Category: The Sarah Jane Adventures

The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 14: The Day of the Clown – Part One (6/10/2008)

‘I see clowns that don’t exist.’ Stephen King’s IT reimagined for a family audience, but there’s enough to make the parallel undeniable (the children being kidnapped; the sinister floating balloon; the clown’s ability to change shape; the old pictures and woodcuts depicting it through history; its identity as ‘Odd Bob’ which echoes Pennywise’s name Bob Gray; Clyde, as the ‘joker in the pack’ referencing the wolfman – the monster that menaced the similarly jokey Richie).

Continue reading

The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 13: The Last Sontaran – Part Two (29/9/2008)

‘Try my size fives, Humpty.’ As usual in The Sarah Jane Adventures the pay-off involves a lot more running about than the set-up. For the CBBC audience I think that’s absolutely fair enough, but it does make it a bit more difficult to find things to talk about. Instead, my mind wanders to vague inconsistencies like why Kaagh with his high-gravity musculature can’t force open a door that the kids have just closed (or why he doesn’t just blast it open with the gun he’s just been liberally firing). There is one surprise: Lucy Skinner turns out not to be Maria’s replacement – with her warring parents and her science skills (and Clare Thomas’ CBBC acting credits), it looks like that’s the direction the show is taking.

Continue reading

The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 12: The Last Sontaran – Part One (29/9/2008)

‘I met your people a long time ago. And some time off yet.’ What a great idea: pitting Sarah Jane against her first enemy and connecting it to the year’s big Doctor Who UNIT epic, ticking boxes for both old and new series fans. The call backs to The Time Warrior (including the crashed Sontaran sphere that needs to be repaired, and Sarah Jane revealing Kaagh like the third Doctor using his rhondium sensor) are very pleasing. But equally, this makes good use of repurposed footage from The Sontaran Stratagem.

Continue reading

Doctor Who episode 766: Journey’s End (5/7/2008)

‘This is my final victory, Doctor. I have shown you yourself.’ The cliffhanger resolution sets the tone for the episode. The Doctor regenerating into himself is a neat trick that cleverly avoids having to deliver on the implication of the previous episode. And all the way through, RTD pulls off similar feints: ‘Everlasting death for the most faithful companion’ becomes “Donna gets a mind wipe”; Rose is reunited with the Doctor forever – except it’s a meta-crisis duplicate. The Children of Time come together at the end, only to stand around and watch while the Doctor/Donna saves the day. There’s something vaguely unsatisfactory about this – not exactly the audience being cheated, but being given less than expected.

Continue reading

Doctor Who episode 765: The Stolen Earth (28/6/2008)

‘Someone tried to move the Earth once before, a long time ago…’ The closest Doctor Who has come to one of the Marvel Avengers movies, as the ‘Children of Time’ assemble. At the time, this was true event television – possibly the last time my whole family watched TV together. Even my mum, permanently sniffy about the series, was drawn in. Years later, it’s easy to pick flaws with this. The TARDIS zipping about gives an illusion of movement that’s not really present in the script, which unfolds as a series of scenes on the guest stars’ stock sets: Sarah Jane in her attic, Torchwood in the Hub. Martha at least gets to teleport from New York to her mother’s front room, but this is a way from the vertical chases of Army of Ghosts, or the thriller elements of The Sound of Drums.

Continue reading

The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 11: The Lost Boy – Part Two (19/11/2007)

‘It’s Only Fools and Horses with green skin and claws.’ This is, in the end, very mildly disappointing. Partly it’s because a lot of the things that made Part One so effective, like Luke’s “parents” and Clyde’s investigations, get dropped in favour of a race against time to stop the Moon crashing into the Earth – just like the race against time to stop a meteor crashing into the Earth a fortnight ago. Which then calls into question why Mr Smith didn’t just “fail” to blow up that meteor rather than concocting this very convoluted plot.

Continue reading

The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 10: The Lost Boy – Part One (12/11/2007)

‘It seems you’ve got powerful friends, Miss Smith.’ This one definitely has an end-of-season-finale quality to it, which is quite impressive for a CBBC show. Maria coming clean to her dad about her involvement in Sarah Jane’s adventures is a neat recap of events in Series One to make sure that anyone who missed it knows about the Slitheen. The opening suggests the story is going to go in one direction, with Alan reacting badly to learning his daughter’s battling monsters and aliens, but pretty quickly it turns into a different kind of parent trap as Luke’s “real” parents make a tearful appeal on TV and Sarah Jane’s new life is upended.

Continue reading

The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 9: Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane – Part Two (5/11/2007)

‘A friend of mine just saved the world. Her name was Andrea Yates.’ Doctor Who will tell a similar story with more bells and whistles in Turn Left – the world’s fate again hinging on the decision of a ginger. This is an astonishing piece of kid’s television, taking the old City at the Edge of Forever story and making the victim herself the one to make the decision.

Continue reading

The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 8: Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane – Part One (29/10/2007)

‘Sarah Jane Smith, 13, died after falling from the edge of Westport Pier yesterday in a tragic accident.’ Here’s a thing: a Sarah Jane lite episode, with Maria taking the lead with minimal support from the other regulars. True, Jane Asher is on hand as Sarah Jane’s replacement Andrea Yates (should have called her April Walker), but Andrea is a very different proposition to Sarah Jane, and with even Alan unable to remember a world where Sarah Jane lives at Bannerman Road, Yasmin Paige is front and centre.

Continue reading

The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 7: Warriors of Kudlak – Part Two (22/10/2007)

‘It’s always the innocents that suffer.’ This feels a bit less toned down than the previous episode, with Sarah Jane darkly hinting at what happens to men like Grantham in prison, and an eleventh-hour twist that reveals the real monster is the military-industrial complex (or something like that). It’s also nice to see the series spread its wings a bit with a trip into Earth’s orbit for the team. The show continues to be engaging and fun kid’s TV.

Continue reading