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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later.Support Elizabeth on Patreon.

24 Comments

  1. Daibhid C
    October 4, 2013 @ 12:18 am

    Yeah, I've often thought that SJA fits the line "the children's own show that adults adore" much better than Doctor Who itself.

    The kid-Slitheen actually had me wondering if this was suitable for kids since a) he died horribly after the show had made clear that he might be an evil bug-eyed monster but he was also a kid. And b) Another child must have been killed to provide the skinsuit. Deaths of pre-teens rarely happen in the parent series, in accordance with the Infant Immortality trope, so it was a shock to see it here. Not that it seemed to bother my niece any.

    (Incidentally, I've just realised that you've overtaken DWM's Time Team, which was covering Utopia last month. So there's a milestone.)

    Reply

  2. Daru
    October 4, 2013 @ 12:44 am

    Thanks Phil. I have a lot of time and love for the SJA. Likely based as you suggest on my own nostalgia of Doctor Who. Watching Elizabeth in her show with the kids was comparable to remembering my own childhood moments of falling in love with Doctor Who.

    So the SJA gives me that kind of warm glow.

    Reply

  3. David Anderson
    October 4, 2013 @ 1:55 am

    I wouldn't say Pixar films are necessarily tolerable for adults. Could any adult sit through the first few scenes of Up more than once?

    Seriously, I don't think one can distinguish Pixar from Doctor Who: Pixar films work on the basis that if you have a solid enough story it can be the basis for both children's and adults' storytelling at the same time.

    Reply

  4. Spacewarp
    October 4, 2013 @ 3:29 am

    To a fan of Doctor Who it's almost impossible to view SJA through anything but Who-influenced glasses and see it on it's own merits. In fact this is a problem for everyone, as I'm not sure there's any part of it's young audience who have never seen Doctor Who (since Who-viewing can start as early as 5).

    However it would have been perfectly possible for this to have been a show with absolutely no connection to Doctor Who at all (in the same way as RTD's original idea for Torchwood was). After all the only real influences are Sarah Jane herself and recurring Who aliens. At the end of the day it's a kids' show about an adult who investigates weird alien happenings with a little gang of scoobies in tow.

    Would it have been a sucess though? Well up until a year ago it would have been difficult to speculate, but now you only have to look at RTD's "Monsters Vs Aliens" to see how SJA might have been if you subtracted Who (and added a dash of Harry Potter).

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  5. Seeing_I
    October 4, 2013 @ 3:38 am

    I agree. That last paragraph sums up this show in a very lovely way, Phil, and once again fills me with wonder at how thoroughly RTD understood what he was doing, how carefully he thought about what Doctor Who really meant and how it worked, in bringing it back.

    Reply

  6. Seeing_I
    October 4, 2013 @ 3:40 am

    Gawd, true enough David. That scene, and the cowgirl's song in Toy Story II, just made me bawl.

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  7. Seeing_I
    October 4, 2013 @ 3:45 am

    You know, those Slitheen were damn creepy. Those rotten-looking baby faces with the giant eyes, it's like something from Geiger, really unsettling! I loved those guys, even if they weren't used to the best of their advantage.

    Reply

  8. The Lord of Ábrocen Landmearca
    October 4, 2013 @ 4:30 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply

  9. prandeamus
    October 4, 2013 @ 4:57 am

    Slightly off-topic, I know, but I have seen the first few minutes of "Up" reduce a four-year old boy to tears. Not infantile tears of frustration or fear, but awed, silent tears of "that's sad". And he still watched the rest of the film.

    Reply

  10. The Lord of Ábrocen Landmearca
    October 4, 2013 @ 5:12 am

    I've never heard that bit about Ace before. Excuse me, I have to go weep.

    Reply

  11. Daru
    October 4, 2013 @ 5:23 am

    Absolutely. I am so glad that RTD was involved in bringing back the show in the way he did and when did.

    Reply

  12. Daru
    October 4, 2013 @ 5:30 am

    When I first saw them after their first two episodes I was pretty down on their design and they did not totally work for me. Somehow though I got to enjoying them more in their appearances in the SJA.

    You are right they do have a weird sort of Giger style to them, but in a childish way. I actually like them a bit more now and think of them now as being the more childlike elements of SJA intruding into the TV show of Doctor Who.

