In the eyes of a viewer, the first thing a programme on television must do is present a sense of originality in its content, so the viewer does not feel that he’s watching something that he has a million times before.
Eye of the Gorgon succeeds more in doing this then the previous two installments of the Sarah Jane Adventures so far, mixing myth and legends with a few nice references for the fans. However, the actual failing of this story is the lack of meat on the skeleton of the plot, which is pasted over with silly un-dramatic heart wrenching moments that are too reminiscent of what is wrong with the new Doctor Who series, wanting us to feel for characters we hardly have gotten to know yet, much less ready to cry over.
The story devices are in themselves nice and creepy for the kids, with evil nuns and a twisted alien straight from Greek mythology, a Medusa with snakes in the hair and all. However I must admit I am left feeling I hardly got to know and fear the Gorgon creature, a point sorely missed in the script.
The main characters continue to grow, but there is a feeling of things being forced, as if the actors and actresses themselves have not been given time to feel for each other as people, much less the roles they are portraying. To say that it seems odd for Sarah Jane to get so riled up about her ‘son’ (although in fairness we have no idea how much time has actually passed since she took him in at the end of Invasion of the Bane.), and to not show the slightest emotion when Maria’s dad sheds a tear after being turned to stone and hearing a best forgotten speech by her estranged mother is an understatement.
The real show stealer here is Bea, a former archeologist’s wife who has had her fair share of encounters with aliens and mystery. It’s sad that in this story the strongest portrayal is a character left in the background, where the focus should have really been made on the Gorgon threat and its history and the coming together of the small band that will seemingly continue to battle aliens and such on a weekly basis.
Any TV show will have its downtime I suppose, and it can be expected that not every script will be top material, but you would think that for the second episode of a new franchise, especially a spin off from an established TV legend, that they would want the second adventure to really leave you wanting more not less. I have not given up on dear old Sarah Jane Smith, not at all, but I would hope that future episodes show the full potential of the idea, not just an original concept with a cut and paste script.