Comics On TV

Resident Alien Season 2 Turns Up the Extraterrestrial Antics, Say Star Alan Tudyk, His Costars, and Showrunner

Harry Vanderspeigle still wants to kill everyone, but as his circle of humanity expands, maybe slightly less so.

by | January 25, 2022 | Comments

Resident Alien was one of the treats of last year. Based on the comic book by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse, it remixed the original premise of a stranded alien masquerading as a country doctor into the tale of a strange visitor on a mission to end the world who just happens to make a friend via being mistaken for the doctor whose body he stole. But what happens when the alien reconsiders his mission? Does the alien – known as Harry Vanderspeigle in his human guise – embrace a newfound humanity? Also, what of the citizens of Patience, Colorado — themselves as colorful and eccentric as the extraterrestrial in their midst?

Season 2 of the Syfy series returns this week with a season full of guest stars like Alex Borstein and Nathan Fillion, and more of the humor, heart, and wrong-headed Harry narration viewers expect from the series. Rotten Tomatoes caught up with stars Alan Tudyk, Sara Tomko, Corey Reynolds, Alice Wetterlund, and showrunner Chris Sheridan to get some of the skinny on Harry’s second year on Earth and his place among the human community.

(Photo by SYFY)

“I really wanted to go into depth with these characters and get to know them more,” Sheridan said of his plans for the second season. “Harry’s journey on the planet as an alien is to sort of gain his humanity. And he’s learning it from these people, these real humans around him.”

The humans, and their relationships, are some of the biggest strengths of the show and one of the key divergences from the source. One such difference is the relationship between Harry (Tudyk) and the town sheriff. In the books, Sheriff  Mike comes to rely on Harry’s keen observational skills and love of detective novels to help him solve local mysteries, but on television, Harry and Sheriff Mike Thompson (Reynolds) are far less copacetic. Although, Reynolds foresees a time when their commonalities may forge greater cooperation.

“I think there is more common ground to be found,” he said. “But I also think that the sheriff still thinks he’s a very strange individual as I’m sure Harry thinks of the sheriff in the same way.”

 Corey Reynolds in Resident Alien - Season 2

(Photo by James Dittiger/SYFY)

Tudyk added: “I can see Sheriff Mike and Harry Vanderspeigle in old age being like those two Muppets who sit in the balcony and just comment on everybody else. They [both] have a lot of judgment and a way of looking at the world that they could end up like that, just on a porch together talking about the world going by.”

Of course, it still may take some time to get to that relationship with Mike still investigating the death of the previous town doctor alongside Deputy Liv Baker (Elizabeth Bowen), a partnership that reached a place of mutual respect across the first season.

“He has accepted that what she brings to the table is helpful and useful, and, I think, necessary. He needs her and that’s an acknowledgement he was very reluctant to make,” Tudyk said of the police duo.

Despite that acceptance, though, Mike hasn’t really changed, Reynolds was quick to add.

“I think how he sees her has changed,” he said, but some greater soul-searching about his posturing will take up at least some of the second season. “Some of the most dramatic work I’ve done on a series has been in a comedy with this upcoming season. We get into his backstory and it gets pretty deep.”

Elizabeth Bowen in Resident Alien - Season 2

(Photo by SYFY)

Some of that introspection comes via that evolving rapport with Liv.

“She’s the only person who could say certain things or question him in certain ways, [and] it would solicit a response from him that would be introspective of self,” Reynolds said. He likened the situation between the characters to the one between Harry and Asta (Tomko). “Asta’s opinion matters to Harry. Anyone else could say something to Harry, and it wouldn’t cut it as deep as a perceived criticism from Asta. I think Mike and Deputy Liv have a similar dynamic.”

Of course, Tudyk put the Harry-and-Asta dynamic back in perspective: “When it’s her opinion that he shouldn’t kill all of humanity, he wants to respect that opinion and not do it.”

As viewers will quickly learn, Harry’s desire to see the end of the human race isn’t exactly gone in season 2. But it is tempered by his friendship with Asta, a relationship that could read as something more — although both he and Tomko felt it was important to make sure their bond was always presented as what Tudyk called “friend friends.”

“He’s learning about love and to learn about love only in a romantic way is very limited,” the actor explained. Instead, his friendship with Asta throughout the first season illustrated different forms of love that are seemingly alien to Harry. Those interactions, however, particularly with Asta, helped him to make his decision about completing the mission. “He decides not to destroy humanity because he loves Asta. It doesn’t have to be confused with a physical relationship.

Sara Tomko in Resident Alien - Season 2

(Photo by SYFY)

“I think if it became a romantic relationship, it would be, it would definitely change things,” Tudyk added. “It’d be that whole Shape of Water thing again. And that’s just — it’s tricky, all that water.”

Tomko said maintaining the platonic relationship between them is the more interesting choice. In lieu of a “bit of a cliché,” the series depicts “a man and a woman helping each other, being true friends, and trying to maintain this relationship with one another, trying to understand what that relationship means to them” she said. The actor believes the story is a lot more relatable to viewers and it “provides a dynamic that we haven’t seen before. It’s not about sex, it’s about trust.”

