Review: The Sarah Jane Adventures 2×7

A touch of the blue meanies


Watch the pretty thing swing back and forth while Sarah Jane’s on holiday – but after the jump to avoid spoilers…

Sarah Jane goes on holiday, leaving Luke, Clyde and Rani all alone to look after the mysteries of the universe. Wouldn’t you know it – a shiny locket turns up. It glows blue and gives the wearer the ability to order everyone about – as well as a natty blue hippy tattoo.

First Rani finds it, but since Mr Smith’s on holiday in MacGuffin-land, she’s none the wiser about where it comes from or how to get rid of it, so leaves it behind for Sarah Jane without so much as a note saying “Don’t wear this or else we’re all screwed.”

But then Clyde’s rubbish dad turns up. On the one hand, he’s a refreshing antidote to the rubbish mums/great dads of the SJA universe; on the other, chalk up yet another absentee, adulterous black dad to the overall Who universe. Daddy Clyde is dimly aware of basic German, aliens and Daleks and stuff, and realises that a lot of Sarah Jane’s trinkets could fetch a pretty penny on eBay. And being able to order everyone around is just neato.

At the end, Clyde’s dad decides that Rani’s dad should get some exercise and Clyde really should forget all about his friends – literally…

Was it any good?
Pretty pedestrian, but with some good moments. Joe Lidster, who’s done plenty of Torchwood work, here turns his hand to SJA. His best material involves character and there’s plenty of character work going on here, but most of it to not much effect. Rani just sort of wanders about. Luke puzzles about the linguistic gender intricacies of sleepovers.

Instead, it’s Clyde who finally gets a family, a returning dad, hobbies and more. It’s not really enough to make you like the loud-mouthed, dunderheaded nob, but it does at least fix a gaping hole in the SJA set-up.

When the various different character arcs do intersect, all the characters seem to do is argue. It seems you need Sarah Jane to keep Team Sarah Jane from dissolving into nothing but bickering.

Otherwise, it’s all a bit slow-moving and uninteresting – I suppose every generation needs its “be careful what you wish for/there’s no such thing as a free lunch/absolute power corrupts absolutely” story, purely so they never get any ambition, dreams or aspirations of their own and will be forever consigned to repeating “Do you want fries with that?”, but a more exciting, better-paced story would have been far more welcome.

Next week, Clyde’s dad turns blue. I’m assuming he’s not going to metamorphose into Papa Smurf.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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