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Review: Sarah Jane Smith: 9 Dreamland
The Skinny: Liner notes: Having lived a life of adventure as a traveller in time and space, returning to a quiet life on present day Earth was never going to be easy. Ex-journalist, Sarah Jane Smith is determined to make a difference in her own way. Fiercely independent, Sarah relies on her own wit, judgement and keen sense of morality to challenge the evils of the world. Life is never quiet for long. Trouble has a habit of finding Sarah -- even when she’s not looking for it.
Sarah Jane Smith is still dealing with the tragic consequences of recent events when she is offered the chance of a lifetime -- a place on the world’s first tourist flight into space. The trip’s sponsor, Sir Donald Wakefield, believes it is her destiny. But after her recent experiences, what does Sarah still believe in?
And now, the rest of the story...
POTENTIAL SERIES SPOILERS... well, not exactly... I detest spoilers so I'm not going there, near there or even remotely in the direction of there. Start at the beginning of this series with 'Comeback' instead of skipping to the last chapter to see whodunnit. Each episode builds on the previous one so you're only cheating yourself by listening to them any way other than in order from beginning to end.
My journey with Sarah Jane at this particular juncture in her life began less than a year after the tragic loss of Elisabeth Sladen, the actress who brought Sarah Jane to life. It was with mixed emotions that I played 'Dreamland' for the first time and with some trepidation that I considered reviewing it for it completes a 9 episode story arc and marks the conclusion of this series. Without divulging any details about the ultimate outcome, this chapter in the body of work which in one form or another records the life and times of Sarah Jane Smith as portrayed solely by Elisabeth Sladen (and not in any work created after her death) is entirely fitting and appropriate to the character of Sarah Jane. I trust writers and creators will respect that.
As I previously indicated, 'Dreamland' completes a 9 episode story arc and this series. Unlike the recently concluded Matt Smith era of Doctor Who, with more than 40 televised episodes about which one could argue (and has) that a story arc spanning so many episodes is too many for even the above average fan to piece together in a single episode finale, a 9 episode arc is a piece of cake. Lots of pieces will fall into place during 'Dreamland' and rightly so, a reward if you will for following the arc from its beginning instead of jumping ahead to the last chapter.
The production values of this series have been top notch all along which is to say my expectation as to how this story would be told was primarily due to the previous 8 episodes. How 'Dreamland' was told came as no surprise, although I can't say the same about the ending for it came as a bit of a shock. Okay, have I been sufficiently sketchy in what I've written? Good. Wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone.
Big Finish Technical Details for 'Dreamland' indicates it was recorded 24 November 2005. Interestingly while the series began production in 2002, the first episode released wasn't the first recorded however 'Dreamland' was the last to be recorded and released. Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith would return to the Whoniverse the following year in 'School Reunion' (with David Tennant and K9) and then go on to have her very own TV series, 'The Sarah Jane Adventures' which ran for 5 seasons and would most likely be in production to this day had it not been for her untimely death.
This is without a doubt one of my favorite series in which Sarah Jane Smith appears and for a number of good reasons. I hope you'll give it a listen and that it will become a favorite of yours.
Dreamland earns a 5 MOBILE Rating
PRODUCTION NOTES: Cast: Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith); Jeremy James (Josh); Sadie Miller (Nat); Stephen Greif (Sir Donald); Jon Weinberg (Kimmel); Toby Longworth (Mission Control); Shaun Ley (Newsreader); with Patricia Leventon
Writer: David Bishop; Director: John Ainsworth; Music: Steve Foxon; Sound Design: Steve Foxon; Cover Art: Lee Binding
Trailer link: Trailer_9_Dreamland.mp3
Product link: http://bigfinish.com/Sarah-Jane-Smith
There is no 'Detailed synopsis' link to be found in this review (unlike my preceding 8 reviews) as including a synopsis would be as good as a series spoiler.