People of Earth First Look Review: True believers

Chad White

People of Earth
“Pilot”
Season 1, Episode 1

This is a First Look Review of TBS’ People of Earth starring Wyatt Cenac, Ana Gasteyer, Oscar Nunez, Alice Wetterlund and Brian Huskey.

Don’t get weird.

Before this review begins, let’s take a look at TBS’ work with single camera comedies as of late. It all started with Angie Tribeca and now they have shows like The Detour, Wrecked and now People of Earth. There are even a few more on the way. The network is buying shows left and right and, surprisingly, giving creators full control of their works. It’s unbelievable that a network that once ran shows by Tyler Perry and something called The Chimp Channel can come out on top in terms of comedy series. With the introduction of People of Earth, the network is stepping into the supernatural. While it may not be as comical as Angie Tribeca or go above and beyond like The Detour, People of Earth is very much prepared to take the viewer on a trippy journey around the cosmos.

Wyatt Cenac stars as Ozzie Graham, a writer by trade who is tasked with examining why a group of believed alien abductees are meeting in a church. His investigation begins, albeit begrudgingly, in the town of Beacon, a town in which there is “dickery afoot.” The group (consisting of Alice Wetterlund, Brian Huskey, Ana Gasteyer, and Oscar Nunez) welcomes him -- not openly mind you -- so that their experiences can be shared. Unfortunately, a first draft of his article is leaked and they end up hating him.

But Ozzie has been having weird dreams as of late. Two weeks prior, he’d hit a deer and had been off of work. Riding into town sees the writer experiencing different versions of his dream. When he informs the group of this, the all surmise that Ozzie has been abducted. Sure enough, through discussion, the group is able to help him fully recover memories from that night. And in a twist that could’ve been saved for a season finale, it’s revealed that Ozzie did in fact come into contact with aliens -- three species in fact (grey, white and reptilian).

The term “don’t get weird” was used in many variations during the first episode and the show candidly ignores its own advice. Creator and writer David Jenkins is able to take the normal happenings of these strange people and turn them into mind altering, life changing situations that only a few others intimately understand. The group has its quirks -- Huskey’s character believes he owns a major internet company (when in reality they only make the plastic ends to ethernet cables) -- but all in all, the show that’s supposed to be out of this world is oddly grounded. The cast is great and they only add to the script, which in itself is a little lacking. It’s hard to point to where the show is going to go, especially after we’ve seen the creatures these people have spent part of their lives searching for. The season arc hinted at tonight has Ozzie’s ex-employer revealed as an alien so that should provide a nice treat. Oh and direction from veteran comedy producer Greg Daniels was on point.

Should you watch People of Earth?

It’s a funny show with an enthralling premise. Shows like Mork and Mindy and 3rd Rock From The Sun have already dealt with aliens hiding out on Earth but none have tried to tackle humans dealing with the repercussions of abductions. Cenac leads a willing and solid cast. Jenkins has good, not great, writing that should make for a winding story. Give this a shot. It’s on par with other TBS shows.