Friday, 2 October 2009

Elizabeth Sladen: wrong about 'K9 & Company'

In the new DWM special on Sarah Jane Smith, Elizabeth Sladen criticises the script of 'K9 & Company' while praising 'The Sarah Jane Adventures'. Which only goes to show that actors are often a poor judge of their own work and of the quality of scripts. 'K9 & Company' had all the right elements; rural mystery, hints of the supernatural and eccentric English characters. Wheras much of SJA is just cultural bubblegum.


Miles Reid said...

My God, you do spout some rubbish, Sparacus. Leaving aside K9 and Company for the moment, since I've not seen it in donkeys and simply focusing on... well... dismissing Sarah Jane Adventures as 'Cultural Bubblegum'... which as a statement makes little to no sense.

Sarah Jane Adventures has actually approached some hard-hitting subjects- child cruelty (The Lost Boy) Abusive parents/Abandoning Parents (Mark of the Beserker). Then of course, there's 'Warriors of Kudlak', a story which manages to explore the horrors of war both for the soldiers on the front-line, the pain and loss felt by the children of soldiers killed overseas in campaigns (don't forget that SJA openly mentions that Lance's father was killed in Iraq, an incredibly controversial move for what is essentially a kid's show). We are shown to believe that Kudlak himself is merely another alien warmonger using children as weapons, but we discover that Kudlak is sick of war and 'is only following orders'. Unlike so many other alien warriors in Doctor Who, he ends the story demanding Sarah Jane kill him, but is shown mercy and allowed to repent for his actions.

Of course, there's also the fact that K9 and Company flopped as a spin-off and that SJA has gone from strength to strength while the 'oh so adult' Torchwood... well, we'll find out when we find out when Series 4 is announced.

Youth of Australia said...

Reasons why people hate K9 and Company

1) The theme tune. Even Ian Levine hates it. And he wrote the damn thing
2) Elizabeth Sladen was promised a lead role, but ended up being second fiddle to a prop. That didn't work.
3) K9's only relevence to the plot is to act as a GPS and then stun people in a cop out resolution
4) Tracey somehow thinking K9 was a "white ghost belching fire"
5) Brendon
6) So the entire population of the village turns out to be a witch, except for the two people who act incredibly evil and suspicious
7) There's a murder mystery that turns out that the victim simply forgot to ring home and someone stole a letter - there was no murder, or even intention to murder
8) A dead-end plot thread about ph levels
9) Sarah is poorly characterized in relation to her TV appearances
10) There are no "eccentric English characters" just the insulting suggestion that everyone outside London is a redneck devil worshipper - which Brendon reinforces in the penultimate scene
11) Why the hell does K9 want to sing Christmas Carols? And how can he get the words mixed up?

Wheras much of SJA is just cultural bubblegum.
Not according to all the writers, directors, actors and people who have seen it. I can say as an honest fact, K9 and Company was shown at a convention a year ago or so and half the audience walked out in disgust. And they were adults. The kids followed once it was clear all K9 was going to do was talk about "bus drivers" and the rest of stayed to take the piss out of the camp "Hecate" dancing, the poor reveal of the villains, and of course that brain-numbing awfulness of that bit in the title sequence where SJ is typing outside a pub in the cold wet rain and toasts K9, who is, for reasons unknown, posed like a vulture on a wall.

Everyone involved with K9 and Company thinks it's a disaster, as made clear in the Eighties which, of course, you porport to have read. Thank goodness they never brought the Master to it like planned.

The fact that the SJAs admit that K9 and Company is canon AND follow the continuity of Sarah's orphaned childhood is, quite frankly more than it deserves. The vocal majority have despised the show ever since 1981, a view unchanged to this day in the pages of DWM.

Still... what do you know?

Youth of Australia said...

Ah, who cares? It'll never be as good as the one at Sydney - or as clever.

AngelClare said...

That is an unfair judgement. Elisabeth Sladen is a great actress with considerably more experience than most people. I think she knows the character better than you or I.

SJA is a refreshing turn for the character who is allowed blended emotions and characterisation - a far cry from K9 and Company.

sparacus said...

I am not questioning whether Elizabeth Sladen is a fine actress. I agree that she is.
However she is wrong in her assessment of 'K9 & Company'. Ian Levine is also wrong. The story hits all the right buttons: the idea that there is a village where people collude in practicing black magic is a fascinating one. Rather than just dealing with generic sci-fi aliens, 'K9 & Company' presents something different and moves the character of SJS on.

