Dawn Of The Nekross – Part 1

Wizards vs. AliensA pair of wizards cast an incantation in a stone circle, apparently drawing the attention of an alien spacecraft. The Nekross have arrived on Earth to begin harvesting the power of magic, upon which their king and their entire species feeds. Since practitioners of magic on Earth tend to live in seclusion, keeping their powers secret, they’ll make easy prey.

When his class gets a welcome break from school to take a field trip to the stone circle, young wizard Tom Clarke – the latest in a long line of wizards, whose dad cautions him against misusing his powers – finds a magical artifact. His science geek classmate Benny is quick to dismiss the possibility that the item has magical properties, until he sees it glowing in Tom’s hand. The Nekross, aboard a spaceship hidden behind the far side of the moon, detect the surge of energy from the item (dropped by their last victims) and begin a search for Tom so they can drain him of his magic. Tom’s grandmother, Ursula, arrives to protect her grandson by using her own powers, but the two of them make an even more tempting treat for the aliens.

Order the serieswritten by Phil Ford
directed by Daniel O’Hara
music by Sam Watts

Wizards vs. AliensCast: Scott Haran (Tom Clarke), Percelle Ascott (Benny Sherwood), Gwendoline Christie (Lexi), Jefferson Hall (Varg), Brian Blessed (voice of the Nekross King), Annette Badland (Ursula Crowe), Michael Higgs (Michael Clarke), Tim Rose (Nekross King puppeteer), Manpreet Bambra (Katie Lord), Connor Scarlett (Quinn Christopher), Paul Hunter (Robert France), Harry Lawtey (young Mark), Brian Miller (old Mark), Sara Stewart (Miss Webster)

Notes: Created by Russell T. Davies to fill the time slot and resources previously allocated to The Sarah Jane Adventures (whose run ended abruptly upon the death of its star, Elisabeth Sladen, in 2011), Wizards vs. Aliens is not a Doctor Who spinoff. Most of the behind-the-scenes personnel from SJA continue to work on this show, and a few familiar faces can be found in front of the camera as well. Annette Badland portrayed Blon Slitheen in the first season of Davies’ Doctor Who revival, while actor Brian Miller is the widower of Elisabeth Sladen and appeared in Doctor Who and SJA numerous times. Brian Blessed also appeared in Doctor Who (in one of the series’ most controversial segments, parts 5-8 of The Trial Of A Time Lord), but is thankfully better known for appearances in Blackadder, Flash Gordon, and as the voice of Boss Nass, the Gungan leader in Star Wars Episode I.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Dawn Of The Nekross – Part 2

Wizards vs. AliensWith their three spells for the day exhausted, Tom and his grandmother are powerless to stop the magic-harvesting Nekross. Tom manages to teleport himself back to Earth, whereupon he has to rock Benny’s entire belief in the way things work to the core and explain that both magic and evil aliens from space are real. Benny offers to help, but Tom realizes that the only real help for him lies in his grandmother’s hidden crawlspace, where all of her magic books and artifacts are kept. This space also contains the imp Randal Moon, who immediately offers his help in retrieving Tom’s grandmother from the Nekross; Tom’s dad, who isn’t a magic user, finds himself swept into space along with Moon. Magic is useless against the Nekross – they’re immune to it, and thrive off of the energy created by its use – but the non-magic-users help to prove that Nekross technology is susceptible to old-fashioned brute force and escape with all of the wizards that the Nekross have captured. With the knowledge that his friend is in danger, Benny offers to help Tom with scientific know-how the next time the Nekross appear.

