Since 'Doctor Who' returned to the airwaves back in 2005, I've been able to see the episodes long before they reach the USA by way of... Magic & Mystery as well as by Something Else Really Good & Clever. The same holds true for 'Torchwood' and the special hour-long episode of 'The Sarah Jane Adventures'. But now I can state where I found the first regular series episode of 'The Sarah Jane Adventures' - someone has posted them up on YouTube - not only the first half-hour episode which aired Monday, but the conclusion to the two-parter which won't be airing until this coming Monday over in the UK.
(Just type in "Sarah Jane" and Slitheen - you'll get all the chapters.)
It's not giving anything away to say that the Clan Slitheen made a return appearance, as their name appears in the episode title, "The Revenge Of The Slitheen". But I won't give anything else away of major importance for the many who have yet to see it. However, I will say that the show tackles a moral quandary near the end that I think an American production would have taken the opposite approach, ignoring the details of the character's past. And Maria gets off a risque joke that seemed out of place for what is supposed to be a children's show. ('Doctor Who' is supposed to be a children's show as well, but I think they've tossed that concept aside long ago; they know who their true audience is!)
I have to admit though that the joke was pretty funny and probably something a 14 year old girl would have said......
Sarah Jane Smith is already a member of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, as of this past May, and with this episode two more candidates emerged for eventual inlcusion should they complete the requirements with a third appearance on another series.
First up is the actress Lachele Carl, who appears in the second episode as the American news anchor for the news network AMNN. She has appeared four times in that role on 'Doctor Who', and it's likely she could pop up again in 'Torchwood' someday.
And then there are the Slitheen Family, of the calcium-based alien race from the planet Raxacoricofallapatorius. Members of the Clan Slitheen have appeared in three episodes of 'Doctor Who' and now in these two episodes of 'The Sarah Jane Adventures'. If they show up in 'Torchwood', the Raxacoricofallapatorians will be just as eligible as an alien race to be inducted into the Hall as are the Vulcans and Klingons. (I'm hoping I'll be able to add the Minbari to that list as well. Anybody know if that's possible yet?)
You know "Inner Toob" isn't really supposed to be about reviews; that's not why you come visit here. But I will say that it looks to me as though 'The Sarah Jane Adventures' will be a worthy member of the 'Doctor Who' franchise, finding its mark straight off (unlike 'Torchwood' which didn't have a handle on what it really wanted to be by the end of its first season).
There was also a Zonk that must be dealt with. Maria's airhead mother complained about the time that the lights went out when she was a kid and she was watching 'Manimal'. (She was devastated.)
'Manimal', no matter that it's recognized as one of the worst concepts for a TV show (a man can turn into any animal to fight crime), is an accepted part of the TV Universe. It also is linked to the series 'Nightman' with an actual crossover. So we can't just dismiss out of hand this reference to the TV show as a TV show.
Of course, the easiest thing to do would be to just dismiss it because 'Manimal' is definitely in the main Toobworld, whereas 'The Sarah Jane Adventures' could be located in an alternate dimension like the current incarnation of 'Doctor Who'. The parent series had to finally be shipped off to a "mirror universe" (not the original series, however) because of all of its deviations from the world of the main Toobworld - like Prime Ministers Harriet Jones and Harold Saxon and the death of Prime Minister Tony Blair.
However, until such time as 'The Sarah Jane Adventures' forces the issue - by dealing with or even just by mentioning those Prime Ministers - I'm inclined to view the series as returning to the main dimension of Earth Prime-Time. Even though the Slitheen appeared in 'Doctor Who' and therefore were also in that alternate TV Land, it's my contention that the events of the new 'Doctor Who' still also took place in the main Toobworld... but without all of those Zonking deviations.
I know. It gets pretty damned confusing.
So getting back to 'Manimal', here's an option: news of Professor Jonathan Chase's ability to transform himself into animals must have eventually leaked out after the series ended. (If secrets were easy to keep, Nixon would never have resigned.) So some enterprising hotshot producer in Hollywood decided to capitalize on the idea and created a version of Chase's story. That producer may have even coined the word "manimal" to describe his main character, who didn't necessarily have to be Jonathan Chase.
Since Maria's mom wasn't forthcoming with details about the show, that splainin should hold.......
I'm hoping for two things in the future for this show: one, that at some point - perhaps in the second season - the Doctor should make a crossover visit. Sarah Jane certainly held out hope that he might someday. And secondly, that an American network won't take too long to pick up this series. My blogging buddy Rob over in the UK suggested Nickelodeon and I think that would be perfect. Or maybe even Noggin and especially its night-time version "N".
But in the meantime, if you want to see it, head over to YouTube. I'm not sure for how much longer the shows might be allowed to stay up there!