Television has a long history of sitcoms about aliens trying their best to blend in with their adoptive home planet of Earth. From My Favorite Martian to Mork and Mindy to ALF, extraterrestrials have been experiencing strange human customs on TV for over half a century. Following in those show’s footsteps and turning that tried-and-true concept up to eleven is the new Hulu animated series from Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland: Solar Opposites.
Solar Opposites plays a bit like 3rd Rock from the Sun on crack– imagine if the Solomon family had been entirely bereft of empathy abandoned any attempts to disguise their true nature– and it’s all the funnier for it. Roiland stars as the lead alien Korvo (his vocal choices veering perhaps a little too close to Rick Sanchez) opposite Thomas Middleditch from Silicon Valley as his partner Terry. Korvo hates Earth and its populace, and is making every effort to expedite his somewhat-vaguely-defined mission there by attempting to repair the crashed spaceship parked atop the clan’s suburban home. Terry, on the other hand, has fully embraced the Earthling lifestyle– playing video games, soaking in popular culture, and generally living his best terrestrial life.
The two bickering heads-of-household live with their adolescent-aged replicants named Yumyulak (Sean Giambrone of The Goldbergs) and Jesse (comedian Mary Mack), plus an adorably omnivorous baby-like pupa whose not-so-secret role in the mission is revealed pretty much immediately. Together this makeshift family goes about their days analyzing human life while halfheartedly endeavoring to take part in it, much like the above-mentioned shows– except these E.T.s never pretend to be anything but. Come to think of it, it’s kind of like Invader ZIM if Dib never had to do any work to prove the local outsiders were indeed malevolent.
Justin Roiland’s style of humor carries over well from Rick and Morty, and the show’s plots cover a lot of similar sci-fi rigamarole, though there’s an obvious freedom on display here in not having to adhere to that show’s other co-creator Dan Harmon’s notorious-but-effective “Story Circle” script-writing theory. The result is something much more anarchic and somehow even less sentimental than its predecessor– think Roiland’s 2019 Trover Saves the Universe video game with sometimes-sadistic world-domination overtones.
These aliens mostly treat Earthlings as inferior beings, though they are also frequently drawn in by their lifestyles. Much of the humor is derived from the group’s complete and utter disregard for human life, but there’s an unmistakable bit of melancholy in their underlying desire to fit in, too. With their original homeworld having been obliterated by an asteroid, Korvo and company must make the best of a bad situation, and the adventures evidenced by the first two episodes “The Matter Transfer Array” and “The Unstable Grey Hole” indicate that they’ll find plenty for us to laugh about in the meantime– though I should reinforce Solar Opposites’ TV-MA rating and warn the Laughing Place readership that this series (though Hulu is technically now owned by Disney) is far from family-friendly.
The first eight episodes of Solar Opposites will become available for streaming this Friday, May 8, exclusively on Hulu.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.