‘People Of Earth’ Season 2 Transforms Alien Angst Into A Universal Comedy Of Errors

News & Culture Writer

Former The Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac‘s recognizable guise notwithstanding, People of Earth‘s first season was never really about one person. (Or one alien, for that matter.) Created by David Jenkins and executive produced by The Office and Parks and Recreation maestro Greg Daniels, the goofy TBS comedy series instead focused its known and pseudo-scientific energies on multiple interlocking ensembles. The first (and most obvious) was StarCrossed, a tight-knit group of people claiming to have been abducted by aliens led by ex-psychiatrist Gina Morrison (Ana Gasteyer). The second consisted of their abductees, as well as the vast alien conspiracy of which they were a part.

I highlight these groupings, above and beyond any single member, because their wholes truly are greater than the sum of their parts. That’s not to say that Cenac, Gasteyer, Oscar Nuñez or the aliens themselves aren’t worthy of recognition, because many among People of Earth‘s massive cast shine whenever the camera points their way. Yet none of this would matter if Jenkins had designed the show to focus solely on Cenac’s disgraced reporter Ozzie Graham instead. What makes People of Earth stand out from the rest of peak TV’s comedy surplus is its adept use of the ensemble dynamic, and if the first three episodes of season two are any indication, the series hasn’t lost its touch.

Following the first season finale “Snake Man and Little Guy,” both StarCrossed and their alien tormentors are in disarray. Father Doug (Nuñez) has banned the former from using meeting at his church, sparking their dissolution, while Don the White (Björn Gustafsson) abandons his otherworldly duties with Jeff the Grey (Ken Hall) to whisk Kelly (Alice Wetterlund) off to Iceland. Meanwhile, Ozzie discovers everyone in the group — save non-experiencer Gerry (Luka Jones) — was previously abducted by the Reptilians when they were children. Just before practically everything goes to hell, however, Gerry finds himself targeted by a beam of light and screams with joy at his finally being taken. Also, the robot Nancy (Debra Lynne McCabe) explodes, revealing Jonathan Walsh’s (Michael Cassidy) true reptilian face to Richard’s (Brian Huskey) horror.

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