What do you get when you cross Hitchhikers’ Guide To The Galaxy, X-Files, and Monty Python? The answer might be The Strangerers, an obscure show from Rob Grant, half of the team that came up with the much more popular Red Dwarf series. Appearing in the UK in 2000 and lasting only one season of 9 episodes, The Strangerers focuses on a half-witted invasion of an alternate earth by alien vegetables disguised as 1940’s businessmen. The hilarity (or in this case, the lack of hilarity) ensues in watching our dim-witted pair of extraterrestrials trying to figure out what being human means, from an experience level of zero.
This lack of experience means they have trouble figuring out how to do simple things like walking, eating and sleeping. They arrive in a classic 1950’s flying saucer with a trained supervisor who is promptly killed by a passing truck, leaving them to carry his corpse around for the first couple of episodes, which causes the pair endless trouble because its head keeps falling off.
The pair of Dumb and Dumber ET’s land in an unnamed Pacific Northwest town with odd modern touches, and hints of a totalitarian regime. They are chased by a pair of governmental agents on an X-Files-like crusade for the truth about ETs. This pair consists of a lanky, laid-back hypochondriac male dude and a Glamazon hard-as-nails female warrior cop. In the pilot episode, the latter wears a blue shiny catsuit to go ET hunting that has to be seen to be believed.
Usually, when I found a cool show from the past, I can binge-watch to completion but have to admit that The Strangerers is giving me pause after only the pilot and the first episode. This kind of extended humor-through-awkwardness session that is so English it almost cries out for a laugh track.
What’s sad about this show is that it is inventive enough, that’s its good point, but the parts don’t fit together quite well enough to be an enjoyable show – alas, that’s why it’s so obscure. If you’re curious, you can dig it out on the file-sharing sites, and see for yourself…