Sarah Jane Adventures: The Last Sontaran
Hooray! My favourite franchise flavour is back.
I love The Sarah Jane Adventures. It may be a guilty pleasure ("Why are you setting a Sky series link for something on CBBC?" asks the wife, as if I've suddenly gone a little bit Langham), but I can't help myself; even if the fact that I have to set a series link in order to a capture a raw slice of Doctor Who while I'm still at work leaves me feeling old and miserable.
Honestly, the kids of today don't know how lucky they are. What economic crisis? It's wall-to-wall Doctor Who even when the show is supposed to be having a lie-down! We had to endure Dramarama and Rentaghost and those godawful Tomorrow People back when we were kids. Just imagine if we'd got The Further Adventures of Harry Sullivan or Romana in E-Space. Or maybe even UNIT: The Series, which we would have watched on the stairs, through a crack in the door, because it was post-watershed and always featured some tits. Please insert your own joke here.
The yoof of today get continuity porn!
Seriously, the yoof of today even get continuity porn! Did we ever get that level of intertextuality in our tea-time telly? Did we f**k! Our 'playpen' consisted of the odd comic strip, the novelisations, some vaguely surreal annuals, those Viewmaster slides, a Gareth Hunt doll and some stories that literally unfolded on chocolate wrappers. Today's generation get multi-platform books (whatever the hell they are), spin-offs that seamlessly bleed into each other, podcasts, instant extras, action figures, trading cards, ringtones and lots of other stuff that I simply CAN'T KEEP UP WITH! But the really scary thing is this: if some of us grew up to be continuity obsessed freaks with only one programme and limited ephemera to keep up with, how on earth will the next generation turn out? It's a scary thought.
But what of the episode itself, I hear you sigh.
Phil Ford's script was... well, for starters, was it Phil Ford's script? I just don't know anymore; I'm still reeling from that section in The Writer's Tale where Russell re-writes James Moran's opening to The Fires of Pompeii and approximately 2 lines out of 30 survive. God knows what happens when you actually co-write a script with him. Perhaps you get the odd "the" and a couple of ...'s. If you're lucky. And if you have any doubts about Russell's involvement in this story, a character actually utters the immortal line "Let's go down to Goblin's Copse". 'Nuff said.
But whoever was responsible, this was great fun. Sladen is becoming more and more Doctorish with every passing episode and her stand-off with Kaagh was delightful. The only kiss to the past that was sorely missing was a shot of her wobbling thorax as she gasped "Linx!" Oh well.
The kids are alright, too. Young Martin Fowler is still as adorable as ever, and while Clyde's banter occassionally threatens to undermine any menace (his japes will end in tears one of these days) he always manages to steal every scene he's in. Even Mr Smith's new personality (he finally has one) bodes well for the future.
But poor Maria Jackson. It must have been a bloody good job offer, that's all I can say. Perhaps the tax breaks and health care cover were more appealing than the chance to save the world once a week whilst encountering alien lifeforms. I mean, has he never heard of a mid-life crisis? What better tonic than fighting evil every once in a while. Sadly, Maria will be happily chatting with Luke on MSN when he'll have to leave her in the lurch as he pops off to tackle some Sycorax. How gutting is that going to be? Mr Jackson, you are a selfish bastard.