Order the serieswritten by Phil Ford
directed by Daniel O’Hara
music by Sam Watts

Wizards vs. AliensCast: Scott Haran (Tom Clarke), Percelle Ascott (Benny Sherwood), Annette Badland (Ursula Crowe), Michael Higgs (Michael Clarke), Jefferson Hall (Varg), Gwendoline Christie (Lexi), Brian Blessed (voice of the Nekross King), Tim Rose (Nekross King puppeteer), Dan Starkey (Randal Moon), Paul Hunter (Robert France), Brian Miller (old Mark)

Notes: Dan Starkey has played numerous Sontaran characters on Doctor Who, most notably the moon-hating Strax; he was also the leader of the enslaved aliens in the Sarah Jane Adventures story that became that series’ finale.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Grazlax Attacks – Part 1

Wizards vs. AliensStill hiding on the far side of the moon in their massive warship, the Zarantulus, the Nekross have a problem: their king demands a fresh infusion of the magical energy from wizards, but at least a few of Earth’s wizards are now aware of the Nekross’ existence and are fighting back. Tom, Ursula and Randal Moon cast a shrouding spell to conceal Earth’s magic from the Nekross. Tom breathes a sigh of relief: he can go back to being a normal teenager, starting with teaming up with Benny on schoolwork (a bit less stressful than teaming up to fight an alien invasion). The response from the aliens is to send another alien species to do their dirty work. The vicious, seemingly unstoppable Grazlax homes in on Tom, and follows him straight to Benny’s house.

Order the serieswritten by Phil Ford
directed by Daniel O’Hara
music by Sam Watts

Wizards vs. AliensCast: Scott Haran (Tom Clarke), Percelle Ascott (Benny Sherwood), Annette Badland (Ursula Crowe), Jefferson Hall (Varg), Gwendoline Christie (Lexi), Brian Blessed (voice of the Nekross King), Tim Rose (Nekross King puppeteer), Dan Starkey (Randal Moon), Manpreet Bambra (Katie Lord), Connor Scarlett (Quinn Christopher), Don Gilet (Richard Sherwood), Nina Sosanya (Tricia Sherwood), Dave Chapman (Grazlax), Robert Tygner (Grazlax)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Grazlax Attacks – Part 2

Wizards vs. AliensTrapped in Benny’s house with the Grazlax, Tom discovers only too late that trying to ward the alien creature off with a hair dryer simply allows it to reproduce. Once the creature finds the ecologically friendly boiler Benny’s dad has built in the basement, it starts to reproduce almost at will, each “generation” creating three new Grazlax from the remains of a single Grazlax. The boy discover that high-pitched sound has an effect on their pursuers, and in space, the Nekross discovers that the Grazlax may be too powerful for even their technology to control.

Order the serieswritten by Phil Ford
directed by Daniel O’Hara
music by Sam Watts

Wizards vs. AliensCast: Scott Haran (Tom Clarke), Percelle Ascott (Benny Sherwood), Annette Badland (Ursula Crowe), Jefferson Hall (Varg), Gwendoline Christie (Lexi), Brian Blessed (voice of the Nekross King), Tim Rose (Nekross King puppeteer), Dan Starkey (Randal Moon), Manpreet Bambra (Katie Lord), Dave Chapman (Grazlax), Robert Tygner (Grazlax)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Rebel Magic – Part 1

Wizards vs. AliensVarg and Lexi accost a teenage wizard named Jackson Hawke and try to abduct him to drain his magic. He quickly shows that he has no intention of becoming their latest victim – and has the magic to back it up despite his modest age – by banishing them to the Egyptian desert with a single spell.

Tom is having problems at school – his grades are falling because he had been using magic to complete his homework, magic which he now feels he has to reserve for Nekross-related emergencies. Naturally, Tom’s dad has a thing or two to say about this revelation, and even at school, Tom is finding himself ostracized from his old crowd because of his recent tendency to spend his time with Benny. Tom narrowly escapes being mugged when Jackson Hawke steps in, and Tom is immediately fascinated by the older boy’s magical prowess, though he quickly learns that Jackson uses magic to avoid school, to avoid work, to avoid paying for anything – and he’s ready to teach Tom how to use his magic the same way.