Wetterlund, who plays Asta’s childhood friend D’arcy, offered a different interpretation: “We don’t know what romantic relationships look like on Harry’s planet. We have to remember what sci-fi means. We’re talking about exploding our human ideas of relationships and relating.”

“I never considered that,” Tomko replied. “Thank you very much. Now, I’m nervous.”

 Sara Tomko and Alice Wetterlund in Resident Alien - Season 2

(Photo by SYFY)

Given that Resident Alien is a show about deep friendships, the lifelong bond between Asta and D’arcy proves to be one of the most unique on the show, if not on television as a whole. The tail end of last season saw them drifting apart ever so slightly, as Asta had to keep Harry’s secret and D’Arcy bonded with Jay (Kaylayla Raine), the daughter Asta gave away when she was born. Those tensions — particularly the latter — continue to test the characters friendships in season 2.

“The whole [of] season 1 into season 2 is Asta and D’Arcy making amends, coming back together, figuring it out over and over, and Asta almost telling D’Arcy [about Harry] over and over again, because it’s just so unnatural for her to keep something this big from her, but she has to,” Wetterlund explained. “If D’Arcy ever finds out, we’ll see what the conflict becomes.”

Meanwhile, Asta encourages Harry to make more friends but, as Tomko put it, “she’s seeing new friendships forming between her daughter and her best friend and it’s really, really hard for her to take.”

According to Wetterlund, the origins of that new bond are easy to see: “Jay is a teenager and so is D’Arcy, emotionally speaking.” From that standpoint, she fails to see the harm it could cause Asta.

“She has no clue what it would be like to have a daughter and she doesn’t want to have a clue,” she continued. “She just is like, yeah, we’re friends, whatever. And in a lot of ways, her thoughtlessness leads to this conflict with her best friend.”

Alan Tudyk in Resident Alien - Season 2

(Photo by SYFY)

How that conflict plays out is anyone guess. As always, Asta has a full plate with Harry and his latest scheme to ensure their safety. Although, we will tease something unites all the women of Patience early on that could change all the dynamics in town. And as Sheridan explained, building up the town and the bonds between people like Asta and D’Arcy is key to Resident Alien’s creative success.

“Early on, I figured out that I didn’t think the show would work well, unless it could work without Harry,” he explained. “I felt if we could expand all these other characters and create a real talent with real stuff going on that works well on its own and then drop the alien in the middle of it, that’s a much more rewarding experience.”

Harry still serves a sci-fi anchor to both the drama and the comedy, of course, and like in the comic book, he will eventually do so as the town doctor.

“That’s such a big part of the comic, [and] I didn’t want to lose that,” Sheridan said. The early part of season 1 saw him in that role, but as the producer pointed out, it was necessary, “like in the comic, to pull him away for a little bit” to tell certain aspects of the story. But season 2 has a trajectory.

“Our goal is to get him back as the town doctor and plant himself pretty firmly in the town,” Sheridan said.

 Alan Tudyk in Resident Alien - Season 2

(Photo by James Dittiger/SYFY)

But when or if Harry returns to the Patience clinic, his emotional journey is far from over.

“I think what’s so much fun about Harry now is that he’s not comfortable where he is,” Sheridan said. “It’s compelling to have someone live in a place they don’t want to live in and want to leave, but are constantly sucked back to that place because of the friendships that they make and the people that they meet.”

Being able to settle into that place and accept his life there is something Sheridan said is an “emotional realization” that will take Harry a lot more time to process, and maybe one day his friends will convince him humanity isn’t so bad.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

