Imagine you are alone and driving down a lonely country road at night when a voice from the passenger seat (which is supposed to be empty) tells you not to "freak out." Do you, A: Freak-Out, B: Ignore it, or C: Pray someone spiked your last drink, even if it was only water. Oh, and the voice is coming from a talking deer sitting in the passenger seat.
That is the opening of the first episode of People of Earth and what happens to the main character Ozzie; a cynical reporter played by Wyatt Cenac, who finds himself questioning his reality and beliefs about alien abductions.
Luckily for Ozzie he just happened to be finishing up a story on a support group made up of a group of "experiencers" in a nearby rural town. In the People of Earth parlance an experiencer is someone who has been through an alien abduction, probes and all. Why experiencers? Who knows but I'd guess that crazy conspiracy nutjobs has probably been overused.
The good news is that the support group is willing to accept Ozzie into their weekly meetings. The bad news is that, unfortunately for Ozzie, the people (characters) in the support group would also fit in nicely, and greatly benefit from, an actual therapy group.
TBS describes the show as "a new original comedy about a support group for alien abductees." However, it is also about the aliens who turn out to be real and apparently are not all the brightest bulbs in this sector of the Universe. Think the 3 Stooges IQ without the slapstick. The show does not make any attempt to hide the fact that the aliens are up to something. What that is, only time will tell.
As a bonus, the show has spared no expense in portraying not one, not two, but at least three alien species (gray, white, and lizard) so far. Evidently, as far as budgeting for the alien makeup and costumes go, Alpha Centauri is the limit if Alpha Centauri happens to be the name of the local Halloween costume rental shop.
Anyway, back to our story. Although Ozzie starts out in denial, his reporter instincts start to kick in after he interviews each member of the support group separately. Except for a founding member of the group who never had an "experience" the rest had remarkably similar memories of what happened during their abduction.
The interviews, as well as an ongoing talking deer hallucination that Ozzie cannot shake, takes Ozzie from denial to investigative mode. It also takes Ozzie from his lucrative big city reporting job to a really small newspaper in a rural town that doesn't have much real news.
What Ozzie cannot shake (aside from the talking deer) is his somewhat stalker boss who, we eventually discover, (spoiler alert), is also an alien (in disguise of course). You can tell the guy is an alien because he is a generous and nice boss which in itself just seems a bit creepy and unbelievable. So, what are Ozzie's bosses intentions? Who knows? Some of you by now might also be saying, Who Cares? Okay, fair enough.
TBS touts this as a comedy, but it is not a laugh out loud kind of comedy. It is not even a chuckle quietly kind of comedy. It is more of an awkward parody kind of comedy if that can be considered a thing.
The Ozzie character is played pretty straight. He's confused but like any good reporter he wants to figure out what's true and what's not and he's interacting with the people in the group in the way most normal people would act. For the most part, the rest of the people surrounding him are pretty much cliche' characters. This may change as the show starts going for more character depth in the future. But for now you have characters like "the bored housewife" who fantasizes to the group about having sex with an alien because she is bored with her marriage. Then there's the "geeky uptight self-important VP" who is there because his wife was abducted except, well, she never was abducted, she left him and filed for divorce, but he preferred denial to reality. The other support group characters have their own eccentricities and quirks but not a lot of character depth at the moment.
Then there is the leader of the support group. She is an ex-therapist who convinced one of her patients to overcome his fear and go skydiving and, well, you can probably guess what happened next. She moves into rural exile to start over. She just wants everyone to talk about their feelings, and when Ozzie shows up and wants to get some answers, she is not quite prepared to move out of her self-imposed comfort zone.
This is a quirky show that asks the question, what if all those crazy alien conspiracy nuts were right all along? The people writing the show don't seem to be taking that question seriously so no one should ever expect an actual answer. Really. I think it's because the writers are secretly from an alternate universe and are just using the show to make people believe there's really no such thing as extraterrestrials when we all know they exist. Look at who got elec.... umm.. better I should just play along...
So, really, I just want to follow the show to see if the aliens ever lose their east coast accents and to find out if the deer in Ozzie's head gets a well deserved Oscar for its gripping portrayal… oops, ran out of room.
So, if you want to see talking deer, you do not have to get blind drunk and run naked in the woods. You can watch it on TBS and save yourself the hangover and potential rash.
People of Earth is a TBS show rated TV-MA-L for some occasional adult language and maybe for the naked talking deer.
Written by Billo0255 on Nov 28, 2016