Tuesday, 31 May 2016
The Sarah Jane Adventures, Season 3 (2009)
Re-watching The Sarah Jane Adventures, I am struck by how many changes the core cast had in the course of the show's comparatively short (54 episode) run. Sarah Jane obviously stays throughout, but her team of young assistants changes regularly. I noticed it here because Season Three is the only season where the core cast of the first and last episode are the same. Even the first season waits until the second story arc to introduce one of the team.
You can however see the writers making preparation for season four's cast changes during the course of the twelve episodes here. The cast members who will remain next season get more prominent roles in the latter episodes of this one, while the one who will depart has an arc about how they are growing up as a precursor to their departure to university in the next season.
Other than cast stability, what does season three have to offer us? Well, more of the younger-audience-friendly science fiction adventures it has served up before, frankly. The show continues to be Doctor Who's, younger, less self-important sibling. I suspect the relaxed, affable air of the show lets it get away with some hand-wavy resolutions that would probably irk me if they were used in the "grown up" program.
(Spoiler: hand-wavy solutions do get used in Doctor Who, and they do irk me there).
Another effect of the show's more relaxed style is that it can get away with some pretty goofy stuff. We've already seen aliens trying to take over the world with fizzy soda, and this season serves up the Mona Lisa threatening people with a ray gun. Yes, I do mean the painting.
For Whovians the big news about this season is probably the guest appearance by the Tenth Doctor in the story "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith". He's pretty fun here: and I say that as someone who is not generally a big fan of David Tennant's run after his first season.
Basically, what we've got here is another set of fun family-friendly SF adventure stories, featuring a fun cast of characters. If you're a science fiction fan and you don't mind that it's clearly pitched at a younger audience, you should check it out.