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SYFY WIRE Resident Alien

'Resident Alien' creator Chris Sheridan explains how his own UFO experience plays into Season 2

Resident Alien executive producer/showrunner Chris Sheridan dives into his own experience to make the UFO realities even more present in Season 2.

By Tara Bennett
Resident Alien 201 GATED

Listen, while it might seem like it's all fun and games as alien Harry Vanderspeigle (Alan Tudyk) continues to acclimate to Earth and its weird humans, there's some truth there too. For anyone who actually believes in Ufology, or the investigation of UFOs, it's always been clear that SYFY's Resident Alien layers a lot of legit UFO lore and history into the series. And that's because executive producer/showrunner Chris Sheridan is a believer too.

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Sheridan experienced a UFO sighting on his honeymoon in the Bahamas, and ever since he's continued to be fascinated with the long history of stories and evidence that bolsters the theory that we aren't the only sentient life out in the universe. This is why, in Resident Alien Season 1, while Sheridan made sure Harry's hijinx in trying to understand humanity was front and center, there was also a respect for the depth and breadth of UFO investigation. It was woven into story points that addressed ancient alien theory intertwined with Native American history and even the recently released Navy footage of a UFO encounter a decade ago.

Sheridan says audiences can look forward to more of that in Season 2 as the narrative arc specifically explores the idea of believers vs. non-believers. "We are continuing this year with this concept of who believes in aliens, who believes in UFOs and who doesn't believe in UFOs?" he shares in an exclusive interview with SYFY WIRE. "We're dealing a little bit with when you do believe in UFOs do you have the confidence to tell anybody or are you afraid they'll think you're crazy? That's a big thing in society."

Watch the First 5 Minutes of Resident Alien Season 2

In order to hammer that point home, Sheridan confirms there will be some UFO sightings by the characters in Season 2, including one that brings to life his own sighting from years ago.

"Part of what the show does well is take this real world and put otherworldly things within it, but then treat it with reverence and respect, because these are things that are happening now. We'll always have [things] like that because it's a sci-fi show," he continues. "But it's keeping that balance, so we want to keep it as grounded as possible and make a three-dimensional world of real people. But in this three dimensional world, there are things happening that we can't explain. They're not crazy sightings anymore. The government now is coming out again — as they did the day after Roswell when they admitted that they have a flying saucer until they took it back and said it was just a weather balloon — that they are seeing things in the sky they cannot understand. They are seeing craft that are moving in ways that they don't have the technology to explain.

"There's no more denying that. I mean, people still may deny it," he adds with a shrug. "But rational people can't deny that when people see things that it's quite possible, if not probable, they're really seeing something. I'm trying to play out that psychology as well in the show this year. And working it into a very human relatable concept of speaking your truth."

Asked about the challenge of keeping a show like Resident Alien grounded, with its high-concept ideas and literal "alien among us" theme, Sheridan says it's all about never letting ideas and set pieces disassociate from reality. "The only way you can keep that relatable on a human level is to just ground every piece of it as much as possible, including the alien, and really try to make his journey as an alien mirror the human challenges that we all have," he explains. "And, feel relatable to a regular audience who may or may not be interested in aliens. Or they may be, but would like to see a little bit of themselves in it."

Sheridan says it's also about making Harry's journey believable and organic to the viewers. It's the baby steps that audiences are able to buy into. He cites the end of Season 1, where Harry learns what it means to love and have a friendship through Asta Twelvetrees (Sara Tomko).

"He decides to not detonate his device because it would kill Asta; that was huge growth in the first season," Sheridan enthuses. "Caring about other people is a huge step in becoming more human ourselves. And it's one of the ways we tried to ground the second season, while keeping the stakes up and keeping the excitement going with him being concerned that his people are going to come and finish the job. He starts stepping towards the place where he might hopefully, by the very end of this series we'll get him to. But one step along the way is realizing that maybe it's not just Asta he was saving. And that is the next step in this journey."