tudyk’s alien visitor.  Sara Tomko (Pandemic), Corey Reynolds (The Closer), Alice Wetterlund (People of Earth), Levi Fiehler (Mars), Mandell Maughan (Life), and Alex Barima (The Exorcist) co-star in the series.

Resident alien books

While you’re waiting for this series, get caught up on the comics, released in five trade editions you can track down from Elite Comics or your local comic book store.  In the first story arc we meet the alien and see how he goes undercover as Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle in the first murder mystery.  The second collection takes the alien/doctor to Seattle to try to help a new-found friend.  The third finds him sleuthing out a criminal also hiding behind an alias in town.  The feds arrive in the fourth arc, and the fifth arc/collection finds him on a trip to New York City.

Here is a short preview for the TV series:

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Resident Alien issue 0

In the small U.S. town of Patience, the town revolves around a Doctor, who is not from around here.  It’s a town like the suburb in Mumford only the doctor is not a psychologist, he’s an alien.  He’s the resident alien of the title, a pointy eared fellow named Harry.  He also has an affinity for solving crimes.

Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde is the latest offshoot of Dark Horse Comics’ Dark Horse Presents monthly anthology series.  The newest Resident Alien series is a four-issue mini-series beginning with this month’s Issue #0, which reprints chapters 1 to 3 of the story, originally found in DHP Issues #18-20.

Resident Alien interior page

Creators of classic British fare, writer Peter Hogan (2000 A.D., Tom Strong) and artist Steve Parkhouse (Milkman Murders, Doctor Who) team up to continue their earlier four-issue standalone series released this past March as the trade paperback Resident Alien: Welcome to Earth!  In his first adventure the extra-terrestrial hero of the story survived when his ship crashed on Earth.  Taking on the part of Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle, he was able to mask his appearance using his otherworldly powers.  Like E.T. from the movie, he just wants to go home, but he’ll wait in the town of Patience until his friends come to find him, with Everwood-style small town medical crises.  Along the way he gets pulled into a murder mystery, which he takes to like Agent Cooper in the town of Twin Peaks.  It’s this police procedural drama meets sci-fi genre blend that is taken forward in this summer’s new series.

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