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
“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