Sarah Jane Adventures : Prisoner of the Judoon
We begin the third series of the Sarah Jane Adventure with a nice little pre credit montage narrated by Clyde which basically reiterates what the series is about in case there were any new viewers who hadn’t seen any of the previous two seasons which also happens at the start of the second episode so it is looking like this will be on the start of each episode this year, a bit like the Captain Jack narration at the start of each Torchwood episode if you like.
Prisoner of the Judoon gets going immediately and soon develops into a cat and mouse chase that could very well end in tragedy. We meet the Judoon again in this story and there is a nice scene when the Judoon pulls up in a police car that it has requisitioned and tells a youth to turn his music down. I think that there should be a Judoon on the streets in every town in Britain to stop all of these people from playing their music really loud and being totally antisocial.
We also get to meet an entirely new alien being, Androvax, the prisoner of the title, who can, literally, live inside the body of another creature, seemingly without causing any harm to the creature, and take over them, who is also responsible for the deaths of entire worlds, so not an alien coming in peace. Quite a neat little trick if you want to fool people into thinking you are not who people think you are and this alien certainly does not want to be captured by the Judoon again and almost certainly executed.
So the for quite a portion of this story Sarah Jane was incapacitated by Androvax and it was up to Luke, Clyde and Rani to save the day, which they did with aplomb despite the Judoon attempting to make it very difficult for them. I must say that the main Judoon, Captain Tybon, was not the most intelligent of Judoon as was fairly easily outwitted by children, which is bound not to go down well with other Judoons, not that he would stupid enough to tell other people how he ended up letting the Androvax escape in the first place, and then also be locked in a room.
We also got a secret research laboratory (which Sarah managed to get thrown out of earlier the same morning – convenient, or what, you decide?) which deals with nanotechnology, much beloved of science fiction, which Androvax became aware of from the moment he took over Sarah Jane’s body, and realised what a convenient way that would be to escape from the Judoon and leave no trace of him ever being there. Of course he didn’t reckon on the tenacity of three kids who had saved the world on lot of other occasions.
It did seem a bit odd that Luke, Rani and Clyde managed to get from the crash site, all the way to the nanotech headquarters via Bannerman Road without seeing anybody except for the youth playing his music loud I mentioned earlier, and a young girl and her mother. I mean it was supposed to be a weekend and there seemed to be nobody about, which often seems to happen in this sort of program, strange things happen but no one is ever around to witness them.
Perhaps there was something exciting on television when the events in this episode happened, or perhaps a sale somewhere. Nothwithstanding that little gripe (which let’s face it, the key audience of this programme is not really going to be bothered about, or even notice) I was mightily impressed with these opening episode and in particular Elisabeth Sladen for her really good performance as Androvax in the body of Sarah Jane, which did take this viewer back to a previous possessed form of Sarah Jane from her final appearance in the original series of Doctor Who, The Hand of Fear.
Rani is certainly improved as a character in this story and is now giving as good as she gets and is often found to square up to the aliens without so much as a blink, which is certainly not something Maria did, or even Rani herself when she first appeared. Rani is a bit more like Rose Tyler from the second series of Doctor Who in that respect, feisty and more than able to look after herself, which is certainly going to appeal to the young female viewers of this show, but not half as smug and annoying as Rose was then.
I cannot hesitate but to say that this has been the best opening episodes of the three Sarah Jane Adventures so far, it is just so assured and spot on and it almost like they have never been away. Of course, in my case, I only saw the last episode of the second series the other day, so for me they haven’t really been away, but you know what I mean.