Once upon a December, I attempted to watch season 4 of The Sarah Jane Adventures but inexplicably recoiled with hate. Bewildered and confused, I let other things distract me until I forgot about it. Then Elisabeth Sladen passed away, and I plunged into mourning with simultaneous guilt eating away at my heart. I watched about five other British shows this summer in an attempt to lead myself back to SJA, none of which worked, but this week I decided it was now or never time to let it back into my life.
Strictly speaking, I found season 3 at the library, so I watched bits here and there. (when I watched the entirety of the Doctor's appearance, I found myself collapsing in a bawling heap at the line, "The Trickster wanted the end of your story, but it goes on. Things you’ve done, Sarah, they’re pretty impressive. But oh, the things you’re going to do...”)
Then I pumped myself up with pre-season actor interviews, a quick peek at Tumblr, and little pre-release clips to tease myself in. It was like a light switch flipping back on. By the time I gave The Nightmare Man another whirl, I was freshly cleansed of annoyance and happy again. Maybe I was just cranky/tired that day? Had television in general been angering me? We may never know.
All I know is that this time I greatly enjoyed Clyde projecting my sulkiness about Luke leaving, and Sarah Jane being adorable at all times (even in Clyde's nightmare), and she and Luke killing me with all their sweet scenes, especially the tearful hugging in the car. And the title character himself actually creeped me out a tad this time, at least until his Flouncy Gay Attitude made me snicker more than shiver. But in a fun-spirited way. Progress!
As for "The Vault of Secrets," I'm pretty over Androvax and Ghita, so not much to improve upon there. However, now at least I'm caught up to where I was. I've been reading up on some episode descriptions, and I absolutely cannot wait for the Sarah Jane-centric episode of this batch. Can I skip everything else and go straight for that? Probably; chronology is rarely an issue, but with the cast in flux I don't want to risk it. I've already spoiled myself as much as I dare, considering I'm usually pretty clean for this show.
Up next: Death of the Doctor. (DUN DUN DUN) Originally ready to sacrifice the adventure entirely, I'm going to compromise on my still-burning ALREADY DEAD TO ME, SIR contempt for Eleven by very, very carefully scanning the hour to eliminate all the Doctor parts, and only focusing on the Awesome Jo parts**. I will have a detailed recap at my disposal and a trigger-happy finger on the mute/skip forward buttons; if they share scenes, so be it; number one priority is avoiding the bow-tied freak. I've already asked the internet to spoil me on any relevant backstory references, because reading text I can at least pretend it's Ten, so there should be no need for me to hear or see anything extraneous.
Except, first things first on the preview: "Is that Sarah??" *squints* Oh my god, it is, it's totally Laila Rouss. I love it when my steadily-growing little fleet of British shows cross-pollinates! And mixes metaphors!
** I saw a brief clip of Jo's part in this episode somewhere, and I fell for her in one second flat. She is, in fact, the only reason I'm taking on this mess at all. Wish me luck!
In related news, does anyone have any recs for covers of "Once Upon a December" from Anastasia? What YouTube says is the Disney version is grating on my ears in a way I do not remember, and a quest to go find prettier-voiced women quickly overwhelmed me. Which is the best? Whose music choices most ideally support the vocals? Help!
So far my number one contenders are Becky Taylor (gorgeous music, an operatic style that I generally dislike but which works for this song, but odd accents at the beginning) and Deana Carter (music not nearly orchestral enough, but otherwise right in my wheelhouse).