“It’s been a while since there’s been a cable show, a basic cable show on USA or Syfy or another one of those channels, that’s struck me as something I would go back and give another look,” Owen, a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist, said of the comic-book-inspired series that arrived in January.
An hour-long dramady about an extraterrestrial being stuck in a small town, “Resident Alien” gained early traction in the ratings. It pulled in a bigger audience for its second episode than its first, a rarity in the peak-TV era of dizzying decisions about what’s worth your time and money.
The numbers are on a modest scale but with promise enough to gladden the heart of Syfy’s parent company, NBCUniversal, which gave the series a robust blastoff that included a NBC network promotional spot starring a UFO.
“We launch shows all the time and we want to pretend that every show can be the next big hit,” said NBCUniversal executive JeffBader, who heads its TV programming strategy group. “But it’s actually rare that you have a show that people seem to respond to ... and this is one of those shows.”
The Rotten Tomatoes website tallied robust approval from critics and viewers, both in the 90th percentile. “Resident Alien” airs 10 p.m. EST Wednesday.
A key element: Alan Tudyk’s deftly layered comic performance as stranded alien Capt. Ha Re, who takes a crash course in human conduct and speech from “Law & Order” reruns. His otherworldly appearance is mostly cloaked with the appearance of an Earthling he killed, the memorably named Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle.
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