So we left Sarah Jane Smith being all sexy/evil (one and the same in my book) having primed Mr Smith to explode with the rest of Bannerman Road and her little gang ready to perish. I don’t think I need to use spoiler tags to tell you that they get out of that scrape but bat-eared fans will want to listen carefully to some info that the Xylok computer dishes out in the aftermath regarding a certain base in Arizona…
Elisabeth Sladen spends much of the concluding part to Prisoner Of The Judoon under the influence, which turns her into a rather coquettish oddity who sounds in dire need of a lozenge or two. The alien in question, Androvax (“Destroyer of Worlds”, apparently, though one does wonder how exactly), doesn’t get much screen time but is a memorable addition to the ‘monsters’ in The Sarah Jane Adventures – especially his creepy voice and unnerving threat to SJ as he exits with the Judoon.
The Shadow Proclamation’s ‘finest’ come off as slightly comical again with Tybo sticking rigidly to the rules. Even, most amusingly, in a car park – he just has to pay and display! There are more laughs in the shape of a neat old-fashioned slapstick corridor sequence and Rani’s parents get a look-in too (though I still miss Alan “You, you…Trickster!” Jackson and his lurvely missus. Sniff).
From a production stance, this opener is a step-up from the previous two series being filmed in glorious High Definition (check out the simulcast on the BBC HD channel). But there’s also a renewed confidence in the direction (although non-fans of the ‘shaky cam’ may want to avert their gaze) and the cast portray the drama with conviction and deliver the gags with flair.
If there is a problem, it’s that Prisoner Of The Judoon lacks much originality, though you’ll be having so much fun you’ll hardly care.
And, after having watched the ‘Next Time’ preview for The Mad Woman In The Attic, it looks like The Sarah Jane Adventures is about to get chill-filled in Hitchcockian style. Cannot wait!
Read our review of Part One here.