Category: The Sarah Jane Adventures
The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 53: The Man Who Never Was – Part Two (18/10/2011)
‘I expected high class industrial spies, not Mumsnet.’ With this episode, The Sarah Jane Adventures overtakes Blake’s 7 to be the third-longest-running UK science fiction TV show. This wasn’t designed as the final episode, but its messages – that teamwork, tolerance and equality will triumph over greed, oppression and self-orientation – are as good as any final statements. Stopping a people-smuggling operation, freeing enslaved aliens and bringing down an evil corporation are all in a day’s work.
The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 52: The Man Who Never Was – Part One (17/10/2011)
‘Finally, face to face. It’s the clash of the nerds.’ Luke returns to Bannerman Road in time to meet his new “sister” and join his mum investigating the mysterious Joseph Serf, a Steve Jobs type responsible for the new wonder-computer the ‘SerfBoard’. In her final story, Sarah Jane’s journalist credentials are reforged – she’s one of the country’s best, and, as she reminds Clyde and Rani, it’s this that pays for her lavish lifestyle. We even get to meet her first editor, the lascivious Lionel Carson (Peter Bowles, bringing more “gentleman of a certain age” stylishness to the show in the wake of Nigel Havers).
The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 51: The Curse of Clyde Langer – Part Two (11/10/2011)
‘The most alien world of all is right here. And no-one knows. Because they don’t want to.’ After bumping my gums about a perceived infantilisation of the show in Sky, I’m eating my words. This is as pointed as anything in Series Four, with a clear message about attitudes towards the homeless and an ending that shrugs off the Native American curse plot to focus on the fate of Ellie. It’s downbeat, suggesting that Sarah Jane’s magic computer and sonic lipstick aren’t enough to fix all injustices or social problems. And, although it’s pitched as a second chance for Ellie, I’m not sure how much Phil Ford intended the idea of a young woman being taken by a mystery man in a lorry to be a comforting fate.
The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 50: The Curse of Clyde Langer – Part One (10/10/2011)
‘Every one of my friends has been turning against me.’ This is more like it: as dark and disturbing as anything this show has done, as a curse turns Clyde’s friends and family against him, until he has nothing left. What’s impressive is how brutal it is – none of it’s played for laughs, there’s a real viciousness in Sarah Jane and Rani’s hatred of Clyde, and resigned, determined disappointment from his mother. Clyde can’t joke his way out of it, or appeal to his friends.
The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 49: Sky – Part Two (4/10/2011)
‘It was supposed to make her laugh. Boy, does this feel familiar.’ Everyone has to explain things to Sky in a very simple way, which has the effect of making this feel much more simplistic than the previous series. And knowing that Sky’s adventures will end in four episodes’ time makes it hard to invest much in her as a character. As a result, this is only mildly entertaining as we wait, once again, for the Bannerman Road gang to reconvene at a factory and get everyone to play nice.
The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 48: Sky – Part One (3/10/2011)
‘She is no child. She is a weapon.’ The Sarah Jane Adventures return for a final, curtailed season that was broadcast after the death of Elisabeth Sladen. This casts a shadow across these episodes, although none of that’s evident either in the script, which sets this up as a fresh start for the team, or in Sladen’s performance, which is as energetic as ever. She’s joined again by Rani and Clyde, and Mr Smith.
The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 47: Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith – Part Two (16/11/2010)
‘This is where the adventure ends.’ While it still has inadvertently upsetting elements (particularly Sarah Jane’s farewell video), this largely focuses on Ruby executing her plan. Julie Graham is superb, oozing insincerity as she comforts Rani and condemns Clyde to a death in space. It’s the kind of existential crisis that demands the entire team come together – and sure enough, Luke and K9 return to help take down Ruby (Luke now rocking a cool Freshers hairdo and scarf). Even Gita gets a redemptive moment, as she shores up Rani’s belief in Sarah Jane at the crucial moment. If only they’d somehow found a way to crowbar in Kelsey (and I guess Maria), this would be The Sarah Jane Adventures’ own Stolen Earth.
The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 46: Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith – Part One (15/11/2010)
‘I’m over, my story is finished. But this planet, it needs someone to protect it. Are you that person?’ Through no fault of the writers, this is a very hard watch indeed. Seeing Sarah Jane being told, ‘You are very ill indeed’ and watching her deteriorate, knowing what’s just around the corner, pushes this beyond the unsettling intent, and makes it upsetting. It’s even worse because Sladen performs a fading Sarah, losing her memories (even K9) and her sense of self, predictably well. Real life has made this all too real.
The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 45: Lost in Time – Part Two (9/11/2010)
‘The sands of time have run out, Captain. They have failed in their missions, all is lost.’ The only downside of telling three stories in one is that each is necessarily slight on plot – but not on adventure or character. Rani foils the assassination attempt on Jane. Clyde confounds the Nazis. Sarah Jane and Emily work out a way to rescue the doomed children across the centuries. The last-minute complication of a missing piece of chronosteel is resolved by Emily’s granddaughter, and the Earth is saved.
The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 44: Lost in Time – Part One (8/11/2010)
‘I need your help to save the world. Time itself is under threat.’ This is different: the team scattered through time on their own mini-Key to Time quest. The Key, in this case, is a magic metal chronosteel but to all other intents and purposes, including being disguised as different objects and its power to re-shape destiny, it might as well be the crystal cube Tom and Mary had to put together in 1979. It even has its own version of the White Guardian, dressed like a genial shopkeeper.