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Pretty good return to our screens for the Sarah Jane gang

This series is aimed at children, but a lot of adults will watch it too, because of its Doctor Who connection. The series has moved on from the previous two years as Sarah and her team now seem established, after the initial hiccups of losing Kelsey and then Maria. Daniel Anthony's Clyde in particular is a great boost to the show, because he is likeable as well as being the 'cool kid' in contrast to Luke's slight nerd. Anthony could so easily have made his character irritating, but he gets away with it (perhaps because he's much older than the role he's playing). Clyde gets to do a voiceover at the start of the show, and this is a good introduction for new viewers or a reminder to returnees... a further intro by Sarah features some nifty CGI, which is pretty well-handled throughout the episode (with one exception, a very unrealistic explosion crater in a building just didn't look right) and the pace never lets up throughout the whole half hour. The Rhino-headed Judoon seem like a good enemy to use from Doctor Who, because they're threatening and uncompromising. In common with stories featuring Slitheen and Sontarans, this also means this low-budget show can re-use old Doctor Who costumes and masks! But the main Judoon does seem a bit watered down here. The tough, 'shoot first and ask questions later' cops of Smith And Jones would have finished Sarah and her friends in five minutes, but this one is content to allow teenagers to cheek him, tell him what to do, and even lead him up the garden path. This could be excused because a) it's for children and b) there is an added element of comedy, but I do think they have been weakened by this story. The plot is fun and allows the reasonably easy-to-grasp concepts of nanotechnology and body occupation to drive a good story of kidnap and pursuit, just the way a good science fiction story ought to. Sarah actress Lis Sladen gets to play herself (which she can't fail at, having done it for thirty-five years) but excels in her portrayal of her possessed self. She's a good little actress and it's a shame she didn't enjoy more success outside this one role. As usual, Ace Bhatti and Mina Anwar provide a bit of comic relief as Rani's parents, although I can't understand why Sarah objects to her calling her just "Sarah", rather than "Sarah Jane". The Third Doctor used to call her Sarah all the time, and feel certain the fourth did on occasion too. Nevertheless, this series opener lived up to and slightly exceeded my expectations, and I am looking forward to episode 2!

He "turns away in shame."

Yes, he certainly would. Then again, the Doctor is usually anti-big wig, be they politicians, CEOs, military, or some other force he's always on the side of the little guy. As for the episode itself. I was crying most of the way through it, and I almost couldn't finish it for sheer disgust. I'm a political science major. I know that sometimes sacrifices must be made for the greater good of all. That's perfectly fine. However, when you cold heartedly plot out how to avoid getting the mucky fallout on yourself and onto others, well that just makes my stomach turn. I was really hoping that Frobisher's secretary would kill the Prime Minister. Hhowever, her revenge was much sweeter than that. As for why she had to take revenge. I didn't know that you could requisition a suicide/homicide kit from the British government; Requisition 31 good to remember. As for the hard hitting bits of the episode. I had to distance myself before I could even start writing this. I was in tears. I was disgusted. The fact that the 4-5-6 are simple drug users makes their interstellar (maybe intergalactic) evilness seem so human. It was chilling, and terrifying, and pushed home the point that no sentient is ever free from the danger of things like that - addiction and vice. It was a brilliantly done piece of work. It was frightening and moving, and terrifying. Watching the scenes where they take the kids, watching as Frobisher finds out that PM Greene is willing to sacrifice another's children (his kids) so casually and the terror in his face and voice made the scene heart-wrenching. Though I knew almost at once how it would end. Of the three series in the Doctor universe this one is the best done for acting and moving the audience. The Doctor has his moments, but he's so happy go lucky that they don't come often. This was three years in the making as Jack listed the dead at the end. If they must end Torchwood, do it here do it now. If they carry on, then they'll have to wait for another climax like this (which is hard to imagine) to kill it off again. Otherwise the series will look like the actresses past their prime trying to pull off the hottie in the piece, and failing miserably.

The Sarah Jane Adventures Review, by Robert Lloyd of Los Angeles Times

The new series semipermanently returns to the Whoniverse journalist Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen, who first played the character more than 30 years ago, traveling with Doctors number 3 and 4, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker, respectively). Like some other of the Doctor's "companions," Sarah Jane has been spoiled for other men by his Time Lordliness and for regular life by adventures in space and time. But since meeting him again (this time with the face of David Tennant, in the episode "School Reunion"), she has re-engaged the wider cosmos, providing extraterrestrials a more genteel Earthly greeting than is typically proffered over at "Torchwood," for not all aliens are created evil: "Some got lost. Some of them crash land. And some of them want to invade." Those are the ones that will be at issue here. In keeping with the youth-skew, the monsters are threatening but sort of comical, almost in a Sid & Marty Krofft mode; you can imagine them as plush toys. Of course, they are forced to masquerade as humans most of the time, much to their own annoyance. (The ill-fitting people suits tonight's aliens wear -- they're disguised as a school principal and a science teacher -- make them sound flatulent.) And yet their true forms are usually so cumbersome and slow moving and lacking in practical things like opposable thumbs you have to wonder how they managed to become technologically superior in the first place. To read the rest of this review, visit Los Angeles Times: The Sarah Jane Adventures