The best episode of Wizards vs Aliens so far does veer a little into Buffy territory with its equating of use of darker magic (or grim magic as it’s known in the WvA universe) with drug use, but this is exactly the sort of thing that the show is perfectly positioned to do. It’s not doing the “just say no” campaign of Grange Hill of years back: it tells a story of broken friendships, trust and loyalty with an undercurrent that will go over the heads of the younger audience, but hopefully strike a chord with the older CBBC viewers.
The three young leads in this story – including guest star Andy Rush – carry the tale with conviction, although it has to be said that there’s a moment where Tom and Jackson do look a little ridiculous (although maybe they’re both fans of Son of Rambow?) The supporting adults are there to guide rather than give instructions, although I do hope that Dan Starkey’s Randall Moon is given a bit more to do. At present he feels as if he’s there because there should be a hobgoblin somewhere around!
Verdict: Every show needs time to find its feet, and the combination of writer Joseph Lidster and director Griff Rowland has set a good template. 8/10