Sunday, 9 May 2010

The Sarah Jane Adventures: Eye of the Gorgon

Part One

“It’s so sad. Everything she must have seen… and now everyone thinks she’s just crazy.”

This is Phil Ford’s first script for any of the three shows, and it’s actually quite surprising looking back that he’s only been involved since such a relatively late stage. His debut script is a cracker; a great story based on Greek myth (nicely educational there), but particularly impressive on characterisation- the whole thing with Maria and her family is brilliantly written. There’s also a very sensitive treatment of Alzheimer's for a child audience, many of whom will have grandparents in this situation.

The Sontaran reference from Bea is quite effective, making it clear that she herself had adventures with aliens once upon a time- rather nicely, we’re left to imagine the details but given the impression that this sort of thing has always been happening to people. Of course, this in no way implies they might be making an appearance in the parent programme soon…

Part Two

“No one listens to you when you’re old.”

Great cliffhanger, and once again some great characterisation for Maria; her initial reaction is believable, but importantly this doesn’t last, and the show doesn’t go too far, avoiding the implication that the children are living too dangerous a lifestyle with Sarah Jane which would portray her in a bad light- an ever-present risk which the series is going to have to be careful to avoid while still providing the required levels of excitement.

This episode is as great as the last- there’s a priest hole, a whole garden of petrified statues, and a wonderful scene with Chrissie pouring her hearts out to what she thinks is a statue of Alan. I love Chrissie- Juliet Cowan gives a great comic performance with what could easily have been a very annoying character. And I love Bea’s exasperated reaction when Maria doesn’t immediately spot what the mirror is for!

Pleasingly, we avoid a resolution which wishes away Bea’s Alzheimer’s with a magic wand- that would be insensitive and potentially upsetting for many viewers- but still ends on a positive note. Brilliant- 5/5.

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