Running Up That Hill

The Sarah Jane Adventures: Warriors of Kudlak

We were always told as kids and today that playing too many video games and the like could be hazardous for our health and in this episode that is taken to its logical conclusion as adept players at a laser tag game are being recruited to an interplantery war between old, old foes.

Now I have never played laser tag (it was called Laser Quest when I was a kid), or anything else like that but I can see why it is quite popular even when some people would play it only as an aid to pick up girls. Of course in this episode it is the two lads who get themselves into trouble only for the two girls to come in and rescue them.

Once again Luke shows that he is not just an average, nerdy kid by managing to hack into the onboard computer of an alien vessel. Clyde was quite funny especially in the second episode when he was so obviously trying to impress the girl, Jen, when they were on the Yuvodni spaceship, bigging himself up and basically calling Luke a bit of a nerdy geek, hoping that this would impress a girl by being a jack the lad type.

Unfortunately for Clyde this didn’t work and it was Luke who got a kiss off the girl in the end. The problem is now that poor old Clyde is going to have to have Luke asking him endless questions about girls, the kind of things they like and even how to pull them. Why doesn’t he just ask Maria? She is after all a girl and far more qualified on the subject that Clyde and most teenage lads.

There was a nice effects shot in the second episode of the Earth from the Yuvodni spaceship and then the pull back shot from the window of the spacecraft to show the entirety of the spaceship which was a little bit like the shot in the opening titles of some Babylon 5 series. That single shot alone would probably have blown the budgets of most CBBC dramas and also every episode of The Chuckle Brothers combined!

I also liked the twist at the end where Mr Kudlak just laid down his arms and gave himself up to Sarah Jane after realising he had been duped by a computer programme that just didn’t want the war to end. That gives Mr Kudlak a bit more depth than would normally be afforded to the baddies in a children’s drama and also makes you realise that he wasn’t really a bad sort he was just a solider obeying orders.

If anything the true villain of the piece was the slimy Mr Chadwick who was a fun part and the actor who played him was obviously having a whale of a time playing the part.

Lis Sladen was as good as ever here and she was really quite commanding when she walked straight onto the bridge of the Yuvodni ship and demanded her son back.

I am not too sure about the need for the character of Mr Smith, who is just basically like K9 but not as portable, and with the voice of Alexander Armstrong rather than John Leeson. They do seem to use Mr Smith sparingly, and then only when they need to know what they are up against, so perhaps he is useful as a plot device to explain to the audience all the technical stuff and give them an idea who they are up against, as Sarah is only human after all.

I really enjoyed Warrior of Kudlak it was a fun story, directed with panache by Charles Martin and did not talk down to the children in the audience about the futility, and violence, of war, which was a fairly serious subtext for a children’s television series.

This series is getting better by the story and it would be a great shame if it didn’t get renewed for a second series.

Originally posted on Nov 05, 2007

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