Well this was a big improvement - this week's Sarah Jane Adventures
showed a lot of what's great about the series, right from the knowingly ludicrous title.
"Mona Lisa's Revenge" wasn't perfect - the explanation for why the paintings came to life was a bit, er, sketchy (ba-dum-tish.) "They were made from alien paint so... well basically it therefore follows that they would come to life and be able to bring other paintings to life as well." And although Suranne Jones' Northern Mona Lisa was often hilarious, again her use of modern dialect could maybe have done with a bit more of an explanation. And as seems to be a common problem with SJA
, the second half wasn't quite
as strong as the first.
But those are niggles as Phil Ford's story showed very clearly why this programme appeals to all ages. For the kids (and the young-at-heart) you've got the story from Luke & co's point of view, a big old romp in an art gallery (with a nice little continuity nod to the art theft in Doctor Who
's "Planet of the Dead") and if the Mona Lisa on the rampage with a raygun isn't fun, then what is? Then you've got some really grown-up themes from Sarah-Jane's point of view, as she starts to realise Luke is growing up and won't be with her much longer (foreshadowed in "The Mad Woman In The Attic" a few weeks ago when we saw a glimpse of his future graduating from University,) a genuinely sad performance from the Sladen there. And some jokes for the parents about horny middle-aged people - Miss Trupp and her unrequited love for Mr Harding, and then getting very overexcited and flirty with Clyde. This seems to be a bit of a theme this series actually - as if they're acknowledging that much of the audience knows Daniel Anthony is a lot older than his character, and fancies him, they've got the other characters reacting to him in the same way. Then, Jeff Rawle's Mr Harding, not only getting wibbly over Mona Lisa but in the funniest sight gag, the reveal of Clyde's painting that won the competition: Presumably it was Harding who chose the winner, and he went for the girls with big bazongas. The show's still going strong, sadly with only one more story to go this year, but let's hope for a fourth season to be announced soon.