Ladysmith is set to make its small screen debut when Resident Alien premieres on the CTV Sci-Fi Channel, Wednesday Jan. 27.
The 10-episode one-hour series follows a crash-landed alien named Harry (Alan Tudyk), who takes on the identity of a small-town Colorado doctor and slowly begins to wrestle with the moral dilemma of his secret mission on Earth.
Filming for the series began in Ladysmith in Jan. 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Film crews were scheduled to return to Ladysmith in mid-March; however, the pandemic halted those plans. After months of uncertainty, film crews were allowed to return in October.
Writer and executive producer for the show, Chris Sheridan, said that finishing the show was a great relief.
“We never knew for sure when we were going to be able to finish the show. It was possible that we might not have been able to finish it, so I do feel incredible relief that we could get back and finish shooting what we needed to shoot.”
“We needed that trip. We couldn’t have finished the show without going back to Ladysmith,” Sheridan added.
The cast and crew followed stringent COVID-19 safety protocols to make that happen. Any cast and crew members that had to travel from America to work on the show were quarantined for 14 days. Once filming began in Ladysmith, cast and crew were tested for COVID-19 three times a week. A private company was hired to oversee the set and ensure everyone was following COVID-19 safety protocols.
In addition to on-set safety measures, the show runners decided to shorten shooting days from 12 hours down to 10 hours to prevent people from making fatigue related mistakes.
All of the COVID-19 safety measures added significant costs to the production.
“It was all for the sake of being safe for our cast and crew,” Sheridan said. “The last thing anyone in the film industry needed was for things to get bad on film sets, and to start making the virus worse in British Columbia.”
Despite the challenges of filming during a pandemic, Sheridan said that filming in Ladysmith was an amazing experience.
“Ladysmith is an amazing town. We got so lucky being able to shoot there. The people were amazing, the town is amazing. The background actors from the community were all great, and the support from the community has been incredible. We’re excited to hopefully have the opportunity to get more seasons and go back to Ladysmith.”
Film Cowichan, which operates under the umbrella of Economic Development Cowichan, estimated that the direct economic impact of the shoot was approximately $800,000, and said there will be a greater residual economic impact lasting long into the future through opportunities like tourism — once tourists can safely visit the Cowichan region.
“There is significant value in other film and tv productions seeing the look of the town on camera and knowing that filming was a very positive experience for both the production and residents,” said Barry O’Riordan, manager of Economic Development Cowichan.
The first episode of Resident Alien will air at 10 p.m. ET – 7 p.m. PST. New episodes are available to stream on CTV.ca and the CTV app.