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Whoever decided that Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith deserved her own spin-off series deserves a hearty handshake and a well-deserved pat on the back. For The Sarah Jane Adventures is by distance the best of the Doctor Who spin-off shows, and this boxset of the first series has treats that go far beyond the appeal of its young target audience.
The key attraction is the central character, one who is so stooped in Doctor Who legend that it’s unsurprising so many older fans have warmed to the show. Sladen is in excellent form here, and is given scripts that explore the character and those around her, as well as moments that tip the hat to Who of old. The crossover with the new series is clear, too, with even the Slitheen turning up in The Sarah Jane Adventures.
Credit, too, should go to the young cast of The Sarah Jane Adventures, including Thomas Knight as Luke, and Daniel Anthony as Clyde. Likewise, there’s little shirking behind the camera, with high production values and the aforementioned quality of writing really shining through.
As for the boxset itself, it gathers together all of the episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures’ first series, and injects a collection of extras that are very much aimed at the younger viewer. Yet that doesn’t mean that this is a DVD set that can’t be enjoyed by the whole family. Because like the parent show it’s spun out from, The Sarah Jane Adventures has far broader appeal beyond its stated target audience. Great stuff. --Jon Foster
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