When an alien crash lands on Earth, he takes the form of Dr Harry Vanderspeigle (Alan Tudyk) to blend in while searching for the device he lost in the crash. At first everything is going fine as he hides away in Harry’s isolated cabin on the outskirts of small Colorado town, Patience. But then the police arrive at the door… Turns out the town doctor has been murdered – and they need Harry to step in. Which could be ever so slightly problematic, of course!
Alan Tudyk has a long history of pulling off the weird and the wonderful, and this character is no exception. He plays an alien – sometimes in full rubber mask plus – pretending to be human, and not always getting it right. Most of the humour comes from his fish (pun intended!) out of water response to humans and their interactions.
And so we have a fabulous mix of Harry’s joint missions of finding his device – and what mysterious purpose does it serve? – and trying to blend in, all layered over small town life. There’s a reminiscence of something like Northern Exposure, I guess, with very down to earth dramas such as the town Mayor who’s worried he’s too much of a doormat for his strong, successful wife. Or the local bartender, D’Arcy, seemingly the life of the party but with an edge of desperation. And then of course there’s an ongoing murder investigation, not really helped by the OTT sheriff and his long-suffering deputy.
As the series progresses, Harry learns so much about humanity – more than he cared to, honestly! – but it’s a joy to watch. Tudyk is perfectly cast for the awkwardness of discovering dancing, and alcohol, and so much more. And the stakes start getting higher, and higher, as we throw in discovery, corpses, shadowy government types, and of course, the real reason not-Harry came to Earth in the first place…
I was looking for something a little light hearted to watch in these trying times, and this fit the bill so, so perfectly. The blend of humour and drama is spot on, so it doesn’t feel too ridiculous even when it’s been purposefully very ridiculous! All in all, just a lot of fun and very recommended 🙂
First broadcast: January 2021
Episodes: 10 @ ~44 mins each
My rating: 8/10