Set in a dystopian version of the modern world, E4 brings us a new sci-fi comedy-drama, The Aliens. From the same producer as Channel 4’s Misfits, we are plunged into a world 40 years after aliens have crash-landed on earth.
Whilst looking, speaking and acting like humans, the aliens are segregated in an un-policed ghetto, named Troy.
Within this lawless, walled community, ‘fur’ trafficking gangs compete for a monopoly on the exportation of aliens’ body hair to humans on the other side of the wall, who smoke it as an illegal narcotic.
We join the story from the perspective of Lewis (Michael Socha), a border control guard who has a strong distaste for the alien community, in part due to his sister’s addiction to alien ‘fur’.
However, a chance encounter with the alien Silent Gang, who are attempting to sell ‘fur’ on the human side of the border leads Lewis to make a shocking discovery.
Whist trying to arrest the Silent Gang, Lewis employs a dog whistle, a kind of sonic grenade, which incapacitates aliens.
When he himself is affected, Lewis is to realise, to his horror, that he is in fact half-alien.
A large amount of the show’s endemic humour comes from this hapless Silent Gang, who end up kidnapping Lewis’ sister from a pet shop: “I’m coming back for the rabbit”, one declares as he flees, wielding a gun.
The only real sense of threat is then left to be executed by the mysterious Lilyhot, who is not all she seems.
The Aliens is a punchy, humorous comedy, however it also speaks to deeper questions about what it means to be human.
The obvious humanity of the aliens makes a strong comment about bigotry in society.
Despite this, the level of comedy often comes off too strong, with every serious situation broken up by a witty one-liner.
This overshadows these more significant messages that could have otherwise been explored further.
Overall however, The Aliens is an engaging and sparky comedy-drama, and it will be interesting to see how the series unfolds.
Image: GroupET8 Aliens