Synopsis: The Slitheen are back, and this time they're going to school.
Review: Unlike the other Doctor Who spin-off, The Sarah Jane Adventures intentionally mimics the tone and style of its progenitor right down to the similarity of the title sequence. "Revenge of the Slitheen" presupposes a knowledge of Doctor Who, and the titular aliens previous appearance on that show. The striking resemblance to "School Reunion," although this episode is much better than that disappointing one, may be one of the few things about the strong Doctor Who connection that hurts this episode.
There are two difficulties to be faced in attempting to review Sarah Jane: (1) It is children's television. Unlike Torchwood and to a greater degree than Doctor Who, Sarah Jane is specifically aimed at children. Don't discount it because of that. Good children's television is extremely difficult to pull off. It also presents difficulties when trying to critique it on the same level as television created primarily for teens and adults. (2) Each story spans two episodes. The first season of Sarah Jane consists of five stories spread over ten episodes. Each story is divided between two episodes. Most two-parters are self-contained stories that strongly relate to each other, but these are quite literally a single story cut in half. It is difficult to critique an episode whose conclusion lies in an entirely different episode.
The villains are characterized by over-the-top acting, but it works in the context of a children's show. The addition of a child Slitheen is a direct appeal to the target audience. Plus jokes like "we're stuck on a planet where they still haven't worked out string theory" were snuck in there for the adults. The Slitheen simply didn't look as good here as they did in Doctor Who. It was probably a combination of a lower budget and going with costumes rather than CGI.
This episode adds a character named Clyde who was not in the pilot. He comments to Luke, "What is it with you and her? I've seen weird people. I know weird people, but you two, you're beyond weird." Luke replies, "Go find some normal people then." But Clyde doesn't. He continues to follow Luke. Clyde doesn't want to be normal. He wants to be unique. Indeed, God created each one of us unique, and this episode conveys that positive message. In the end, this episode didn't stand out like the pilot. It ended unimaginatively with the "classic cliffhanger" where the heroes are surrounded. I give it a 5 out of 10. With four more cliffhangers to go, hopefully the writers can be a little more creative in the future.
Objectionable Content: Gross-out humor such as farting.
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Reviewed by: Matthew Miller)