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The alienated ‘People of Earth’

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Wyatt Cenac on TBS’s “People of Earth.”
Wyatt Cenac on TBS’s “People of Earth.”Jan Thijs

People of Earth Monday at 9 p.m., TBS

TBS doesn't only want to be known as the place to find "Seinfeld" and "The Big Bang Theory" reruns. The network — the comedy sibling to TNT — has been trying hard, with a few successes including "Angie Tribeca," "Full Frontal With Samantha Bee," and "Conan."

On Monday, TBS premieres a new scripted comedy called "People of Earth" with two episodes, and it's not bad. It's gently funny, but also endearing, as it revolves around a support group for misfits who have been — along with people who only think they've been, and people who want to be — abducted by aliens. Yes, it's an unusual series.


The group members think they're learning how to deal with their alien experiences, but we know they're dealing with more human-scaled issues, namely loneliness, awkwardness, denial, fear, and — naturally — alienation. Amid all the light goofing on spaceship clichés, there are also some nice character explorations. Created by David Jenkins, with Conan O'Brien and Greg Daniels ("The Office") as executive producers, the show uses sci-fi and otherworldliness in the same way as "The Last Man on Earth" and "The Good Place," to muse about human nature. Also like those shows, "People of Earth" doesn't rely on the overused joke-a-minute formula.

Wyatt Cenac (pictured) from "The Daily Show" stars as a journalist sent to write about the wacky group. Through a series of strange events (isn't that always the way?), he winds up in the group with visions of his own abduction.

By the way, the group members do not like being called abductees, their leader, played with typically high entertainment value by Ana Gasteyer, points out early on. Their word for those who've been taken onto spaceships: Experiencers.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.