Interview: Talking ‘Resident Alien’ Season 2 With Showrunner Chris Sheridan [EXCLUSIVE]

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NBC Universal

Just when you think that pesky alien is off your planet, he crash lands … again and is hoarding all your pizza. After Asta (Sara Tomko) convinces him not to complete his mission and destroy our existence but just to leave Earth and go home, “Harry” once again finds himself stranded in Patience, Colorado, after a decision to save Max. A decision he is not ready to face since it involves human emotions.

Nerds and Beyond got the opportunity to speak with showrunner Chris Sheridan before the second season premiered about the first few episodes of Resident Alien.

Nerds and Beyond: I was wondering how bringing in Alex Borstein came about for season two as Carlyn because she and Harry definitely suit [each other]?

Chris Sheridan: It was incredible. She’s just incredible. I have been friends with Alex for 25 years, since 1998, I think; when we first did Family Guy together. I’ve known her for a long time. We developed that character of Carlyn as Kate’s cousin, who works at New Mexico Tech in the lab. She’s a scientist. We had this character coming in who Harry realizes has the device that he needs for this thing that he is doing. Harry first takes her out on a date to woo. We knew it was a very difficult role because, first of all, someone who has the comedic ability to go toe to toe with Alan (Tudyk) is a tough call, but also somebody who has the ability to play Harry being in their body which is no easy feat. Sara Tomko did it and did it well in the second episode of this season, but when she did it, we didn’t want the audience to know necessarily, so she had to be very subtle about it. We didn’t want to give away what was going on. Whereas with Alex, we know he’s in her body, so she has to play the same way that Alan plays Harry. We knew that was going to be tough too. We just finished writing that episode, so we were trying to figure out who was going to play it, and this summer, I was in Cape Cod at a friend’s house and ran in into Alex there and caught up with her. She said, “I’d love to do the show,” and I immediately thought I know exactly the role you could do. So it was a great role for her. She was really busy but was kind enough because of our friendship to make it work, and she came out to Vancouver on a really tight schedule and shot it in four or five days and just knocked it out of the park. Everyone loved her, and she is so fun to work with. Anyway, she was incredible.

Nerds and Beyond: For the music and the music cues that were used, do any of the actors/actresses have a say in that or is just that something between yourself and [the] music [department]?

Chris Sheridan: It’s usually, I pick all the music, and I have a couple of music supervisors that I lean on to find stuff for me if I don’t find it myself. But there are times I reach out to the cast and let them know if there are songs that they like. And that does happen. Like Alice (Wetterlund) has had a couple of songs. There’s a great song in the fourth episode that was on the playlist that Alice had given me that as soon as I saw the song, I pictured this entire sequence and had it written into the show. At the end of episode three, there is a song that was Alice’s idea. I sent her a video of the helicopter sequence of her in the helicopter because we shot it, and it looks really cool, and she sent it back to me. She had dubbed over the M.A.S.H. song to it, and I first thought, “that is absolutely going into the show,” so we got the rights to the M.A.S.H. (theme) song and put it in. But that was Alice’s. I don’t think she thought it would ever make it in the show. She just did it for fun, but it worked so well that it was hysterically perfect.

Nerds and Beyond: Oh yeah, and with her at the end nodding, it was perfect.

Chris Sheridan: It was so so good. So I’ve used songs. I know the cast well, and I know the kind of music they like in just hanging out with them, so I’ll try to surprise them by taking a song they mention and then not saying anything, and then eight months later, they see the show. “Seabird” was one of those in the first season. I knew with Sara and Alice, one of the songs that they love was in a scene in episode 3, in the scene when they are on the lake watching the dredging of the lake when they’re sitting around the fire and this Alessi Brothers song which is a little bit rare and less talked about. I put that in under their scene, and it worked perfectly because it was about a bird at sea, who is lost at sea and wants to come back home. The scene was about how Asta and D’Arcy went away from home and trying to sort of find their lives, and they both, in their minds, failed and had to come running back. So it fits perfectly; that was a song I put in because I knew both Sara and Alice loved it, and it worked perfectly. I come up with a lot of it myself, but I am definitely open to what they love and listen to because they all have great taste. It all worked together.

You can watch Resident Alien on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on SYFY. Check out our other Resident Alien coverage here.

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By Sarah
As a Ravenclaw and introverted tattooed cat, Sarah enjoys reading, writing, and watching hockey (Go Leafs Go). You can follow Sarah on Twitter at @WyldeFandom
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