Sarah Jane Adventures, The: The Complete Fourth Season (DVD)
Former Doctor Who companion, Sarah Jane, and her team of youngsters are back for a fourth season of fighting aliens and solving mysteries! Created by former Doctor Who showrunner, Russell T Davies, this exciting action-adventure series follows the exploits of school friends Luke, Clyde and Rani, who team up with alien investigator Sarah Jane Smith and her trusty super-computer Mr. Smith to examine strange and mysterious events. The fourth series promises ever more thrills and spills. In two special episodes written by Russell T Davies, Sarah Jane is reunited with another of the Doctor's former companions, Jo Grant. They're joined by the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) in an alien-busting adventure featuring brand-new vulture aliens, the mysterious Shansheeth and a trip to an alien planet. The series also promises fun with enemies old and new, including the terrors of the Nightmare Man and a dangerous journey back into history.
Who will protect the Earth from invading aliens? In The Sarah Jane Adventures
, it's a sweet but canny middle-aged journalist, Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), and her three teenage sidekicks: brave and foolhardy Clyde (Daniel Anthony), kind and clever Rani (Anjli Mohindra), and earnest but alien-forged genius Luke (Tommy Knight), who is Sarah's adopted son. With an extraterrestrial supercomputer, a robot dog, and sonic lipstick, this quartet defends our blue planet from aliens of all colors, textures, and viscosity. Though some of the six episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Complete Fourth Season
seem like ideas that were pulled out of the Doctor Who
wastebasket (such as aliens that feed on dreams or excitement), others are unusually strong for this kid-centric spinoff. "The Vault of Secrets" owes a bit to The Matrix
for its flat-voiced men in black, but the zippy plot and the welcome return of the planet-killing Androvax and his darting reptilian tongue overcome such familiar elements. While "Death of the Doctor" may be a bit too concerned with mortality to appeal to its young target audience, the appearance of the current Doctor (Matt Smith) and a Doctor's companion from long ago (Katy Manning) give this episode an added punch for older fans. But the best of the season spotlights Clyde and Rani to great effect: the two teens wake to find themselves in an eerie empty London. The relationship between the two, with its underlying attraction and reluctance, is well played by Anthony and Mohindra and provides a richness of character often lacking from this show. Even though the episode delves into adolescence and emotional confusion, it takes the show a step beyond TV for kids. --Bret Fetzer