‘The Aliens’ Episode 1 review: A strong start for E4’s sci-fi comedy-drama

Who doesn’t love a good sci-fi story that addresses relatable political issues set in a near-recognisable world?

That’s E4’s new six-part series The Aliens in a nutshell.

In a Britain that otherwise looks a lot like ours, we learn in the first episode’s opening scenes that aliens crash-landed on the planet a few decades back, and live in a heavily-guarded ghetto called Troy. It’s quite by accident whilst in pursuit of some dodgy characters that border patrol officer Lewis (Being Human star Michael Socha) discovers that he’s not quite as human as he always assumed he was. Identity crisis ensues.

Lewis finds himself dragged into Troy’s seedy underbelly – indeed, it seems like one of those places that’s more underbelly than overbelly – in order to save his fairly unpleasant sister, who’s become embroiled in the illicit trade of the aliens’ hair, which it turns out is a pretty hardcore drug when smoked. He enlists the help of Dominic (Jim Howick, who is lovely), an alien work colleague who’s got quite the unrequited crush on Lewis.

(I get it, dude: he’s a nice guy, if a bit self-loathingly racist and in the grips of a newfound existential crisis, but you deserve someone who at least likes to kiss boys as much as you’d like to kiss him.)

All throughout the story, though, Lewis seems inexorably drawn to the enigmatic Lilyhot (Michaela Coel), whether she’s waggling about on a webcam or kidnapping members of his family.

Created by In the Flesh writer Fintan Ryan, the show’s got that Misfits-style gritty, grubby youth-oriented drama aesthetic bang-on, so if that’s a sort of aesthetic that appeals to you, this will too. It’s peppered with wonderfully witty moments amid the chaos and crime, and the lead cast are charming and intriguing.

With an opener as promising as this one, I’m very much looking forward to seeing where Lewis and friends’ adventure takes them next.

images_Stars_4star

Aired at 9pm on Tuesday 8 March 2016 on E4.

> Buy Season 1 on DVD on Amazon.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know below…

> Read more by Sami Kelsh on her website.