    Reply

  13. Daru
    October 4, 2013 @ 5:30 am

    I'd heard about it before – so yes me too.

    Reply

  14. Galadriel
    October 4, 2013 @ 6:52 am

    I watched the first season of Wizards vs Aliens purely because of its "spiritual successor" status to Sarah Jane Adventures; perhaps not the best way to view a new show, but I think it really has some potential, if it can work out what kind of stories it wants to tell.
    The main problem it had was trying to establish the ground rules without anything larger to fall back on. Even if one watched SJA without knowledge of Doctor Who, the producers knew the "rules" of alien life well enough to maintain consistency, even play with it a little, as shown by the ending of the Eternity Trap. Wizards vs Aliens had to build from square one, and it showed.

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  15. Ross
    October 4, 2013 @ 6:56 am

    Yeah. I was able to appreciate that Wizards v. Aliens was a well-made kids show, but it just never "did it for me" the way SJA did, so I didn't keep going.

    Possibly if I were in a phase where I was more open to picking up new shows

    Reply

  16. Galadriel
    October 4, 2013 @ 6:57 am

    The best parts of Revenge of the Slitheen hinge on her learning to be a mother paralleled with Luke learning to be a kid. Sarah Jane isn’t magic – she’s just someone who’s seen extraordinary things in her life, and knows how to look for them now.
    Exactly. The best way to summarize the series is in Sarah Jane's own line from Invasion of the Bane: Life on Earth can be an adventure too. You just need to know where to look. Sometimes that's meeting aliens, sometimes it's making (and losing) a friend, but both can be adventures.

    Reply

  17. Robert Lloyd
    October 4, 2013 @ 4:46 pm

    Submitted for your approval: the Slitheen are the Ferengi of new "Doctor Who", whereas the Weeping Angels are the Borg. Discuss.

    Reply

  18. elvwood
    October 4, 2013 @ 11:39 pm

    Good article, but for some reason I really missed having a caption to the picture! Weird brain.

    Reply

  19. AuntyJack
    October 5, 2013 @ 6:11 am

    I see them more as being influenced by Sam Lowry's nightmares in 'Brazil'.
    Also, interestingly, the corrupt bureaucrats in 'Brazil' wore the baby face masks to hide behind, whereas in Doctor Who and SJA…

    Reply

  20. AuntyJack
    October 5, 2013 @ 6:17 am

    'And so what we have is, basically, a show about remaining open-minded and broadening your horizons, but one that still takes seriously the prospect that there are dangerous and even evil things out there.'

    Plus, most of the time it also demonstrates that you need to delve beneath surface appearances to see who or what the dangerous and evil things actually are, which is also a great thing for any viewer to absorb, regardless of their age…

    Reply

  21. Lewis Christian
    October 5, 2013 @ 7:23 am

    The plan was to bring back Ace and, within the story, there'd be a flashback showing Seven and Ace from afar, saying their goodbyes. Oh how I wish it'd happened. Because I have a suspicion RTD would've decided, sod that, and instead brought the Seventh Doctor in for a mini adventure fully with Ace.

    Also, I'm sure I read in the SJA Companion (Vol 3) [which is, by the way, an astounding read and gives juicy details into lost scripts and what the future of SJA would've been!] Tom Baker could've/would've appeared somewhere too.

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  22. Lewis Christian
    October 5, 2013 @ 7:25 am

    What's also interesting is the direct spin-off sequel that SJA partakes in a couple of times.

    The Slitheen here are out for revenge after their adventures in Doctor Who. And, later on, the Sontaran appears after falling out of his Doctor Who (S4) adventure.

    Reply

  23. The Lord of Ábrocen Landmearca
    October 5, 2013 @ 7:44 am

    So the 13th Doctor is going to have a Weeping Angel companion wearing a skintight leotard who has to learn to be looked at?

    Reply

  24. G.
    October 7, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

    Revenge Of The Slitheen Part 1 contains one of my all-time favorite scenes in the entire mythology of WHO: Luke, investigating, has been putting up with Clyde's jibes about being weird and uncool for the entire episode, with grace and patience. When Luke decides that something dangerous is going on, he turns to him and says, quietly: 'You should go home.' With no pomposity, anger, or derision, the entire premise of 'cool' and 'uncool' is turned on it's head. And, to Clyde's credit, he both understands and accepts that immediately.

    Reply

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