Saturday, January 21, 2017

TV Review: Sarah Jane Adventures- The Curse of Clyde Langer

Friendship has been an important factor in the Sarah Jane Adventures since it hit our screens in 2007 and while most of the focus has been on the happier side of things when it comes to friends, The Curse of Clyde Langer dips into what it would be like if all of your most trusted friends, even your own family, suddenly hated you and were forced by choice out of your daily life.

Besides the overall dramatic aspect brought about by this plot point the rest of the episode is really a mixed bag, we go from the interesting in fish raining from the sky to the ho-hum boring device of ancient Indian curses.

To be fair this is of course a children's programme and the plots will be simple and things that a child can easily grasp and comprehend.

I was not expecting a dictation on the modern evolution of politics here, but this was one aspect of the episode that might be lacking for the adults in the audience. But which might still delight the kiddie set.

What it lacks in maturity though it does make up for in good old fashion Human drama, with the curse making everyone who speaks Clyde's name instantly hate him and his presence.

 It is an oldie but a goodie as they say and considering this is the Sarah Jane Adventure's fifth series (Although sadly it's also the last after the passing of the series lead Elizabeth Sladen), the show has gotten neither stale nor has it become a victim of itself and it's own success, like Doctor Who at the end of Russell T Davies reign or Torchwood's Miracle Day after the resounding positive reaction to Torchwood's Children of Earth.

The supporting cast is also a strong point as Ellie makes a nice one off character for this adventure although with the name dropping about people disappearing due to the Night Dragon and Clyde not being able to find her due to her going into a truck with 'Night Dragon Haulage' on it's side, it is hard to tell if this would have been a future plot point had the fifth series continued on.

Acting was also a big selling point as every regular cast member seems to do a good job of  acting 'angry' and manipulated by the curse, and the reverse is true of Clyde Langer as well, who does an excellent job of looking confused and dumbfounded by the events that are occurring.

Laziness does seem to be apparent in the resolution of the curse, as it seems that an ancient alien that had a very clever motive and was far and away from the standard 'monster of the week' fare.

While not the best of the entire catalog of The Sarah Jane Adventures, The Curse of Clyde Langer was a decent episode and we have to be grateful that so much work on at least some of the fifth series was completed before Elizabeth Sladen passed because despite being sad to be saying goodbye to Sarah Jane Smith, at least we got to see our old friend a few more times before she left.

-Thomas Spychalski

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