Revenge of the Slitheen

Posted in Episode by - January 20, 2022
Revenge of the Slitheen

Aired 24 September – 01 October 2007


Following an entertaining if fairly simplistic premiere special that successfully reintroduced intrepid journalist Sarah Jane Smith to the masses, The Sarah Jane Adventures begins its first proper series with the two-part ‘Revenge of the Slitheen.’ Featuring the dangerous denizens of Raxacoricofallapatorius to fully integrate this show into the world of Doctor Who while also highlighting just how capable Sarah Jane is of carrying on the Doctor’s legacy, this serial is also responsible for delving into the daily lives of its leads and bringing Clyde into the confidence of schoolmates Maria and Luke.

Of course, one of the biggest complaints against the Slitheen during the Doctor Who episodes ‘Aliens in London’ and ‘World War Three’ was that the narrative reliance on flatulence catered to the much younger members of the family audience that franchise has always attempted to entertain. Accordingly, the Slitheens’ childlike appearance and flatulent propensity make for a fitting menace in this new world that is unabashedly more for the younger children. Their lumbering frames keep their hunting prowess from ever becoming too fearsome, and the actors playing the Slitheen both in the aliens’ natural and disguised forms appear to be relishing the opportunity to so grandiosely and zealously play up the evil within this family that is now looking to destroy Earth by draining the Sun of its energy. Unfortunately, between the hammy overacting and the very real threat that a planet without energy faces, the story struggles to retain a constant tone of any sort, making for a disjointed experience that is perhaps best exemplified by the Slitheen child who so desperately wants its first hunt but that by necessity would have had to kill a human child to assume its disguise.

‘Invasion of the Bane’ made it known that Sarah Jane had kept to herself and never really let anyone into her world as her investigations continued throughout the years, Luke being the young man whom she finally decided to let into her life. Fittingly, ‘Revenge of the Slitheen’ picks up this plot point and continues to develop the strange new life that both find themselves in at this point. Sarah Jane, naturally, is quite uncomfortable and awkward in a motherhood role, although she quite enviously studies just how comfortable Maria and her father are around each other and clearly hopes to develop that sort of bond with Luke. For his part, Luke is just as awkward as he attempts to learn how to integrate in regular society, and his naivete is perfectly played up as he unknowingly helps the Slitheen accomplish their goals. Still, he is smart and capable enough to realize his mistake and to help to set it right, and this believable journey is a testament to the character and to actor Tommy Knight that peaks with Luke finally calling Sarah Jane mum.

Both Maria and Clyde are somewhat sidelined here, and although Clyde can be quite blunt and even hurtful while at times creating another hurdle for the heroes, he is nowhere near as intolerable as Kelsey whom he has replaced and certainly has flashes of brilliance and integrity when determining that vinegar is the Slitheens’ weakness and when swearing that he will never reveal the truth of Sarah Jane to the world. Daniel Anthony does quite well with the material offered him, and he should make a strong addition to this makeshift investigative group that Elisabeth Sladen so effortlessly leads. ‘Revenge of the Slitheen’ is somewhat disjointed and wholly ridiculous, but the end effect is an interesting beginning to this new series that is unquestionably brimming with confidence already.

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