The CW premiered a controversial new sitcom on Monday called Aliens in America, about a white family in Wisconsin that takes in an exchange student to provide their unpopular 16-year-old son with a friend, but are surprised when a Muslim teenager from Pakistan arrives at their door.
“Aliens in America has its heart in the right place,” said Tom Jicha in the Sun-Sentinel.com. But “its head is another matter.” The show talks down to its audience, treating it like “a collection of idiots and bigots, who have to be shown the light by a wise Muslim youth from Pakistan.” And it's "foolhardy" right now to think that some people won’t “be turned off by the heroic portrayal of someone from the Middle East at the expense of Middle America.” Nice try, but “the road to cancellation also is paved with good intentions.”
It’s surprising to see a show like Aliens pop up on primetime TV, said Scott Collins in Newsday. The idea is “audacious by the standards of American TV comedies, which usually avoid any material that could be construed as remotely political.” But if there’s ever a time to give it a shot, it might be now. “The very notion that Americans are divided these days into tribes and subcultures, in culture as in politics, may make the moment right for Aliens and its fish-out-of-water premise.”
Aliens may not make it past its second episode, said Robert Bianco in USA Today, but not because of the politics. “The misunderstanding plot, though tired, is inoffensive. It’s the execution, with crude jokes about erections and, worse, simulations of anal sex, that will cause some parents to run screaming for the remote.” There’s a time and a place for adult humor, but it’s not at 8:30 p.m. in a sitcom that runs after Everybody Hates Chris.