Here’s a show that’s immensely frustrating to review. No matter how tied it is to the current series of Doctor Who, there’s no getting around the fact that its target audience is pre-teen and younger, and that’s a demographic of which I’m simply not a part. Nor do I have a kid that age in the house to gauge a reaction through. I’m pretty sure that if the show had existed when I was 10, I’d have thought it was incredible. But I am, as they say, pushing 40, and so to appreciate it I’ve got to be awfully forgiving, or maybe understanding is a better word. This isn’t like a Pixar movie (or even Doctor Who, for that matter), where the material is operating on several levels. Nope, this thing is made for kids.
If you’re unfamiliar with the show, it details the exploits of the Doctor’s old companion Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), her adopted, genetically-engineered-by-an-alien race son, Luke (Tommy Knight), and two other teenagers – Clyde (Daniel Anthony) and Rani (Anjli Mohindra) – who come along for the adventures, which typically involve some kind of alien invading Sarah Jane’s suburban neighborhood. By this point in her life, Sarah’s got all kinds of cool gadgets, including sonic lipstick, a super-computer called Mr. Smith, and occasionally the robot dog K-9. When it comes to fighting aliens, she knows far more than the average human, so she’s pretty well equipped to deal.
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