Not often you come across a series that’s crazy, smart and funny at the same time. TBS has managed to excel with this type of comedy series in the last year: Angie Tribeca, The Detour, Wrecked, and now, People of Earth. It’s interesting enough to keep you watching, funny and weird enough to make you smile and/or laugh, and smart enough (story-wise) to keep you calm (I hate plot holes). I’m gonna try and introduce you to People of Earth, so that you’d decide if this series won’t alienate you much (see what I did there?).
Contains spoilers to the first episode only!
Wyatt Cenac (“The Daily Show”) stars as Ozzie, a journalist from New York who travels to a little town called Beacon, in order to write a piece about a small group of people that believe they have been abducted (they prefer “experienced”) by aliens. On the way there, at night, something weird happened: He hit a deer on the road. However, ever since that accident, he keeps having vivid hallucinations about a deer talking to him in various situations. He interviews the group people, and leaves back to New York. His boss, Jonathan Walsh (Michael Cassidy, “Men at Work”) betrays him, and publishes his article with the interviewees’ real names, as opposed to what Ozzie promised.
Ozzie returns to Beacon, apologizes, and tells his story about the deer, which turns out to be his own abduction. Upon joining the group as one of the experiencers, Ozzie learns to know about each individual, gets close to some of them, and slowly realizes we are not alone. But those aliens are smart. They know Ozzie and the others pose a danger, and plot to separate them, using various plans and schemes. The series deals simultaneously with the group, and with the aliens and their intrigues.
What surprised me with this series, is that it doesn’t waste time. Several minutes before the end of the first episode, we see Ozzie’s memory from being aboard the aliens’ ship, and we see all the three types of aliens, standing there and acting funny.
Jeff the Grey: Are you sure he’s out?
Kurt the Reptilian: He’s totally out. Calm down.
Jeff the Grey: I’m just saying he doesn’t look like he’s out. His head just moved.
Kurt the Reptilian: Dude, it’s the ship. The ship is rocking right now.
Jeff the Grey: Okay, all I’m saying is, we’ve been here before.
Kurt the Reptilian: I know my freaking job, Jeff!
Besides the Greys (a-la Roosevelt) and the Reptilians (like in the series “V”), there is a 3rd kind of aliens, the Writes (Nordic, like Thor). Ozzie actually saw all three of them, and they seem to be working together to rule the world.
I won’t go into more details to avoid too many spoilers, but it seems the aliens are very well integrated in society (disguised, of course), and have ties everywhere. That being said, they make such funny mistakes, that you wonder how come they are still so hidden.
Cenac excels as the idle, dry and grounded journalist who doubts everything. His face expressions and freaky noises (you’ll see) are awesome. There’s also Gina (Ana Gasteyer, “Saturday Night Live”, “Suburgatory”), the group’s head, who seems a bit off, but cares about everyone. She uses the pastor’s church as the meeting’s place, and of course gets in trouble and gets the pastor in trouble. Gerry, Kelly and Richard are the people Ozzie gets most in touch at first, and each of them is a unique person, some fit perfectly into the small town characteristics (Gerry, for example, works in the town’s gate, never met any alien but believes in them whatsoever).
If you love science fiction and comedy, this series is the perfect carefree blend. I may not laugh out loud a lot, but I enjoy the very-well-thought story and the craziness that it enables. Give it a chance, you might be surprised.
Any of you have an opinion about People of Earth? Comment!
Images: TBS People of Earth