What Do Rutherford Falls and Resident Alien Have in Common (Other Than Being Awesome)?

A few weeks ago we started watching a show called Resident Alien on Peacock, NBC’s streaming platform. It’s a 40-minute drama/comedy with a hearty dose of sci-fi, as it follows an alien who crash-lands in Colorado, takes on a human identity, and proceeds to get into all sorts of shenanigans.

Meanwhile, late last week NBC premiered its new 25-minute comedy, Rutherford Falls. It feels a bit like a follow-up to Parks and Rec (same creator, similar small-town feel), with the focus jumping around between the modern ancestor of the town’s founder, his best friend, and the owner of a successful casino in the town.

Both are great shows with a perfect mix of humor, interesting characters, compelling relationships, and drama. But most of all, it’s incredibly refreshing to see Native American* actors and themes take center stage in both shows.

In Resident Alien, the main female character/actress has Native American heritage (more details in this interview with Sara Tomko), and in multiple episodes the show discusses how that’s part of her family’s life.

Rutherford Falls goes even deeper, as it’s written, produced, and portrayed by Native American people. The core conflict of the show is that the town is based on a 400-year “fair and honest” agreement between European colonizers and Native Americans. It’s no surprise that the agreement is anything but fair. While the show starts out by making Ed Helms seem like the protagonist, as soon as Michael Greyeyes and Jana Schmieding take center stage, the show really takes off and doesn’t look back.

I highly recommend both of these shows, especially Rutherford Falls. I’m still wrapping my mind around the sheer amount of information I’m learning from the show (which is remarkable for a half-hour comedy) and with the questions the show asks. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you have the chance to watch it. If there are any other shows like this that you’d recommend, please let me know.

*I read a few articles (including this one) about which term to use here, but I understand that language changes and evolves, and I can easily change it.

2 thoughts on “What Do Rutherford Falls and Resident Alien Have in Common (Other Than Being Awesome)?”

Leave a Reply

Discover more from jameystegmaier.com

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading