This is the last filmed series of episodes of 'The Sarah Jane Adventures' before Elisabeth Sladen's unexpected death in April 2011. I'm glad to see that not only did BBC broadcast this final group of episodes, but has made them available around the world on DVD to fans of Miss Sladen and the show.
In this release we will get 16:9 (1.78:1), Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound and English subtitles. The lone extra is "Goodbye Bannerman Road - Remembering Elisabeth Sladen" which is a twenty-minute tribute to Miss Sladen by those that worked with her on the series, including current 'Doctor Who' star Matt Smith. Sadly, the "My Sarah Jane" special that aired on CBBC shortly after Miss Sladen's death is not included.
Series 5 consists of six episodes (out of the originally planned twelve), which make up three stories: "Sky," "The Curse of Clyde Langer," and "The Man Who Never Was." New character Sky didn't have much time to develop due to the shortened amount of episodes filmed, so there is a weakness of her presence most of the time. Of these three stories, I think "The Curse of Clyde Langer" is possibly one of the best of the entire run of the series. It is certainly powerful acting from Daniel Anthony. Those fearing that we are left with major dangling plots can rest assured that we do get a heartfelt tag at the end that appropriately wraps-up 'The Sarah Jane Adventures' and Elisabeth Sladen's loving devotion playing Sarah Jane Smith.
Although primarily aimed at children, this is a delightful and thoughtful program that appeals to all age groups. It is well-written with emphasis on characters, but also with plenty of action, humor and engaging plotlines. This is mainly due to showrunner Russell T. Davis (Exec. Producer & head writer for 'Doctor Who' 2005 - 2010) and his team who does not dumb down any of their writing or subject matter the way many children's and adult programs woefully do today.
The main attraction goes to star Elisabeth Sladen who always holds together the integrity of keeping the relationships as human and real as possible while surrounded with fantastical situations. The focus of the series is always on the building and maintaining of family, the respect between Sarah Jane and her younger friends, and always trying to do what is right even when it is difficult. These ethics come across loud and clear from Elisabeth Sladen's performance, which in turn inspired everyone who worked on the show to do the same.
Series 5 is a fitting showcase and finale for a terrific program.