November 28, 2023

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

The Sarah Jane Adventures “The Man Who Never Was Part 2”

Sarah Jane's last adventure unfolds in a way only her show could.

Well, here we are at the end of this rather delightful series.  It’s an end I knew was coming, and yet I still can feel a bit of…something for how nothing else will come of this fun little show even if its discontinuation was done for a very good reason.

I mean, what else can I say about this show?  As endings go, it certainly wasn’t planned, but it did work.  The real enemy turned out to be plain old human greed as the Jawas (or Skullions as they may actually be called but I prefer “Jawas”) are being used as slave labor by that nasty sidekick guy using them to run the Joseph Serf hologram in order to hypnotize people into buying an at-best so-so computer.

It doesn’t work, not because of Sarah Jane, but because of the kids.  Sky and Luke figure out how to send a message to Mr. Smith with the dog whistle Luke made for K9, and from there, Clyde and Rani can infiltrate the press conference by posing as a pair of husband-and-wife journalists.  The group gets some help from the young woman custodian that got grabbed in the beginning of Part 1–turns out she wants to help the aliens, so she’s OK–Luke and Sky use the hologram to ruin the bad guy’s plans, and a spaceship comes to rescue the slaves on the roof, inadvertently taking the villain with them.  Sarah Jane even gives the custodian a UNIT business card and a promise to make sure she gets a job there since she clearly has the sort of mindset Sarah Jane approves of.  There’s some small scenes involving Luke and Sky back at the house, and then the episode ends with a montage of clips from the series, a couple that actually came from Doctor Who, and some voiceover work Elisabeth Sladen recorded for an earlier episode.  The end there, clearly a set-up to act as a send-off for Sladen is maybe nothing spectacular, but as something that may have been put together after a death that was probably unexpected, it mostly works.

And, for what it is worth, there is a “reunion” episode of sorts that’s on YouTube.  It’s short, mostly shows some actor I don’t recognize reading a story about Sarah Jane’s funeral, apparently attended by a number of former companions to the Doctor.  There’s talk that the Trickster made one final attempt to cause trouble, but there were enough friends to either Sarah Jane or the Doctor there to take care of that guy.  What other actors do appear seem to be appearing on smartphone footage, so it was probably put together during the pandemic.  Sky, we’re told, went home to her own people, so no sign of her.  Jo Grant explains why the Doctor was absent (something about how it would have broken both his hearts to go to that particular funeral).  Ace is there for some reason long enough to offer words of comfort and apparently she’s getting custody of K9.  Rani, Clyde, and Luke all offer tribute words before shutting Mr. Smith down…not sure why Mr. Smith needs to be shut down or why Ace gets K9 since outside of that weird 3D anniversary special I don’t think Ace ever even met K9, but there it is.  Luke even mentions he has a boyfriend, something the series was clearly hinting at but never got around to saying.

And that’s the end.

So, what to make of this show?  Well, unlike other Doctor Who spin-offs I could name, there was always a good level of quality to The Sarah Jane Adventures.  Yeah, it was often simplistic, but it was aimed at younger viewers, and there’s a certain amount of old school charm to this series, something that reminded me more of the original incarnation of the parent show than the series it actually spun off from.  True, Sarah Jane’s own actions rarely saved the day, but it was a kids show, so let the kids do most of the saving.  This show was silly when it needed to be, imaginative, and generally fun.  Far from great television, it was at least enjoyable.  And now I’m finished with it.

8.5 out of 10 ever-present aliens causing problems.

Well, speaking of the final batch of episodes from a Doctor Who spin-off, I figure it might also be time to go through the last episodes of the one that went the opposite direction when it came to being family friendly:  Torchwood.  The last I saw of that show, it seemed to have more or less wrapped everything up in what would have been a great series finale.  Instead…it came back a couple years later for another ten episodes that appear to be have been co-produced by American cable network Starz.

Well, bringing back a show with a satisfying conclusion and partnering with a network from another country…that can’t possibly cause problems.  I mean, it might be good, but there’s only one way to find out.