Tuesday, November 06, 2012

My Review of Wizards Vs. Aliens 1x01: "Dawn Of The Nekross"

Written by Phil Ford
Directed by Daniel O'Hara

Benny (re chamber of Crowe): "Narnia, Tim Burton style."

I wasn't going to but I've decided to do some reviews for this series after all. With The Sarah Jane Adventures no longer with us, I have to give both Russell T. Davies and Phil Ford credit in trying to come up with a decent replacement by mashing up the genres of magic and extraterrestrials with this series. Watching this opening two part story, it's something of a mixed bag but there's potential here.

Scott Haran may not have the same charisma as Daniel Anthony's Clyde Langer but he makes for a sympathetic and engaging enough lead character. Tom Clarke is a regular sixteen year old boy who happens to be a wizard and it's something that runs in his family tracing to his deceased mother and very much alive grandmother, Ursula, brilliantly played by Annette Badland.

Within the two parter, Tom's secret is exposed to nerdy fellow student, Benny (a likeable but stereotypical geeky character), ably played by Percelle Ascott as the two unlikely new friends band together in order to save Tom's grandmother as well as another wizard and his son from the Nekross.

The Nekross are the villains of the piece - an alien race that feeds on magic and Earth is the last place that has it in abundance, with Brian Blessed playing a face version of them - quite literally. They're not strictly defeated in this episode, which means that we've got them as a recurring bunch of villains for the series. Stylistically, they look good, are somewhat more campy and OTT than threatening but serve as solid enemies. Whether or not, they're a sustainable threat though is hard to tell but so far, they do have some promise.

- Michael Higgs plays the role of Tom's father, Michael, the only non Wizard of the family. It seems that Helen (Tom's mother, Ursula's daughter) was quite powerful.
- The Chamber of Crowe and it's guardian really were something that came out of Harry Potter. I think a bit more subtlety could've gone into that design.
- I found the driving back to Earth in the car scene both magical and cringe worthy. Pretty much a rip off of flying the TARDIS home as well from a certain Doctor Who story.
- Originally, there were plans for this series and The Sarah Jane Adventures to run alongside each other. What are the odds that a crossover would've happened if circumstances had been different?

Not a bad start to the show. The tone is pretty lighthearted but that's to be expected with a series opener though. Hopefully though the show does have a couple of surprises up it's sleeve, so it doesn't become too formulaic but either way, Dawn Of The Nekross is a good start to the show.

Rating: 7 out of 10.


Anonymous said...

"What are the odds that a crossover would've happened if circumstances had been different?"

Low, actually. RTD stated in an interview that the series is definitely separate from the Doctor Who universe and they're purposefully not going to even have in-jokes about Doctor Who.

shawnlunn2002 said...

I wasn't being deadly serious but considering that RTD once admitted he actually wanted to do a Doctor Who/Star Trek: Enterprise, I wouldn't have been surprised if he briefly toyed with the idea to be honest.