The Vault Of Secrets

One of the better aspects of being a fan of speculative fiction in any format is the ability of the medium to take on ideas brought out by myth and urban legend and weave them into the fictional world created, adding a bit of spectacle and familiarity which can spice up a story quite quickly and quite well, as long as the myth brought into play melds nicely with the rest of the plot’s concepts and characters.

This second adventure from The Sarah Jane Adventures uses UFO enthusiast culture and the mysterious men in black that hunt down the aliens and those who have contact with them.

Borrowing elements from the UFO mythos should seem stale and unpalatable, especially with the men in black element already having been used to great results in feature films featuring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black and it’s sequel, Men in Black II, but the script by Phil Ford is both full of action and twists, so even where it sags it is quickly turned around with the next scene or the next reveal made in the plot. The men in black in the Doctor Who/Sarah Jane Adventures universe are logic driven androids removing traces of alien visits to planet Earth and guarding a vault that is stuck here. The android, with their black suits, sunglasses and arms that turn into huge guns, are great visual pieces to run from and fight with as they stomp around like any good robotic terror should.

As far as alien threats go, Androvax, who first appeared st the opening of the third series in Prisoner of the Judoon, is still frightening for the kiddies and the story built around his return is interesting enough to make this a returning villain who does it properly when he comes back, no cardboard cutout monster of the week or trying to spin the character into too far of a new direction. Even the ending is a surprise of sorts, or at least it could have concluded in many different “obvious” ways.

Situations presented in the script, such as genocide, resurrection and self sacrifice are not lightweight subject matter by any means but this story touches on all of those ideas while keeping in a constant sense of moving forward.

The fact that the Sarah Jane Adventures is a children’s show hardly ever effects the enjoyment but in this episode both the silly named UFO group of BURPSS and the over-the-top character of Rani’s mom Gita made for a few seconds where I forgot to watch the tale unfolding before my eyes and started to roll them a bit because those particular elements seemed a bit too comedic and unbelievable. However it is a children’s show and it should not be judged by the same standards that adult programming is, but a portion of the adults watching might find these bits a bit too much to swallow.

The regular cast does seem to get stronger rather the weaker as time goes on, they have more and more defined roles that are a strength rather then a reoccurring bore. Luke’s departure has seemingly left a gap in the order of Sarah Jane’s ‘team’, but it is addressed in the show so it makes it feel more like a natural part of the order and life of the show’s universe rather then a total loss. The series is a fine established show for children filled with delight and danger and the right mix of good storytelling  with  morals.

Sounds like another show I know of.

The second adventure from the Sarah Jane Adventures uses UFO enthusiast culture and the mysterious men in black that hunt the aliens and those who have contact with them down.


Tom has been a Doctor Who fan since the early eighties and has developed a deep love and admiration for the show and its universe in that time.

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