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26 December 2008 @ 03:54 pm
Enemy of the Bane  
You know sometimes a plot point becomes a cliche merely through over-use. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with it and there is no shame in using again sparingly especially in something written for a young audience who may well not have got to the stage of rolling their eyes and saying "I know how this one goes". Sometimes something is a cliche because it's a let out for lazy writing and you really need to be doing something special with it to make it work at all, even the first time someone encounters it.

The plot which runs "our motley bunch of heroes are tricked into stealing an ancient artifiact which the bad guy can then use to destroy the world" is both over-used and extremely poor. To get away with it you need, at the very least, some acknowledgment from the heroes that the world would never have been in danger in the first place if they weren't a bunch of arrogant, impulsive twats. Much like The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith this was a plot that might just have worked with a central figure who is young and inexperienced and learning the ropes but which really fails to work for Sarah Jane. Take her out of the picture and have Luke, Clyde and Rani struggling to resolve the situation on their own and I could have imagined the central plot point working, but like Temptation this just made Sarah look stupid and, frankly, didn't make the Brigadier look all that bright either.

Yes, I loved the re-appearance of the Brigadier. Shame he couldn't have been put to better use. The same goes for Samantha Bond's turn as Mrs Wormwood.

All in all this was a disappointing end to a fairly disappointing second season of the Sarah Jane Adventures. There were some good, well-judged performances but the central plot was a fairly content-free run-around built-on top of an SF cliche that should never have seen the light of day the first time it was rolled out. It had more to it than The Last Sontaran since it was at least trying to do something interesting with the Luke, Sarah Jane, Mrs Wormwood dynamic but that's the best that can be said for it.

It's a shame really because I think the line-up this year is stronger than last. Rani's greater independence and natural chemistry with Clyde make the central team dynamic more compelling than it was with Maria but, with the exception of Day of the Clown the plots have ranged from forgettable, to misjudged and that's a shame.
bunnbunn on December 26th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
I watched the pilot of this, and intended to watch the series, but somehow missed it. Is it worth catching up on?
lsellersfic: Sarahlsellersfic on December 26th, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)
Series one I enjoyed, though it also had a couple of mindless runaround episodes. Series two I've found disappointing (although there was one story I missed). It's Doctor Who for modern kids so it does depend a little on your capacity to enjoy, or at least put up with, comedy teachers and parents. The child actors are mostly good although Tommy Knight as Luke is the weakest of the core group and looks a bit wooden at times. Daniel Anthony as Clyde (who wasn't in the pilot) and Anjli Mohindra as Rani (series two only) are mostly very good. I thought series one mostly managed to avoid the plot problems that often irritate me in New Who but series two didn't even though I think it has a better line up of characters (though I preferred Maria's Dad to either of Rani's parents but Maria's Mum was hideous so...). If its randomly on, or you're looking for something to hire through LoveiFilm or some such, then Eye of the Gorgon, Whatever happened to Sarah Jane and The Lost Boy are all worth catching from the first series and Day of the Clown from the second.
bunnbunn on December 26th, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I think my tolerance of plot holes/failure to notice plot holes is probably greater than yours, so I'll give it a go.