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Customer Review

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So bad that it is fascinating, 29 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Co) [DVD] (DVD)
There are two distinct elements here.

K9 and company was a spin-off that never made it, although the seeds and format of the Sarah Jane Adventures are very clear in it. Let's just say that the opening titles and music are so awful that killing this before it became a series was the only humane thing to do. However, because this was clearly was a dry run for The Sarah Jane Adventures, fans of Sarah Jane Smith should add it to their collection.

Although this is a Doctor Who spin-off, there is only a brief reference to the Doctor early on and no appearance by him. The Doctor is represented by a K9 Mk III that he considerately has left for Sarah Jane during his travels and which she picks up some ten years later.

The plot has a strong resemblance to Doctor Who and the Daemons, with Sarah Jane investigating a satanic sect in a Wiltshire village. Here we learn some of her back story and meet the only relations that we ever find out about. She is aided and sometimes abetted by a schoolboy relative (clearly a precursor to Maria Jackson) and, despite all manner of not very plausible obstacles such as crooked local police and suspicious relatives, manages to resolve the mystery and catch the badies.

A lot of the acting and character development are pretty corny, which is part of the fascination because you wonder how something so genuinely awful became such a wonderful series as The Sarah Jane Adventures.

The Invisible Enemy:
This is classic Doctor Who. Tom Baker and Leela. Plastic sets, dreadful make-up and unconvincing blue-screen technology from 1977. However, you have to remember that many people would have watched it in black and white on a 625-line television and that modern, high-resolution TV screens simply did not exist so, what looks awful today looked far less unconvincing then.

The story is a quite good one with elements of The Incredible Voyage as the Doctor and Leela are cloned, reduced to microscopic size and injected into his own head in an attempt to save him. Tom Baker is superb in the role and ably supported by Louise Jamieson who sometimes (disappointingly) even wears some clothes (how did the BBC get away with her "costumes", especially when she frequently was in such a posture that the costume didn't actually hide anything?) Baker's deadpan delivery of lines while walking around inside his own brain is just brilliant.

Here we meet K9 for the first time. He is a robot assistant to a caricature nutty German professor on Titan and, when at the end of the story, the Doctor and Leela have defeated the space virus that has invaded the colony, a very unconvincing excuse is found for the Doctor to keep possession of K9.

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I doubted between two and three stars for this. K9 and Company is so embarrassingly bad that it is actually compelling viewing - giving it no stars would be generous. The Invisible Enemy is quite palatable. Taking the average came out at two or three stars and, as K9 became such an important element in Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures and Tom Baker is so good in this story, I gave it the extra star overall.
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