Episodes 1.05-6 Writer: Joseph Lidster Director: Griff Rowland
THE ONE WHERE Tom gets fed up of his dad telling him what to do and rebels by making friends with a wizard who uses “grim magic”. In other words, Tom goes Dark Side.
VERDICT It’s a brave decision to make an episode in which your hero acts like a total dick so early on in the series, while people are still making up their minds about him. And Tom is a dick in these two episodes, breaking rules, being a bully and treating his new buddy Benny like something he found on his shoe. He redeems himself at the end, of course, but you can’t help wondering about the fact that he falls under the spell (no pun intended) of fellow wizard Jackson Hawke a little too easily. Is he basically just a dick waiting to happen? Hmm…
The best thing about this two-parter is most definitely Jackson Hawke himself, played by Misfits‘ Robert Sheehan… er… Andy Rush (the two actors both look like each other and act like each other, so you could be forgiven for mixing them up). You can’t fault Rush’s natural charisma in every one of his scenes, and he seems to be having a blast as Hawke. The only quibble we have – although it’s a minor one – is that it seems a bit silly when Tom asks him why he’s not at school – Rush is clearly in his twenties!
If you accept the (rather unacceptable) fact that Tom would fall in with Hawke so easily and turn his back on his family and friends without a qualm, “Rebel Magic” is a decent story with a few laughs and some fun scenes between the bickering Varg and Lexi on the spaceship. It’s also interesting to hear more about magic and its side-effects, although grim magic is basically the Dark Side of the Force. Oh well, nobody said this show was original…
GEEK ALERT! Benny arrives at Tom’s door and announces, “Avengers assemble!” when he opens it. Somehow he does it without making you want to slap him.
BLESSED BE! This week’s epic voice-work from Brian Blessed is a mighty, “I HUNGERRRRRRRR!!!” Somewhere above the dubbing booth, roof tiles dislodged and fell to the floor.
IS THAT YOU, K-9? At one point Randal Moon calls Ursula “mistress” and it sounds absolutely identical to the way K-9 used to say it in Doctor Who. Are Dan Starkey and John Leeson really the same person?
NAUGHTY BOY In the first episode we see Tom using magic to do his homework; he gets found out here, and has to work harder at school to compensate. Good. Cheaters don’t prosper, sonny!
LET’S GET NAKED! A group of muggers are removed of their clothing by Jackson. The unexpectedness of this disrobing makes this scene very funny – the writers really do know the kind of things that make kids laugh.
COMEDY NEKROSS MOMENT Varg gets banished to Egypt. His baffled “What?!” is comedy gold.
MUGGLED UP We’re all used to Harry Potter naming non-magic people as “Muggles”. In Wizards Vs Aliens they’re called “Unenchanteds”. While it’s more descriptive, it’s a bit of a mouthful, isn’t it?
ACCIDENTAL TOPICAL JOKE “Tom Clarke isStar Wars: The Next Generation!” gushes Tom at one point. Given the recent Episode VII news, that could actually come true…
ABSOLUTELY INEVITABLE JOKE Tom: “Now that’s magic!” Well, someone had to say this at some point, didn’t they?
BAD MAGIC OR NOT, WE LIKE IT Jackson conjures up a delicious-looking feast using a spell. Why is food like this always associated with being naughty? Not fair.
BEST LINE Jackson: “I am Jackson Hawke. Slayer of Angry Birds. Devourer of pizza and chips.”
New episodes of Wizards Versus Aliens air on CBBC every Monday and Tuesday at 5.15pm