2018 IFC Films Infographic Hollywood Foreign Press Association rt labs posters hispanic heritage month football comiccon child's play space TCA Amazon Studios saw 94th Oscars Legendary sag awards Binge Guide hispanic miniseries E3 Winter TV See It Skip It suspense AMC DirecTV Sundance TV video on demand mutant versus spanish Sci-Fi cops reviews MCU fast and furious dc Apple TV+ spain Box Office Spring TV Funimation Lionsgate hollywood TV gangster Year in Review ViacomCBS technology all-time Esquire Horror TCA Awards Disney Kids & Family USA Network thriller Logo summer TV History jamie lee curtis indie Comic-Con@Home 2021 leaderboard FOX Shondaland docuseries Lucasfilm movie foreign TBS Thanksgiving The Academy based on movie TCA Winter 2020 political drama laika Film worst movies President Star Wars comic Food Network justice league romantic comedy Crackle Broadway Captain marvel docudrama stand-up comedy Universal Pictures Dark Horse Comics Cannes emmy awards Best Director Hallmark 79th Golden Globes Awards high school VH1 news Comedy FXX spanish language Interview 99% documentary twilight Western Emmys The Witch FX war Syfy Marvel Studios Bravo CNN dogs best Comics on TV BBC One Musical cartoon summer preview Turner Classic Movies Writers Guild of America anime festivals SundanceTV cancelled TV shows HFPA comic books Christmas rotten movies we love Showtime sitcom Discovery Channel 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards The Purge 90s Reality Competition Pop batman Mudbound reboot crime asian-american game show Peacock hist BET WGN casting 2020 Animation rotten Extras comedies Mary poppins rom-coms satire Paramount Network Holiday art house aapi Marvel Tomatazos Pride Month scene in color biography criterion The CW razzies AMC Plus worst Superheroe Black Mirror mob Rock Rocketman Sundance Now prank james bond series El Rey movies MGM IFC spider-man franchise Countdown TV movies vampires Shudder films RT21 Spike spider-verse Video Games Polls and Games Super Bowl Ovation USA Comedy Central sequels italian Set visit Mary Tyler Moore scorecard GLAAD ABC Family basketball biopic Instagram Live target Film Festival 2021 ID Exclusive Video Marathons Wes Anderson Tumblr 72 Emmy Awards Watching Series japanese directors scary Warner Bros. Turner Acorn TV game of thrones TIFF A&E Apple deadpool Fox News marvel cinematic universe slashers concert toy story The Arrangement Musicals royal family disaster critic resources Toys Ghostbusters romance X-Men strong female leads what to watch travel documentaries monster movies serial killer Arrowverse Awards Tour debate video breaking bad festival Rocky ITV Emmy Nominations toronto 21st Century Fox Martial Arts The Walking Dead Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 2016 kids Best Actor Mindy Kaling Travel Channel Epix Tags: Comedy binge cancelled LGBT HBO The Walt Disney Company lord of the rings cults 45 IMDb TV Best Picture legend australia Hear Us Out new star wars movies latino Oscar Classic Film dexter Best Actress 4/20 TCM Tubi parents Pirates Fargo sopranos Black History Month comics YA new york VICE boxoffice SXSW unscripted archives golden globes 007 OWN trailers mcc marvel comics NBA Mystery children's TV critics screenings Fox Searchlight women Disney streaming service anthology MSNBC ABC Signature Marvel Television indiana jones vs. fresh CBS NBC Teen theme song crime drama black kaiju PBS RT History dramedy Pixar nfl 1990s New York Comic Con Endgame Certified Fresh Ellie Kemper Country Sundance Alien dragons BBC harry potter Schedule venice chucky Pacific Islander live event Disney Plus nature BAFTA kong green book Oscars Mary Poppins Returns Amazon Masterpiece ghosts classics superman ESPN YouTube Comic Book renewed TV shows Action BBC America PaleyFest YouTube Premium action-comedy olympics Pet Sematary Apple TV Plus singing competition E! christmas movies zombie Reality Freeform TruTV Best and Worst quibi french crossover revenge Hallmark Christmas movies elevated horror obi wan Universal mockumentary telelvision HBO Max trophy award winner remakes cats Holidays slasher TCA 2017 streamig 2019 Women's History Month WarnerMedia Britbox GoT ABC Brie Larson TV One OneApp book composers dreamworks zombies hidden camera adventure feel good BET Awards stoner comic book movie police drama talk show jurassic park Walt Disney Pictures TLC National Geographic Elton John richard e. Grant adaptation rt labs critics edition Cartoon Network Summer discovery Fall TV name the review obituary psychological thriller Crunchyroll Paramount true crime Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Neflix live action Amazon Prime MTV wonder woman historical drama Starz king arthur 71st Emmy Awards DC Universe cinemax Winners king kong nbcuniversal Creative Arts Emmys cancelled television diversity A24 cars book adaptation Rom-Com Superheroes Quiz Television Academy streaming genre Chernobyl YouTube Red First Look San Diego Comic-Con boxing Sony Pictures VOD facebook American Society of Cinematographers First Reviews psycho FX on Hulu Stephen King Nat Geo international TV Land streaming movies Heroines rt archives japan stop motion Cosplay Television Critics Association Columbia Pictures Anna Paquin Song of Ice and Fire superhero die hard universal monsters South by Southwest Film Festival blaxploitation screen actors guild witnail Photos independent Drama finale SXSW 2022 Disney+ Disney Plus robots 93rd Oscars Red Carpet Biopics Family Music golden globe awards halloween CMT aliens Lifetime Christmas movies Spectrum Originals black comedy spinoff Valentine's Day dceu Prime Video medical drama adenture LGBTQ halloween tv Grammys zero dark thirty spy thriller Character Guide Adult Swim 73rd Emmy Awards Baby Yoda Vudu Netflix GIFs south america Podcast cooking heist movie Tokyo Olympics Election scary movies dark DC streaming service Academy Awards transformers 2017 NYCC ratings HBO Go Nominations doctor who a nightmare on elm street Awards social media Netflix Christmas movies TNT Fantasy SDCC Calendar cancelled TV series sequel APB 2015 Premiere Dates animated television Star Trek Trailer crime thriller Trophy Talk joker TV renewals free movies Pop TV blockbuster Image Comics Opinion comic book movies blockbusters period drama DGA teaser godzilla Paramount Plus werewolf Avengers CW Seed Disney Channel sports science fiction pirates of the caribbean mission: impossible Sneak Peek young adult Lifetime PlayStation new zealand supernatural CBS All Access know your critic natural history canceled Hulu 20th Century Fox politics popular DC Comics Nickelodeon Trivia summer TV preview Amazon Prime Video canceled TV shows Tarantino tv talk 24 frames