TV Review: The Sarah Jane Adventures – Season 3

A third season of Sarah Jane and in a Doctor Who light year how did it fair?

The acting of the regulars was of the normal quality which is to say 99% better than most child acting or acting for children but not at the peak. Some of the guest stars did have a tendency to go all ‘play away’ (surprisingly not Floella Benjamin reappearing as Professor Rivers of the Pharos Institute.)

The scripts where enjoyable.

The ‘Prisoner of Judoon’ saw Judge Dredd wannabe Rhinos in their proper place as comedy little hitlers and Liz Sladen doing a lovely bit of possessed by evil acting (Bill Shatner would approve.)

‘The Mad Woman in the Attic’ nicely played with time concepts though the once you discovered the threat it wasn’t really much of a threat. The wide smiling red faced alien also was scarily reminiscent of a false tanned relative so scary for all the wrong reasons. That aside it was nice to have a positive ending to a story that started so bleak.

‘The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith’ was terrific. A lovely Sapphire and Steel concept, the return of a old enemy, the Doctor and a credible, emotionally true dealing with a single parent figure finding love as shown through the three kids reactions.  I am still disappointed the new Who crowd deny Sarah Janes Liverpool origins – where the old Scouse relatives turning up as the reception and asking the Bride where the bar was?  (I mean come on that ‘Gerroff!’ in the Time Warrior is definitive proof SJS is a Scouser.)

‘The Eternity Trap’ was a well done ghost story only let down by an ending which was bleak but played so matter of fact that it seemed to tear up all that had gone before. A strong story but just so undermined by that ending that it becomes the bottom of the pile. I thinks Sarah Jane should have been able to find another way – this is the Sarah Jane Adventures not ‘Torchwood: Children of Earth.’

‘Mona Lisa’s Revenge’ was a good fun story. The Mona Lisa was having terrific fun going all ‘Rentaghost’ with her acting which undermined it a little bit. The only other weak point was I thought we saw too much of the abomination – less would have been more. There however big points for avoiding the tentacles I love my Lovecraft but it’s getting used to much these days.

‘The Gift’ featured a recurring and contentious villain. To be fair however I think in SJS the Slitheen and any other Raxacoricofallapitorians; may have found their proper home. The story had elements of the ‘Claws of Axos’ and ‘The Seeds of Doom’ which worked well. I was a little disappointed that the ecological threat of an alien foodstuff was fully considered before it manifested. It also had a surprisingly explosive ending.

In short amongst the Doctor Who family of programmes SJS has performed well. While eclipsed by ‘Children of Men’ it was for me on a par with ‘Planet of the Dead’ and avoided the disappointment of ‘Waters of Mars.’ Here is hoping Season 4 gets greenlit.

GS Reviewer: Andrew

One comment

  1. I liked the reference in the ‘Eternity Trap’ to the Nigel Kneale 1970’s Stone Tape like it was a matter of fact.

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