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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > British TV > Sarah Jane Adventures: The Complete Fourth Season (2010/BBC DVD)

Sarah Jane Adventures: The Complete Fourth Season (2010/BBC DVD)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: B     Episodes: B+



Before her untimely passing in 2011, Elisabeth Sladen enjoyed an amazing second act reprising her role as Doctor Who’s erstwhile companion, Sarah Jane Smith.  The Sarah Jane Adventures chronicle her triumphant return to the role on the BBC.  After gifting Sarah with a refurbished robotic dog K9, the tenth Doctor (David Tenant) went on his way, leaving Sarah to do her part defending the Earth from alien infiltration.


Geared more towards a younger audience, Sarah Jane teams with three teenage companions of her own: courageous Clyde (Daniel Anthony), resourceful Rani (Anjli Mohindra), and her own adopted son, Luke (Tommy Knight), who possesses alien connections of his own.  By this Fourth Season, Luke and K9 depart for university, leaving Sarah Jane, Rani, and Clyde to tackle a number of new alien threats.  Of course, the trio does not go it totally on their own, getting help from Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor and fellow ex-companion Jo Grant (Katy Manning).


This set contains two discs totalling six stories.  We’ll provide a brief synopsis of each in turn:


“The Nightmare Man”:  A sinister psychic marauder stalks the dreams of Luke, Rani, and Clyde.  Meanwhile, Luke makes a fateful decision to begin the next phase of his life, and K9 goes with him.


“The Vault of Secrets”: Old enemies, body-jumping beings, and a creepy mental asylum highlight this story where Sarah Jane and co. help to save a race of aliens from total destruction.


“Death of the Doctor”: This two-part story features Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor and the return longtime companion Jo Grant (Katy Manning).  When the Doctor turns up dead, UNIT holds a funeral, but not all is as it seems.


“The Empty Planet”: Clyde and Rani run afoul of a misplaced alien ruler in the body of a teenager.  When they find themselves to be the last two human on Earth, they must solve the mystery and set things to rights.


“Lost In Time”: Scattered through different points in time by the mysterious Shopkeeper, Sarah Jane, Clyde, and Rani must each find a key piece of material that can help save the world.  The 16th century, WWII, and the Victorian era all provide adventure and danger for Sarah Jane and Co.


“Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith”: The Earth is threatened by Ruby, a powerful alien who seeks to take Sarah Jane’s place, but instead of battling aliens, she’ll aid them!  The trio perseveres, finally overcoming Ruby’s malign power, and in the end, Sarah Jane hands over the reigns to Rani, Clyde, and Luke.



“Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith” was the last episode filmed before Elisabeth’s Sladen’s passing, and it provides a nice bit of closure on her role as the principal character in the show.


This show provides Doctor Who fans who now have families with younger or even teenage children a great way to get into its long history.  Ms. Sladen’s effervescent nature and commitment to the role make the sometimes quirky plots hum like a fine-tuned lorry. When she passed away, the Doctor Who family and fans suffered a great loss, and this Final Season with her as the principal of her own show provides a fitting ending to a long and glorious career.



-   Scott Pyle  


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