Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Until we meet again, Miss Smith.

Well, here goes. I've watched all episodes I give a damn about, and I have compile a list of the top 5 best and worst stories of Sarah Jane Adventures. Expect tears, laughs and "what the hell moments"... not that such reactions are foreign to my posts... Depending on the reactions through e-mail and comments I get from you guys, I may or may not compile a second list of best moments, but i digress.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith

Elisabeth Sladen passed away this April from Cancer, leaving half of Series 5 of The Sarah Jane Adventures unfinished. The last ever episode, The Man Who Never Was, aired last Monday. As unplanned as it was, it concluded the series and the character in the most perfect way imaginable, having Sarah Jane and the gang save a small group of aliens from exploitation from the iron grip of James Dreyfus. Watch as I look back on the most recent season, and look even further back at some of the series best moments...

Series 5 kicked off with Sky. It was saddening to see a new major character being introduced, knowing the series was coming to a close, but it was something I threw to the back of my mind. As it was the last series, I tried to appreciate this story as much as I could... but I didn't like it. I liked Sky, I liked the idea of a war shifting it's way to earth; but everything about this story seemed like a contrived coincidence. From Miss Myers mind control (which does sort of make sense, given she can control electricity and the mind is merely electrical impulses...), to the video game interface resolution. One thing I've always admired the series for was the way it didn't fall into the trap of having teenage hobbies becoming plot resolutions. A villain with super sensitive hearing wasn't introduced the week Clyde introduces Luke to heavy metal, for example. The resolution to this story was too convenient, too simple and far too effective.
Miss Myers...

If the circumstances were different, however, I wouldn't have been opposed to Miss Myers returning in the same manner as Mrs Wormwood, given their similarities; might even have given a bit of justification to her abilities, instead of them just being traits as the plot demands. It was a fun watch, but it didn't intrigue me in the same way as, say, The Nightmare Man or Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith did.

Incidentally, only in a kids show could a character scream "THE END IS NIGH!" in an entirely un-ironic way...

The Curse of Clyde Langer was a much stronger episode. Clyde's name is cursed by a totem pole called Hetocumtek, anyone who says or sees his full name suddenly feels an intense hatred for him. This allowed for some extreme scenery chewing in the first act, as characters spurn Clyde; followed by extreme emotion as Clyde finds himself on the street in act 2, and the others struggle against the curse. The acting was largely solid, I enjoyed how quickly Sky had become one of the gang, and all the little things like Clyde immediately realising something was wrong when Sarah Jane turned on him, and how, despite knowing she was controlled, he was genuinely hurt by Rani's attack. Nice touch with the whole "If the totem pole would fall back into the HANDS of man..."

However, other moments in the script really jarred with me. Clyde wouldn't have just left Ellie, especially without leaving a note, at least. There was so many other ways to seperate them: Sarah Jane could have teleported Clyde directly to the attic using Mr Smith, removing Clyde's decision to leave her; Ellie could have heard Clydes name when Sarah and Rani arrived, and he was forced to leave... The Night Dragon element felt really shoehorned, also. I wont even get into Hetocumtek, who was destroyed by a hug. A good story that explored a rather mature subject, but I never felt compelled to watch it again because it was so dark and depressing.

The Man Who Never Was, however, I have watched four times already. Partially because I intended to do a full review - I still might - but mostly because it was simply a fun, exciting story with plenty of re-watch value. It boasted an unusually Torchwood-esque philosophy of "Humans can be bastards", and the rather dark scenes involving the Light Sculptors and 'punishment' were emphasized with a strong case of mood whiplash compared to the hilarious interview scenes and moments like:
"Grab Harrisons P. E. N"
*Cut to clydes reaction...*
"Never been so glad to see a full stop!"

The ending was beautiful, though it did seem a little like it had just been stapled on. Though given the circumstances, it probably was! They did the best with what they had, and I think it did the job quite well.

I'll be back tomorrow, with a 'best of Sarah Jane' thing. Until then, enjoy this: