You’ve probably caught, over the past week or so, news arising of a brand new show that’s heading to CBBC in the autumn. It’s entitled Aliens Vs Wizards, and the reason why it’s probably on your radar, and certainly on ours, is just who’s behind it. The brains behind the show belong, after all, to Russell T Davies and Phil Ford, the creative forces behind the terrific The Sarah Jane Adventures.
Described as an “action adventure drama” by the BBC, Aliens Vs Wizards is set to centre around the character of Tom Clarke, a 16-year old who lives with his dad and grandmother, and someone who hides a bit of a secret.
That secret? That his family are wizards, and, more to the point, wizards who have a problem on their hands. For when aliens by the name of the Nekross arrive, it turns out that Tom’s family is under significant threat.
So sets the scene for a mash-up that very rarely happens. As Russell T Davies has said, “Wizards have never met aliens before”, adding that “when they do, the result is spectacular! The mysterious Nekross know exactly what to do with magicians. Eat them! Let battle be joined!”
The work on Aliens Vs Wizards apparently began towards the beginning of 2011, at the point when it was clear that The Sarah Jane Adventures would be ending, due to the illness and eventual tragic death of its star, the much-missed Elisabeth Sladen.
Davies conceived the show over dinner in Los Angeles with Phil Ford, and it’s now set to head into production this coming March. Twelve 30 minute episodes are to be produced for the show’s first series, and another The Sarah Jane Adventures alumni, Gareth Roberts, has already been recruited to the writing team (his agency webpage, here, lists him as writing a pair of 30 minute episodes).
Furthermore, a second series has reportedly already been commissioned, too, set for transmission in 2013.
The official synopsis, released as part of the BBC’s press announcement, reads thus:
“From the dark side of the moon, aliens are scanning the Earth searching for magic and are prepared to destroy everything in their path to get it. All that stands in the way of Earth’s imminent destruction are two 16-year old schoolboys, Tom and Benny. It’s Ray Guns vs Wands; Science vs Magic and Aliens vs Wizards.”
It’s massively encouraging that CBBC is continuing its commitment to such genre television, and given the rich and deserved praise heaped on The Sarah Jane Adventures, it’s warming to see that the team behind it are getting to channel their talents into such a new show.
None of us wanted The Sarah Jane Adventures to come to an end in the circumstances that it did, but it’s perhaps the most fitting legacy of all to it that its spirit and impact will live on in Aliens Vs Wizards.
We look forward to the show, and will keep you posted on it.