Alien visitors on television!

Continuing to catch up on my Alien Visitor viewing — this should almost be the last post.

I watched some of X-FILES‘ sixth season which involves the final collapse of the alien hybridization conspiracy … and almost immediately a new conspiracy arises, involving aliens turning humans into super-soldiers who can regenerate from almost anything. Then I jumped ahead to the final episode of the original run, in which the Cigarette Smoking Man reveals the fall of humanity will come in 2012, just like the Mayans foresaw — and nothing Mulder and Scully can do will prevent it! This gains considerably more oomph from having watched so many episodes than it did when I first saw it for Screen Enemies of the American Way.

I then caught up with the revival series, limiting myself to the first and final episodes of the final season. The opening episode reveals that Scully’s son William, rather than being Mulder’s child, was actually implanted medically by the CSM, laden with alien DNA — yes, it’s another case of alien impregnation by rape. In the final season, William takes down the CSM and Scully and Mulder get to go happily into the sunset. I can’t say I feel any regret not watching the rest, and my friend Ross says my review of the show is sound without more viewing.

ROSWELL CONSPIRACIES (1999) was a TV animated series that owes a lot to The X-Files. Protagonist traumatized by an alien abduction? Check. Paired with a woman partner? Check. Government UFO coverups? Check? Sinister conspiracies against humanity? Check.

What makes it distinctive is that it’s also very much rooted in Von Daniken. Countless monsters out of myth and folklore — banshee, yeti, werewolf, vampire — are aliens living among us (this also gives it a very urban fantasy feel). Bounty hunter Nick Logan, who has the psi-ability to see through aliens’ human disguises, reluctantly goes to work for the supersecret agency that keeps the alien presence secret and tries locking up as many as possible. Logan winds up partnered with Sh’lain, a banshee who favors assimilation over her people’s commitment to isolation.

This was a lot of fun, including the in-joke of a reporter named Carl McGavin, who even looks like Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchak, The Night Stalker (a show that was a major inspiration for the X-Files)? This one I watched all the way through.

STAR-CROSSED (2014) — no relation to the TV movie Starcrossedtakes place a decade after a botched first contact with Atrian refugees landing on Earth (the military assumed they were an invading force). The Atrians have been segregated in their own city (much nicer than District 9) but now the “Atrian Seven” teenagers have been picked to attend a human high school. Bigotry breaks out on both sides of the racial divide, along with romance. Watchable fare from the CW but I’ve no regrets it didn’t make it to S2.

Courtesy of library DVDs, I finally caught RESIDENT ALIEN (2021 — ), the oddball adaptation of a comic-book mystery series. The comic’s premise is that an alien stranded on Earth, posing as a human doctor, winds up becoming town doctor for a nearby rural community and investigating the murder of his predecessor. In short, it’s Diagnosis: Murder if Dick Van Dyke had been an alien.

The TV show takes the basic premise and piles on several more layers of plot. First off, Harry  Vanderspiegle (Alan Tudyk) arrived on Earth to wipe out humanity before we make the planet unlivable for his people’s kindred, the cephalopods. After his spaceship crashed he murdered the real Harry, took his place and settled into a reclusive existence near Patience, Colorado — only as in the comics, to be dragged into the town’s life when the resident doctor is murdered.

There are lots of added plotlines including a child who can see Harry; his nurse, who’s obsessively stalking the now-teenage girl she gave up for adoption; the town bartender who’s into Harry; and the feuding between the sheriff and his deputy. For some critics it was just overstuffed but I enjoyed it.

Tudyk is the real lure, though. The script lets him do it all — bemused social commentary on human ways, personal vanity (he has a lot of that), covering up the murder, discovering about sex and booze. Tudyk’s performance is of a very awkward nonhuman, in the tradition of Brother From Another Planet and Starman, At best, he comes off as socially ultra-awkward; when he laughs, it’s obvious he’s seen people do it and knows the motions but has never actually done it before. I look forward to catching the second season.

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