The Aliens. Image shows from L to R: Dominic (Jim Howick), Lewis (Michael Socha), Lilyhot (Michaela Coel). Copyright: Clerkenwell Films.

The Aliens

E4 comedy drama. 6 episodes (1 series) in 2016. Stars Michael Socha, Michaela Coel, Jim Howick, Michael Smiley, Trystan Gravelle, Holli Dempsey, Neil Fitzmaurice and Alex Beckett.

Press Clippings

Channel 4 axes The Aliens

Broadcaster says the E4 sci-fi social satire will not be returning.

Ben Dowell, Radio Times, 24th May 2016

"Opposites attract" goes the old adage, but there's certainly very little love between reluctant undercover semi-alien Lewis and self-proclaimed alpha-dog border guard Truss as E4's sparky sci-fi comedy continues. Yet, when the latter finds himself stuck in the middle of Troy with the Alien League in hot pursuit, his only exit strategy comes from his least favourite colleague. Lilyhot, meanwhile, has to deliver an ultimatum to Fabien, following an altercation with Antoine.

Mark Gibbings-Jones, The Guardian, 29th March 2016

Review: E4's Aliens

The Aliens is an engaging and sparky comedy-drama, and it will be interesting to see how the series unfolds.

Flo McMullen, The Student Newspaper, 23rd March 2016

The Aliens S01E02 "Episode 2" review

Overall, The Aliens continues to be a solid show that's still shrouded in mystery.

Jessica Anson, MCM Buzz, 17th March 2016

With Lewis now under the thumb of manipulative extraterrestrial Lilyhot, he's about to discover that last week's nearly-being-buried-alive shenanigans are just the beginning of his problems. Lilyhot knows who Lewis's alien dad is, but he'll have to put himself and the hapless Dominic (Jim Howick) through some perilous prison-breaking before he can discover the truth. We also meet Troy's most ruthless and most Welsh gangster Fabien. All much better than it sounds on paper, thanks mainly to Michael Socha's Lewis.

Ben Arnold, The Guardian, 15th March 2016

From first viewing, The Aliens is E4's most ambitious programme since Misfits due to its intriguing concept and energetic central cast. Fintan Ryan's drama is set in a UK where aliens crash-landed forty years prior and have since been segregated into their own city called Troy. These aliens are allowed to cross over to the human side of the wall as long as they go through border control where they are tagged and sprayed. The other big concept running throughout The Aliens is that alien hair when set alight becomes a rather potent drug and therefore it is sold on the black market. It's this idea that totally freaks out border guard Lewis (Michael Socha) who, in an early exposition-filled speech, outlines why he hates the aliens or 'Morks' as they are offensively called. Outside of his work Lewis lives a rather lonely existence, sharing a home with his father (Neil Fitzmaurice) and regularly having to bail out his ditzy sister Holly (Holli Dempsey) and her partner Ivan (Alex Beckett). Lewis' only solace comes via the online chats he has with the exotic Lilyhot (Michaela Coel) who unbeknownst to him is actually an alien gangster. Lilyhot's story is the other one that unfolds throughout the first episode as we see her engage in illegal activity with her partner Christophe (Ashley Walters) as they rob and pillage their way through Troy. Lilyhot and Lewis' worlds are slowly intertwined after Christophe kidnaps Holly and our hero must go behind enemy lines to save her. However the twist in the tale is that Lewis himself his half alien, a product of an affair between his mother and an unknown father, which changes his world view on everything. But by the end of the episode the only two people who know are kindly alien cleaner Dominic (Jim Howick) and Lilyhot the latter of whom uses the information to blackmail Lewis.

I admire any TV show that is willing to take risks and stand out from the crowd with The Aliens sort of succeeding on both fronts. What I liked about The Aliens is that, even though it has an outlandish concept, the reason it works is due to its central characters. Lewis is certainly a well-drawn character initially presented as a dull everyman he quickly becomes an unwitting hero and learns of his true parentage in the course of a couple of days. It's because Allen makes the audience care about Lewis that it's easier to take some of the weaker parts of the story which feature Christophe and Lilyhot's crime spree. That being said I found Lilyhot herself to be a fantastic and unique character, a sort of extra-terrestrial femme fatale who has one over on all of the male characters in the show. When I first saw the trailers for The Aliens I thought it would primarily be providing a commentary on illegal immigration and while that's certainly one of the drama's themes it doesn't feel like any sort of message is being rammed down our throats. Furthermore I enjoyed the styling of The Aliens especially when it comes to the design of the city of Troy which we first saw through the eyes of Lewis. Troy is presented as a lawless world full of darkness and I feel the production team has done an excellent job bringing it to life. Of the cast, I thought it was great to see Michael Socha take centre stage after years of being part of ensemble in the likes of This is England and Being Human. Socha brings an easy charm to the role of Lewis and I feel he really excelled in the scenes where he learned of his true parentage. Jim Howick provided some great light relief as Lewis' ally Dominic whilst Ashley Walters perfectly utilised his gangster persona to play Christophe. However it was Michaela Coel who stole the show in my opinion as she poured tons of life into the complex character of Lilyhot. After seeing her for the first time last year in Chewing Gum, it's great to Coel live up to her early promise in a role in which she's asked to convey most of her feelings through facial expressions rather than dialogue. It's thanks to Coel and Socha that The Aliens works as well as it does and I have to applaud Ryan for creating a TV show that offers something a little different to the usual dramas we seem to be offered up on a weekly basis.

Matt, The Custard TV, 12th March 2016

The set-up in The Aliens is that aliens crash-landed on Earth (or maybe just in Britain) 40 years ago -- and, despite looking human and speaking English, are regarded with such suspicion that they've never been allowed to take their place alongside the rest of us. Some do perform menial tasks in the outside world, but every night they're locked back into their own walled enclave, patrolled by border guards.

At this point, shrewder viewers might already have realised that one element of the show is an allegory about immigration. Luckily, on Tuesday that soon disappeared into the background to be replaced by a winningly unhinged plot based on the fact that, when burned in a pipe, the aliens' hair is a powerful recreational drug. This has, in turn, led to gang wars within the alien community -- into which a border guard called Lewis (Michael Socha, so great in the various This Is England series) is drawn when one of the gangs kidnaps his drug-dealing sister. Oh, yes, and Lewis has discovered that he is himself half-alien, and he's not too pleased about it. He's also formed an alliance with a gay alien who fancies him.

The result is a kind of mildly sci-fi version of BBC2's award-winning The Wrong Mans with two unlikely heroes, completely out of their depth, finding themselves at the centre of an increasingly twisting storyline that involves lots of baddies trying to kill them. True, The Aliens doesn't have the same level of ingenuity. Even so, it does manage to be a comedy thriller that's both quite funny and quite thrilling -- which definitely qualifies it as well worth a watch.

James Walton, The Spectator, 10th March 2016

The Aliens review: otherworldly fun from Misfits makers

Buckle up: E4's new comedy-drama is a rollercoaster ride.

Tim Dowling, The Guardian, 9th March 2016

The Aliens review

The Aliens' manic energy, pace and strong leads made for a pulsating ride.

The Telegraph, 9th March 2016

The Aliens episode 1 review

E4's new sci-fi comedy, from the producers of Misfits, aims for frantic, youth-skewed fun with a social conscience. Does it succeed?

Louisa Mellor, Den Of Geek, 8th March 2016