The Sarah Jane Adventures continues to impress with good stories, but I’m noticing trends that I probably missed the first time around because of the time between waiting to watch the episodes. Now I’m watching one right after the other so no delay means I notice more. For instance, this season has had three stories so far and in the first, The Last Sontaran uses mind control on the scientist. Then in Day of the Clown, Odd Bob controls the kids with more mind control. Now Trueman uses mind control to take over the world in Secrets of the Stars.
I like that this show attempts to tackle some hard themes, like feeling different, which Luke goes through when he realizes he has no birthday. His feeling of alienation is dispelled when it’s his differences that save the day. It’s a good message for kids who feel different, but in the universe of Doctor Who, how strange would be be? For Earth, sure, Luke would be an oddity, but for the universe? I’d say not that different. Now, the Ancient Lights comes to Earth first, because why not but the premise is that they will take over Earth first and then make their way to all other planets. What we have going for us is that these Ancient Lights appear to come from a universe before ours, so it (they?) may not understand what to expect. I love the idea of a universe that existed before ours (remember The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit). Beyond the implications in Doctor Who, there’s a very Lovecraftian influence with beings that might exist from before the creation of our universe and that’s both wonderful and terrifying.
And as for great ideas, the episode has a few. I love that Draconia is mentioned because, like actor Jon Pertwee, I always loved the Draconians and the mention of their homeworld let’s us know they’ve not been forgotten. I also think the name Trueman is a good one for the villain of the piece. Ironically he remains true to himself even when Sarah Jane tries to convince him not to do what he’s doing. In the end, he even accepts dying rather than go back to “being a nobody”. So, though he’s a bad guy, he actually remains true to himself right up until the end. And then there’s Gita, the new comedy character, who still can’t get Sarah Jane’s name right, although gone are the random replacement names Chrissy used to cook up.
One other thing I’ve noticed repeating is the villain’s end. When Graham was defeated in last weeks episode… I mean, Odd Bob… he doesn’t even try to stop Sarah Jane. Doesn’t reach out to steal the piece of meteorite… nothing. Ok, I accept that; maybe he didn’t know what to do. But when Martin Trueman is defeated here, he reacts the same way. It started so well too: “you flicked a switch”, as if to say, how do you think a light switch could save you. But when the good guys win, he doesn’t even raise a finger again. What’s up with these villains? These must be the polite villains that don’t show up in Doctor Who; upon defeat they have to sit back and accept! Very polite indeed. And we also get another lackluster cliffhanger with part one: Mr. Smith goes nuts saying “nothing is happening” more times than Xoanon complained about identity…
Still, this show knows its audience and the target is a young one, and we only have 2 parts to make it work, and so far, three stories into season two, I can’t complain too much. Could the stories be enhanced? Sure. But are these showstoppers? Absolutely not. And this one had flashbacks to the Doctor! How wonderful is that. Now if only we had a crossover, huh? Lis Sladen is always great to watch and I’m glad the gang that works with her is as strong as they are, too. Well, half way through season 2. Let’s keep going… ML