Resident Alien star Alan Tudyk is having a hard time describing his new SYFY show.
“In Resident Alien, Harry Vanderspeigle...well, back up, back up,” he recently told Sling in an interview, before correcting himself. “In Resident Alien, an alien crashes on Earth. He’s on his way to destroy all human life on the planet, but he crashes and takes over the body of a human known as Harry Vanderspeigle. And then, while he’s looking for his device that will kill all human life, he gets pulled into this small town to help solve a murder.”
Although Tudyk jokes that, “you’d think I’d be better at [describing] it by now,” Resident Alien is the rare show that defies a simple summary. Billed as a “sci-fi murder mystery doctor dramedy,” the series—much like its protagonist—can shapeshift into any number of genres depending on the episode or even scene.
To help you get excited for the premiere, we curated an “Alien Invasion” ribbon under the “On Demand” tab in the Sling App. In addition to the Resident Alien pilot and extras, you’ll find over two dozen of your favorite extraterrestrial-themed movies and TV shows. Here’s a look at five of the best to check out after the Jan. 27 premiere of Resident Alien on SYFY.
The 2011 sci-fi comedy movie Paul stars cinematic BFFs Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (who also wrote the script) as a pair of alien-obsessed English tourists who befriend an actual extraterrestrial named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen). With a nice blend of humor and heart along with requisite nods to the sci-fi genre—like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, its big climax takes place at Devils Tower National Monument—Paul is a similar in tone, if not species, to Tudyk’s Resident Alien.
Watch on-demand with SYFY
Good news, everyone! When it comes to mixing comedy with high-concept sci-fi, Futurama is still the standard-bearer (Rick and Morty have a few more seasons to go before they can claim the crown). Created by The Simpsons’ Matt Groening, the show strikes a rare balance between low-brow humor, typically courtesy of Fry and/ or Bender, and thought-provoking science fiction.
In Resident Alien, the title character assumes the body of a rural doctor who is quickly disposed of. But in Venom, an alien symbiote merges with a still-living human host, creating a split personality on steroids. The biggest surprise is how committed star Tom Hardy is to the performance. The typically coiled and restrained actor seems to be having a ton of fun with the part, as he throws himself into physical comedy, whether that means diving into a lobster tank or stuffing his face with disgusting food. A sequel is currently scheduled for later this year.
Resident Alien is not the first show to explore extraterrestrials living amongst us, but the long-running HISTORY hit Ancient Aliens takes it a step further, suggesting our entire civilization arose from otherworldly beings. The veracity of such claims is hardly the point. Instead, Ancient Aliens functions like an extended exhale from a jazz cigarette, an hour-long riff on the idea that many of mankind’s biggest mysteries may not be made by man after all. Aliens, man. Aliens.
Over ten years on from its release, there hasn't been another sci-fi movie quite like Neill Blomkamp’s District 9. Part mockumentary, part allegory, part action flick, this film is set in the South African slums that arise after an alien spacecraft strands its prawn-like passengers on Earth. It’s a clever, surprisingly affecting movie that, like Resident Alien, threads the needle to connect a number of disparate genres.
Catch new episodes of Resident Alien Wednesdays at 10pm ET on SYFY by signing up for Sling Blue using the link below.