Order the serieswritten by Joseph Lidster
directed by Griff Rowland
music by Sam Watts

Wizards vs. AliensCast: Scott Haran (Tom Clarke), Percelle Ascott (Benny Sherwood), Annette Badland (Ursula Crowe), Michael Higgs (Michael Clarke), Jefferson Hall (Varg), Gwendoline Christie (Lexi), Brian Blessed (voice of the Nekross King), Tim Rose (Nekross King puppeteer), Connor Scarlett (Quinn Christopher), Andy Rush (Jackson Hawke), Joshua Herdman (Steve), Claire Cage (Julia Hawke), Holli Dempsey (Meena)

Notes: The Nekross King devoured his own brother to ascend to the throne; it’s apparently not uncommon for sibling rivalries to be resolving in this manner on their planet.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Rebel Magic – Part 2

Wizards vs. AliensTom and Jackson Hawke return to Jackson’s house, finding that Benny followed Tom there – and so did the Nekross hunter Varg, who is holding Benny at gunpoint. Jackson urges Tom to use a darker magical force to banish Varg, and then Jackson himself uses the same kind of magic to erase Benny’s memory and send him on his way. The two young wizards plan to wait until sunrise for their magic to recharge, and then launch their own offensive against the Nekross aboard the Zarantulus. Benny, thinking that it’s that morning, goes to Tom’s house, where Ursula recognizes the spell that he’s been placed under and reverses it, learning of Jackson’s use of grim magic. At sunrise, the two wizards attack the Nekross ship with a spell, drawing the aliens’ attention enough to earn an invitation to deep space. Jackson plans to use grim magic to eliminate the Nekross forever – even if his continued use of it burns out his own mind.

Order the serieswritten by Joseph Lidster
directed by Griff Rowland
music by Sam Watts

Wizards vs. AliensCast: Scott Haran (Tom Clarke), Percelle Ascott (Benny Sherwood), Annette Badland (Ursula Crowe), Michael Higgs (Michael Clarke), Jefferson Hall (Varg), Gwendoline Christie (Lexi), Brian Blessed (voice of the Nekross King), Tim Rose (Nekross King puppeteer), Dan Starkey (Randal Moon), Andy Rush (Jackson Hawke), Claire Cage (Julia Hawke)

Notes: On the surface, it would appear that the concept of grim magic is interchangeable with the more familiar concept of “black magic”, though the latter term was probably omitted to avoid offending anyone (particularly those who are likely to protest any mention of magic in children’s entertainment to begin with).

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Friend Or Foe – Part 1

Wizards vs. AliensAt the bidding of the King, Lexi devises an impressive disguise allowing her to pass for a human – so well, in fact, that her brother thinks an unauthorized human has boarded the Zarantulus. She plans to use this disguise to capture Tom, unaware that she’s competing with someone to control his power: a secret organization of Earth is trying to prove the existence of wizards, and has spotted Tom using his powers on London’s ubiquitous closed circuit TV cameras. Men in black capture Tom and the disguised Lexi, shove them into black vans, and take off…and before the day is out, the human race is aware of the Nekross as well. Now Benny and Varg have to join forces to find them.

Order the serieswritten by Clayton Hickman
directed by Griff Rowland
music by Sam Watts

Wizards vs. AliensCast: Scott Haran (Tom Clarke), Percelle Ascott (Benny Sherwood), Annette Badland (Ursula Crowe), Michael Higgs (Michael Clarke), Jefferson Hall (Varg), Gwendoline Christie (Lexi), Brian Blessed (voice of the Nekross King), Tim Rose (Nekross King puppeteer), Dan Starkey (Randal Moon), Manpreet Bambra (Katie Lord), Connor Scarlett (Quinn Christopher), Ruthie Henshall (Stephanie Gaunt), Chuk Iwuji (Adams), James Barriscale (Mr. Fisher)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Friend Or Foe – Part 2

Wizards vs. AliensMs. Gaunt’s shadowy organization isn’t part of the government; she’s trying to harness magic to help her commit crimes. When she discovers that Lexi is an alien with technology beyond the human race, it’s all the better – and she begins interrogating Lexi, something to which even Tom takes offense. Varg, looking for his sister, reluctantly turns to Benny and to Tom’s grandmother for help, though Varg’s definition of “help” is “submitting to an excruciatingly painful brain scan”. With Ms. Gaunt trying to enslave them both, wizards and aliens form an unlikely alliance to defeat her.

