Science fiction is science fiction, fantasy is fantasy, and never the twain shall meet. At least, not until June 1 — when the Hub Network will officially start airing Wizards vs. Aliens, a new series created by Doctor Who rebooter Russell T. Davies and The Sarah Jane Adventures‘s Phil Ford, who also co-wrote the 2009/2010 Who special “The Waters of Mars.” The show’s first season has already aired in its native Britain.
Wizards stars Scott Haran as Tom Clarke, a regular teenager who moonlights as a secret spell-caster. When Tom discovers that the Earth is being invaded by big, scaly, magic-eating aliens — one of whom is played by Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie, a.k.a. Briennne — he finds himself teaming up with his classmate Benny (Percelle Ascott), a science geek who may be able to help Tom defeat the wicked Nekross.
Ford and Davies dreamed up that storyline only after coming up with their show’s instantly catchy title — which Ford believes was essential to the series getting a green light in the first place. “People knew exactly what it was about simply from the title,” he explained in a phone interview. And that subject should be intriguing for anyone who loves either sci-fi or fantasy — as Ford says, “You don’t necessarily see hobgoblins and aliens in the same show anywhere else, as far as we’re aware.”
But this doesn’t mean that terrestrial beings and muggles — sorry, “the unenchanted” — will find Wizards vs. Aliens too “out there” to be relatable. Ford says that while the series is a “big adventure,” it’s also a story with “an awful lot of heart” — much like its spiritual ancestor Doctor Who. “The show is about friendship, and it’s about family,” he explained, noting also that future episodes will cover ground that the average kid’s show doesn’t necessarily explore — including a “moral dilemma” about whether it’s right to allow the Nekross to be destroyed, and the true story of what happened to Tom’s mother, who died under mysterious circumstances.
And if nothing else, that core concept should prove endlessly appealing: “Good storytelling, I think, is good storytelling around the world,” Ford declares. “I think kids love aliens — we all know because of Harry Potter that kids love wizards. There’s a kind of universal language here — we’re talking about the fight of good over evil, which is also a universal theme.” Get a glimpse at that battle in the clip below.
Wizards vs. Aliens begins its American run on the Hub Network Saturday, June 1 at 7 p.m. ET.