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Jan 02, 2007

THAT'S The Way To Do It!

Hi all, first post here, so be gentle... Well, gentle-ish.

So, this is 2007... To be honest, it's feeling suspiciously like 2006 at the moment; So much so, infact, that I'd be convinced the New Year was still to come, if it wasn't for the Sycorax Leader staring at me from January's page on the 2006 calendar, and the debut of Doctor Who spinoff 'The Sarah Jane Adventures'.

For those who didn't see it, the show is a disturbing insight into the darker aspects of Doctor Who fandom. Elisabeth Sladen plays a male Doctor Who fan trapped in a surprisingly shapely female body given that it's just the wrong side of middle age, and she's saddled with many character traits that will seem familiar to most- Doctor Who merchandise strewn all over the house, she believes she can communicate with aliens, and at the beginning of the episode her only friends seem to be the remote-controlled K9 she got for Christmas, and her computer.

The story itself was a fairly basic and unsettling one; Over the course of the hour, the aforementioned Doctor Who fan discovered that she was able to fill the void in her life by spending large amounts of time with children, culminating in a charming little scene where she asks one of them to disrobe in her living room.

The above is the sort of thing I'd be writing about The Sarah Jane Adventures (or 'Invasion of the Bane') if I were cynical. Or rather, if I were a cynical bastard who hadn't spent the last ten weeks enduring the gun-waving, mouth-shouting, date-raping train wreck that's been lurking in the depths of Cardiff Bay since October. As it is, seeing how bad a Doctor Who spinoff can be (and I've watched K9 and Company) softened me up quite a bit for TSJA; As a result, I really quite liked it.

Alright, so it wasn't perfect- There were a few moments where it was just a little bit too CBBC, and if the actress playing Kelsey is asked back to Cardiff to film the ten episodes of the series proper, I'll be rather disappointed- but overall, it was an enjoyable way to spend an hour, much in the same way as the recent 'Runaway Bride' was. It hit all of the right notes- A good old-fashioned Doctor Who alien race led by a formidable figurehead for the Doctor/SJS to have a proper battle of wits against, a lot of running around through corridors, and a subtle but effective dose of nostalgia (Though I found it slightly odd that there were no pictures of Tom or Pertwee among those on her walls).

The show was remarkably well-paced, building up the mystery whilst being sure to punctuate events with frequent action sequences, and any worries that Elisabeth Sladen wouldn't be able to carry a series without K9 were thrown out of the window; It was completely and utterly our Sarah-Jane Smith, and this was perhaps the closest we've gotten to the old Sarah since 'The Hand of Fear' all those years ago. That said, I'll be more than happy if Bob Baker finally decides to drop the Adventures of K-Aibo cartoon so that our K9 can make his way out of the Satan Pit...

Yes, this is how Doctor Who spinoffs should be done. Speaking of which, I'd better be off now- My girlfriend has a theory that eating Ben and Jerry's whilst watching 'Torchwood' fills the emotional void left by the shoddy plotting and gross lack of characterisation. And my freezer's empty.


Good to have you with us. I agree with your sentiments wholeheartedly, and I would have posted earlier only for some reason my post doesn't want to go any higher than draft.

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Doctor Who: Series One
Doctor Who: Series Two
Doctor Who: Series Three
Torchwood: Series One
Torchwood: Series Two
The Sarah Jane Adventures: Series One
The Eighth Doctor BBC7 Audios
The Eighth Doctor Novels
The Tenth Doctor Novels
Stripped Down Series 1
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Stripped Down Series 3
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