Netflix’s new sci-fi comedy-drama just crashed the top 10 — and it’s 97% on Rotten Tomatoes

Resident Alien image showing Harry Vanderspeigle in a hospital bed
(Image credit: Netflix)

The best Netflix shows aren’t always original projects. Case in point, a new science-fiction comedy-drama series just landed on the streaming service that initially premiered on the SyFy network. 

The show in question is called “Resident Alien” and after debuting on SyFy in 2021, its move over to Netflix has exposed this very underrated show to even more viewers. “Resident Alien” has been on Netflix for less than a week and is already ranked as the No. 2 most-watched show on the streaming platform. 

“Resident Alien” currently sits behind the latest season of Netflix reality dating show “Love is Blind” but it’s tracking ahead of buzzy originals like “One Day” and “Griselda” as well as true crime docuseries “American Nightmare”

As of writing, Netflix is offering the show's first two seasons, with the third currently airing on SyFy (but presumably heading over to Netflix later). So, if you’ve never seen this sci-fi show, you’ve got plenty of extra-terrestrial hijinks to get caught up on, and below we’ve got all the details you need to know before adding “Resident Alien” to your Netflix watchlist.

What is ‘Resident Alien’ about?  

Based on the Dark Horse comic series of the same name, “Resident Alien” follows an intergalactic Martian on a mission to wipe out all human life on Earth. But when his spaceship crash-lands in the small town of Patience, Colorado, he’s forced to assume the identity of Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle (Alan Tudyk) and blend in with the locals.

Fascinated by the people in the town, Harry learns about human society and even begins to ponder if he wants to carry out his destructive mission. But his true identity is in danger of being exposed by a young boy, Max (Judah Prehn), who is able to see through Harry’s disguise. 

If trying to lay low and not draw attention to himself wasn’t tough enough, Harry is soon drafted into assisting in a local murder investigation, and must quickly gain the trust of law enforcement officers who are looking for anybody acting suspiciously.  

‘Resident Alien’ reviews — what do the critics say 

“Resident Alien” is currently something of a critical darling with the comedy-drama show holding an impressive 97% on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. Its audience score is also strong at 86% suggesting that this is a series that both critics and viewers really enjoy. 

Lucy Mangan of the Guardian, said “Resident Alien knows what it is doing and does it with admirable sincerity. It deploys well-worn tropes without cynicism and plays with others without winking exhaustingly at its audience.”

Alan Tudyk’s leading performance drew praise from Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times, with IndieWire’s Steven Greene also noting that Tudyk is enough to keep things entertaining even with a few “elements that sometimes drag [Resident Alien] down.” 

John Anderson of the Wall Street Journal was similarly impressed by Tudyk labeling him one of the show’s “secret weapons” and Brian Tallerico of noted that “Despite the frustrating structure, Resident Alien is an easy hangout series thanks in large part to its cast.”

However, not every critic was positive. The Hollywood Reporter’s Dan Fienberg said “After seven episodes I'd grown tired of wading through the half-dozen plotlines I didn't care about for the one or two that I did” and criticized the SyFy show for an inconsistent tone. 

Should you stream ‘Resident Alien’ on Netflix?

“Resident Alien” is an effective mixture of comedy and drama. Harry’s unfamiliarity with human customs and social etiquette makes for plenty of slapstick moments, and there’s also an emotion punch particularly thanks to the character of Asta (Sara Tomko), the town's head nurse with a tragic backstory. Plus, the murder mystery element adds plenty of additional suspense. 

With a winning performance from Alan Tudyk, there’s a lot of like about “Resident Alien”, and Netflix just got the first two seasons giving you 26 episodes to binge-watch. Fingers crossed by the time you’ve worked through all of them, the third season will be finished airing on SyFy and ready to make its way over to Netflix. If you’re looking for something new to watch on Netflix, “Resident Alien” is a sci-fi series with plenty to offer and a very strong cast at its core. 

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team. 

  • jawhorn
    This "new show" is on season 3 🙄
  • PM1959
    An "intergalactic Martian" eh? Safe to say whoever wrote this either doesn't know where Mars is or doesn't watch much SF!