What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wizards vs. Aliens is a popular British sci-fi series from the team behind The Sarah Jane Adventures, and it features the same style of smart story-telling and superb character development. The enemies here are a parading cast of colorful aliens, and excellent special effects give their images a real bite, which might be a concern for some kids. Even though the bad guys usually resort to force in getting what they want, the same isn't true of the heroes, who hash out plans and think on their feet to escape danger rather than engaging in conflict. While Tom is the obvious protagonist of the story, the show recognizes other heroes as well, reminding viewers that gifts like intelligence, loyalty, and love are as powerful against evil as is magic.
What's the story?
Tom Clarke (Scott Haran) is a teenage wizard-in-the-making, still underage and untrained in his family's legacy by his grandmother, Ursula (Annette Badland). But then an alien race called the Nekross invades Earth in search of magic to feed on, and Tom finds himself on the front line protecting the world from their evil plans. There's nothing like on-the-job training, and Tom has to be a quick study to stay ahead of the greedy Nekross King's (Brian Blessed) insatiable hunger for magical essence. Lucky for him, he's also flanked by his super-smart friend Benny (Percelle Ascott) and his non-magical but protective father, Michael (Michael Higgs).
Is it any good?
WIZARDS VS. ALIENS has garnered a faithful following in its native Britain and promises to do the same in other parts of the world, thanks to smart writing, relatable characters (aliens notwithstanding, of course), and impressive special effects. It's easy to get on board with a charismatic British teen as an undercover wizard, and his supporting cast is equally likable, from the eccentric legacy witch, Ursula, to the helpful hobgoblin and guardian of the magical chamber that doubles as the family's bathroom. Adventures abound in this clever show that's exceedingly enjoyable to watch.
Parents especially will appreciate the show's positive portrayal of relationships within a single-parent, multi-generational family. Tom's likable nature is the result of his grandmother's reverence for their family's magical lineage, but perhaps even more so because of the down-to-Earth mindset of his non-magical dad, who does his part to ensure that Tom is well-rounded. Both influences are evident in Tom's personality, and it's the blending of these two very different sides that create a hero that kids and parents will love.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about aliens. Is it plausible that life exists on other planets? What evidence do we have in favor of/against this theory? If it does exist, do you think they're more evolved than we are? Why do we see this theme in alien stories so often?
How does Tom view his wizardry? Is it a blessing? A curse? What aspects of your life have benefits and drawbacks? How do you find a happy balance for them?
Is there such a thing as a "normal" family structure these days? How different does the picture of family look now than it did 50 years ago? What factors have influenced these changes? What messages do we get from relationships we see on TV?