Monday, 25 October 2010

Spare MIBs

The Sarah Jane Adventures Season 4
Episodes 3 & 4: The Vault of Secrets
Airdate: October 18th and 19th 2010.

Ok... second story of Season 4 of Sarah Jane is a solid chase-a-thon... one of those fast moving shows they do so well for kids with lots of action and comedy in equal measure.

It’s a sequel story to one from an earlier season with an alien life-form who jumps into and controls peoples bodies. Said alien is dying from the bite of a swamp snake he got on a prison planet and he has come to free his people who have been “put on ice” by Men In Black... yeah, actual Men In Black (that’s MIBs to you) tying in with all those 50s - 70s sightings but the difference being that they are portrayed here as androids with handy, detachable hands which allows them to turn the dead socket into some kind of laser pistol. Now the trouble with said alien, Androvax, is that he is also a notorious destroyer of worlds (hence the prison thing) and by turning on his ships stardrive, once he has gained access to the underground hanger which houses it and hundreds of other stray vessels, he will be destroying the earth as he rescues his species.

So there you go... a chase story with a handy moral dilemma at the end of it. Do you let him save the last members of his species but destroy earth in the process? Fortunately another, rather obviously set up, solution is found and the earth is saved once again.

Once this episode gets going its a good old rollicking chase story but the episode starts off more settled with a neat little reference to the old Doctor Who adventure Pyramids of Mars (which also starred Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane in it). Also there is an “on screen” video phone call from Luke who left two weeks ago. Hmmm... since I know now he’s supposed to be showing up later in the season, I’m beginning to wonder if the actor didn’t just need some time off to do other things.

That being said, the fast paced episode does well to, mostly, distract you from problems like this as the action really doesn’t let up... although I got a bit worried that the comedy is coming more to the foreground now. If they’re not careful it’s going to end up looking more like Rent-a-ghost than The Sarah Jane Adventures. Hope that trend doesn’t continue too long. Especially when we’ve got an appearance by The Doctor and the return of Katy Manning as Jo Grant to contend with... which airs today as of the time of writing this review (yeah, okay, so I caught up with this one on I-player... it was the first chance I had, give me a break here).

So... a short, sharp blog post for a short, pacey story. Next up... Jo Grant! Yay!

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