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Alien News Desk

Entry updated 20 September 2021. Tagged: TV.

US animated tv series (2019). Bento Box Entertainment and Broadway Video for Syfy. Created by Austin Reading and Chris Prynoski. Executive Producers include Erik Kenward, Dennis McNicholas and Andrew Singer. Directed by Lauren Andrews and Jeannette Moreno King. Writers include Scott Gairdner, Lauren Moser and Sam West. Voice cast includes Will Forte and Heidi Gardner. Twelve 22-minute episodes. Colour.

The Alien News Desk comes "live from Galactic Syndicate Studio Ship Integritus ... the only trustworthy source for news on the strangest Aliens in the galaxy: the humans of planet Earth!" The news anchors are Drexx Drudlarr (Forte) and Tuva van Void (Gardner). Drexx is a tentacled humanoid and Tuva a Robot; they form the stereotypical newsreading team, the older grouchy male and the younger, generally upbeat, female.

The format consists of a series of Earth news items, using live action clips and stills: the hosts comment on them, misinterpreting or being snarky for Satirical effect, or provide surreal explanations (see Absurdist SF); Advertising is also Parodied by using aliens instead of people. The personal lives of the anchors occasionally seeps into the broadcasts, usually to reveal the aliens have human problems: for instance, we learn that Drexx has a surly teenage son. At times viewers might be reminded of Morbo and Linda van Schoonhoven from Futurama's Channel √2 News, or the non-genre UK tv news satire series The Day Today (1994).

Unfortunately, though the Alien News Desk targets are often worthy of attack, they are assailed by low-grade weaponry: the Humour rarely rises above the level of mildly amusing and the satire, with occasional exceptions, tends to lack bite; there is little blood left on the floor. Using aliens to magnify human foibles for satirical purposes, or simply make them ridiculous, is a favourite trope of science fiction; but relying on silly names or swapping used car salesmen for used Spaceship salesmen suggests a lack of either imagination or effort. Though Forte and Gardner do good work, the show badly needs to strengthen its humour should a second season be commissioned. [SP]


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