Order the serieswritten by Clayton Hickman
directed by Griff Rowland
music by Sam Watts

Wizards vs. AliensCast: Scott Haran (Tom Clarke), Percelle Ascott (Benny Sherwood), Annette Badland (Ursula Crowe), Michael Higgs (Michael Clarke), Jefferson Hall (Varg), Gwendoline Christie (Lexi), Brian Blessed (voice of the Nekross King), Tim Rose (Nekross King puppeteer), Dan Starkey (Randal Moon), Ruthie Henshall (Stephanie Gaunt), Chuk Iwuji (Adams)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Fall Of The Nekross – Part 1

Wizards vs. AliensTired of living under constant Nekross threat, Ursula casts an obscure spell to repel the Zarantulus using Earth’s own gravity…but it barely causes the ship to budge. Benny suggests fighting Nekross science with perfectly ordinary Earth computer science: he hacks into a global distributed computing network intended for educational purposes, and uses it to transmit an Earthly computer virus to the Nekross. Barely spaceworthy, the Zarantulus withdraws to conduct extensive repairs. They contact Benny, demanding merciful treatment instead of ann attack that leaves their ship unable to sustain life. But Ursula, having praised Benny for fending off the Nekross without bloodshed, decides this is no time for mercy.

Order the serieswritten by Gareth Roberts
directed by Joss Agnew
music by Sam Watts

Wizards vs. AliensCast: Scott Haran (Tom Clarke), Percelle Ascott (Benny Sherwood), Annette Badland (Ursula Crowe), Michael Higgs (Michael Clarke), Jefferson Hall (Varg), Gwendoline Christie (Lexi), Brian Blessed (voice of the Nekross King), Tim Rose (Nekross King puppeteer), Dan Starkey (Randal Moon), Tom Bell (Jathro)

Notes: Apparently technomages – wizards who achieve their “magic” by using technology and science – exist in the Wizards vs. Aliens universe as well as the Babylon 5 universe. The Nekross really need to install McAffee or Avast or something, or at least learn some IT best practices while they’re observing Earth.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Fall Of The Nekross – Part 2

Wizards vs. AliensWith the Zarantulus mere hours away from falling apart in deep space, Benny is wracked with guilt over what he has done, and is shocked to find that the entire Crow family seems to be all in favor of killing the Nekross. But Tom, feeling equally guilty, rushes to help Benny find a way to deliver help to the Nekross, in the form of Benny himself. Tom plans to use a stone circle to magically “remember” how the Nekross’ teleport works, so Benny can eliminate the virus from their ship, but for the use of such powerful magic, the stones exact a punishing price on whoever uses them.

Order the serieswritten by Gareth Roberts
directed by Joss Agnew
music by Sam Watts

Wizards vs. AliensCast: Scott Haran (Tom Clarke), Percelle Ascott (Benny Sherwood), Annette Badland (Ursula Crowe), Michael Higgs (Michael Clarke), Jefferson Hall (Varg), Gwendoline Christie (Lexi), Brian Blessed (voice of the Nekross King), Tim Rose (Nekross King puppeteer), Dan Starkey (Randal Moon), Tom Bell (Jathro), Gabriel Woolf (voice of the Stones)

Notes: Gabriel Woolf provided the voice of Sutekh in the classic 1976 Doctor Who story The Pyramids Of Mars, a role he has also reprised for Big Finish Productions.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

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