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I had low expectations of this, assuming that because the pilot hadn't turned into a proper series, it must have been a bit rubbish. I saw the opening titles once, and they didn't help with that impression - Sarah Jane mainly looks like a zombie in them, and the tune is very silly (though in quite a cool way).

Actually, though, it's really great - a good mystery, a witty, pacey script, lots of Gothic staples, bonus Colin Jeavons and Elisabeth Sladen doing kung-fu! We finally get to meet her Aunt Lavinia, who reminds me enormously of the wonderful Professor Amelia Rumford from The Stones of Blood, and the overall set up of Sarah Jane finding herself in the middle of a community where everyone is clearly collaborating to conceal dark secrets from her rather reminded me of The Wicker Man, too.

Above all, though, it is very much a proto-Sarah Jane Adventures - so much so, that I found the SJA theme-tune going round my head as I watched. The biggest similarity is in Sarah Jane's side-kick, Brendan. He's not actually made by aliens, but he is incredibly geeky, taking extra O-levels, reading avidly and enthusiastically discussing the finer points of computer engineering with K-9. Even his speech patterns were rather like Luke's, and he proves himself to be of true Classic companion calibre by getting captured and almost sacrificed by a Satanic circle.

I've expressed my views on K-9 before, so I think we can take the fact that he is awesome as scientifically established. ;-) But he does enhance his own excellence here by engaging in shooty laser action to comic effect, attempting to sing 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas' and being blessedly free of battery issues throughout the story. It's a pity the message he brought from the Doctor showing that he has remembered Sarah and still cares about her had been forgotten all about by the time School Reunion was written, but I notice that Sarah's practice of driving around in the car with him propped on the back seat and looking between the two front seats is common to both, which is sweet.

All in all, excellent stuff, and quite surprisingly in keeping with K-9's original era for something in which JNT and Eric Saward were so closely involved. Who knows how it would have panned out if more had been made, but then again it hardly matters now, since we have The Sarah Jane Adventures anyway. It's just a pity K-9 has got lost along the way. :-(

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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
huskyteer
Jan. 31st, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
Yes, I wish there had been more K9 content in SJA. Mostly, of course, I wish I had a K9 of my very own.
strange_complex
Jan. 31st, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC)
I know - and knowing that the reason he isn't there is because they are cooking up another spin-off series which will clearly be terrible does not help at all. :-(
swisstone
Feb. 1st, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)
I've long been of the opinion that K-9 and Company might have done rather better had it been sold as an SJS series rather than a K-9 series. Though the fact that the transmitters cut out so that a lot of the country didn't see it didn't help.
strange_complex
Feb. 1st, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
Yes, you're probably right there - it would have signalled what the programme was doing more effectively, and probably done a better job of attracting an appreciative audience. Much as I love K-9, even I have to admit that giving him top billing probably put off a lot of people who would actually have enjoyed the show. Did you get to see it on first broadcast yourself, incidentally? And if so, can you remember what you thought of it?
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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