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The Sarah Jane Adventures Season 4 DVD Review

The fourth season of “The Sarah Jane Adventures” is highly uneven.

The fourth season is somewhat of a departure from seasons 2 and 3 in that Luke ventures off to Oxford University while Sarah Jane, Clyde, Rani, and Mr. Smith take care of the alien biz at home. Luke, however, does still appear in a couple episodes fully.  Anyway, in these 6 two part serial adventures, expect to see stories about an evil force that causes nightmares, the return of Androvax, the villainous Shansheeth, Clyde and Rani alone on Earth with two robots stalking them, Sarah Jane, Clyde, and Rani being warped off to three different time periods, an evil “woman” named Ruby, and appearances by K-9, the 11th Doctor, and former Doctor companion Jo Grant.

The season starts out promising enough with a creepy first part of “The Nightmare Man,” but the second part conclusion is somewhat of a letdown as it wasn’t nearly as engaging as the part that came before it.

The second serial (“The Vault Of Secrets”) sees the return of the Androvax, but to be honest, I would have much rather seen the return of the Judoon instead. The Androvax simply aren’t very interesting, nor is this episode which incorporates too many all familiar sci-fi story elements.

The next serial (“Death Of The Doctor”) is far and away the highlight of the season. For Whovians, it doesn’t get much better than this. Not only do we see the 11th Doctor interacting with Sarah Jane, but an old companion (Jo Grant) also makes an appearance and completely steals the show. Granted, the story is nothing special, but it’s the character moments here that will make fans treasure this episode.

“The Empty Planet” is undoubtedly the weakest of the 6 serials as nothing much happens. Clyde and Rani wander around and argue for 60 minutes and it all gets a bit obnoxious unfortunately. Their characters deserve better material and fans deserve better episodes than this.

“Lost In Time” is an interesting two parter in that Sarah Jane, Rani, and Clyde are all separated and placed into 3 different time periods. The real intriguing element here is the mysterious shopkeeper and the Captain (a parrot). These two characters were fine additions to the series and I’m happy to know that they appear once again in season 5.

The season concludes with a generally forgettable finale titled “Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith”. It’s a fairly generic alien enemy tale whose only redeeming qualities are an appearance by K9 and the return of Luke.

Summary: The fourth season definitely stumbles here and there, but it is still worth checking out simply for “Death Of The Doctor”.

Note: There is a fifth season of “The Sarah Jane Adventures,” but it has yet to be scheduled for a U.S.  release.

Video/Audio:

The widescreen picture quality looks a bit fuzzy. The colors could certainly be sharper as well.

The Dolby Digital Stereo audio track is also a letdown. I’m quite surprised there wasn’t a 5.1 track here.

What’s with the lack of extras in the season 3 and 4 releases? The only extras are “Doctor Who” series 6 and “Sherlock” trailers.

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December 28, 2011 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , , ,

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