A quirky comedy-drama in which an outsider moves to a snowy North American town, sets up as a doctor and forms a bond with the eccentric locals in general and one woman in particular? That was Northern Exposure, an excellent show broadcast on Channel 4 in the 1990s. It is also Resident Alien, a new show made by Syfy in the US and being shown here on Sky One.
The lead character in Northern Exposure was from the more sophisticated environs of New York City. In Resident Alien, he’s from outer space.
The story, based on the cult Dark Horse Comics series and adapted by Family Guy’s Chris Sheridan, stars Alan Tudyk as an alien who crash lands on Earth and takes the form (literally, after killing the body’s original owner) of Dr Harry Vanderspeigle.
Stranded in Patience, Colorado, while he hunts for the missing piece of equipment needed to complete his mission (the nature of which was revealed at the end of this first episode), Harry must assimilate into the local community.
What follows is a fun, fish-out-of-water comedy as he tries to adopt human traits: teaching himself English by watching old episodes of Law & Order (“There’s no such thing as hooker-client confidentiality!”) and venturing onto a dancefloor for the first time.