Thursday, January 26, 2023

We Are Not Alone, on Roku

It looks like we can also blame Richard Nixon for the alien invasion of Earth. He is the one who agreed to fund the Voyager probe, which the Gu’un just followed its trajectory back to us. If only he hadn’t been such a liberal big-spender. They are here regardless and they intend to stay. Poor Stewart is the junior bureaucrat recruited to help communicate the new overlords message in Fergal Costello’s We Are Not Alone, which premieres tomorrow on the Roku Channel.

The alien invasion was especially traumatic for Stewart, because their advance capsule landed on his best friend Robbie when they were leaving the pub. The Gu’un really don’t get how things work here, so the regional commander decides to govern the UK from Clitheroe, because it is in the dead center of the country. She adopts the inappropriate name of Trater, due to an equally iffy grasp of the language. The Gu’un all chose odd new “earthly monikers, because the sound of their real names cause humans to void their bowels.

Stewart lacks ambition under the best of circumstances, so he is very conflicted about working for the alien occupiers. However, he likes the generous new salary and the swanky new pad. Unfortunately, he will have to share it with his alien minder, the dim-witted Greggs. Even more awkwardly, the resistance pressures him to be their inside saboteur. Most of the Anti-Alien Alliance (AAA) does not inspire much confidence, except for Elodie, the pub owner he has long carried a torch for.

Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond (known for writing and appearing in the original
Ghosts) have a knack for penning “stupid” sounding dialogue, in a smart way. They also make a drolly amusing Heckle and Jeckle pair as Cirsch and Darrenth, two flat-footed Gu’un sentries. Their soft science fiction is not groundbreaking, but they and Costello really keep the dialogue consistently snappy.

Surprisingly, Declan Baxter work as Stewart really is a key ingredient to the cast’s chemistry. More than a straight man, he brings a deadpan slacker attitude that provides a solid foundation for the more outrageous personas to build off. As Greggs, Joe Thomas gets a lot of laughs for his dumb but funny physical gags and he develops some nice buddy camaraderie with Baxter. Vicki Pepperdine and Mike Wozniak basically play the two senior alien officers like oppressive coneheads, but that works well enough.

Don’t think about the ending too much, because it more or less advocates surrender, collaboration, and compromising freedom for the sake of stability—all of which the Gu’un are in favor of. Honestly, that last part is a buzz kill, but most of the stuff leading up to it is funny. Recommended for fans of Simon Pegg sf comedies,
We Are Not Alone starts streaming tomorrow (1/27) on the Roku Channel.