However the present series is awfully commonplace. The children in it spoil things and the sense of foreboding and atmosphere in 'K9 & Company' are missing.

AngelClare said...

It is a children's show.

Miles Reid said...

You never actually bloody listen to anything we actually say? I've had more responsive conversations with the automated telephone service of my bank! Hell, I've had more responsive conversations with people who didn't know the slightest bit of English and I didn't know the slightest bit of Indian. I don't want you to suddenly go 'You're right, my God, I see the light now and I must repent'. All it needs is 'a see your point, but I feel differently because...' instead of these blanket statements that are somehow the pure word of bloody truth. The world does not work like that, Ayn Rand is full of shit and objectivism should sod off! A may be A, but something constructed by man should not be used as a metaphor explaining that the world is fundamentally black and white and that there is no grey, no middle ground and only one true way.

I like the Twin Dilemma, it's bad, but it's enjoyably bad, does that make me wrong? No, it's just that after several decades of formative experience, personality development and (most importantly) the idea of a sense of fun, I can sit down and enjoy The Twin Dilemma purely on a 'bad b-movie level' but then, I've never watched Doctor Who for great, groundbreaking, earth shattering science fiction. I don't put on Merlin and go 'hmm, it's relatively enjoyable, but it's all bloody wrong' because to be honest, in the grand scheme of things, I have more important things to think about like 'what should I do with my life', 'should I really buck up and start actually applying myself', 'Boy, I really need to reguarly work out' and 'hmm, am I in the mood for French Maids or Schoolgirls?' That's how low the historical accuracy of a fantasy show rates to me, below what fetish I want to indulge in on the internet today.

btw- it was French Maid.

I provide evidence which I believe proves my theory concerning the quality and worth of SJA, but you not only dismiss it out of hand, but you never even actually acknowledge any of it. That's just rude. But then, you're seemingly unable to actually take the blinkers off your brain and actually bother to pay attention to anything anybody ever says and just carry on your opinion that Jon Pertwee was the best era of Doctor Who ever and that Ben Chatham is not the most annoying fan companion alongside Greg from Audio Visuals and Dara from Doctor Who Audio Dramas. I'm sorry to break it to you, but the 70s is not the pinnacle of quality, well-written TV, the idea of high-culture and low-culture was written off a hundred years ago as retarded and your play is... tripe. We've tried to help you, we've insulted, commented, mock, hurled abuse at you and you just go on in some bizarre, righteous belief of your own rightness. This entire relationship just sounds disturbingly abusive on both sides.

sparacus said...


Your last post is very fevered and agitated. I suggest that we discuss this matter calmly and reflectively.

I accept that the SJA have addressed some hard-hitting subjects occasionally such as war & child neglect. As such I do accept your point as valid. I am not a blinkered person.
However my point is that the general style & tone of the SJA in my opinion are over-fast paced and too concerned with pandering to modern trends. It is too urban and at the same time fails to reveal the reality of urban decay.

sparacus said...

"the idea of high-culture and low-culture was written off a hundred years ago as retarded "

I disagree. Most cultural critics such as Brian Sewell would still regard opera as superior to death metal.

Bernie Fishnotes said...

Brian Sewell would consider Doctor Who, Robin of Sherwood and Adam Rickett as lowbrow too, do you really want to use him as an example?

Miles said...

But what's wrong with enjoying death metal? If you listen to it and you enjoy it, then it's purpose is fulfilled. If we don't want to go see an opera and want to go and see a really, really good Beatles tribute band and I enjoyed it, then it's purpose is fulfilled. Maybe a particular person doesn't enjoy opera, does that affect the work as a whole? No. Does that make the person a bad, unintellectual person? No. It's all different tastes and opinion, there is no one asserted truth because truth is manipulated by our interpretation of it. Even critics are biased by what they like and dislike and that in the end, the only person to truly tell us what we like is ourselves.

Youth of Australia said...

Your last post is very fevered and agitated. I suggest that we discuss this matter calmly and reflectively.
Remove comment moderation or give out your email address - this stupid and unnecessary delay merely stalls communication and gives you all the power, which is the opposite of "discussion".

However my point is that the general style & tone of the SJA in my opinion are over-fast paced and too concerned with pandering to modern trends.
And what evidence do you have? What example support your "not blinkered" view?

It is too urban and at the same time fails to reveal the reality of urban decay.
K9 and Company was set in a country mansion and dinner parties - where was the reality there?