miss_s_b: (Fangirling: SJA)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
There are many many controversies in Who fandom, and there is no opinion you can assert without offending one faction or another, but one of the least controversial opinions is that the writer who was consistently the best in the old series was Robert Holmes. Holmes can be accused of being a hack, it's true, but if he was a hack, he was a great hack, taking elements from everywhere he could find them (classical mythology, his own politics, and famously, Hammer horror films) and fusing them into glorious, memorable stories. He had a great sense of dialogue, and his characterisations were always spot on. And he always, ALWAYS had an eye on the series as a whole, not just his episodes in it.

I think there's a case to be made that Joe Lidster is the Robert Holmes of our generation.

This latest arc of SJA, for example. On first glance it could easily be dismissed as A Nightmare on Elm Street for kids, and it certainly contains the visceral fear that the first Elm Street film did. This was the scariest Who-related thing I have seen on the telly since the show came back, and the fact that it came in the supposed kids' spin-off is to be massively applauded. But it's so much more than that. Luke's fear of growing up and leaving home, and Sarah-Jane's fear of losing him, and the interactions between those two emotional monsters, were beautifully observed and tenderly written. Clyde and Luke's relationship was similarly done. And Rani? Well, it's no wonder that Rani is my small person's favourite character. She really shows the pressure there is on girls to fit in, conform, and do as you are told. And she shows that she is happiest when she breaks through that (even if it's boys helping her to do it).

Julian Bleach was suitably odd as the eponymous character. I particularly approved of his mad laughter. The direction was good, and the special effects were well done considering the budget. Lis Sladen managed to pull off a grand performance. I enjoyed the conscious references to canon, to the afore-mentioned Nightmare on Elm Street, and to the Buffy ep Hush. But really, what this was about, for me, was the story. And the story, although it sagged a little in the second half, was excellent.

Mr Lidster: I salute you. And so does my daughter. When she's stopped hugging the cushion...

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Date: Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 01:16 pm (UTC)
sashajwolf: photo of Blake with text: "reality is a dangerous concept" (Default)
From: [personal profile] sashajwolf
Huh. I thought the pacing was all wrong, the Nightmare Man was a walking stereotype and the story just didn't have enough substance to fill 50 minutes, although it improved considerably in the second half. Takes all sorts :-)

Growing up is frightening just like this episode

Date: Thursday, October 14th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
It was a pretty good episode really and was certainly spooky and friegtening, more so while the Nightmare man was hidden in the shadows. Definalty an episode of scares but also disapointingly we have a "If we all hold hands then we can defeat him" Ending to an episode. It needed more resolution more dealing with the enemy it all felt to contrived.

You only have to look back at another episode of SJA to see the episode where they defeated fear with laughter to see a slightly different take on a similar idea. I've always been impressed when SJA has solved it's probelms inteligently and always been disapointed in the show when they have resolved things with murder. It is a children's program after all.

On annoyance was the emotional music overpowering any posibility of the acting taking the lead. Distracting and unhelpful, one thing that this show shouldn't copy from Doctor Who.

A darker story with some great scares ceratinly not original but kept the story progressing and with some neat tricks. Best show on CBBC and the most grown up of the spin offs no matter what Torchwood likes to think.

Visiting from sci_fi (and I concur with your daughter's assessment)

Date: Thursday, October 14th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC)
ed_rex: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ed_rex
I pretty much agree with your assessment, too. Was interested in your take on Rahni and the boys; it's been my (male) impression) that SJA has done a fairly remarkable job including exclusive woman/girl moments. Do you disagree or do you just hope for more?

Regardless, thanks for the heads' up on your review. And thanks for the photo of your daughter; it's good to know I wasn't talking out of my rear when I said this episode would have scared hell out of if if I was still a kid.

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