Whatever you are, I'm sure we can work this out like reasonable human
So, I had intended to move directly from Shada to the Australian K9 series. I watched most of The Sarah Jane Adventures as streaming episodes on Amazon, and I had looked to see if they had K9 as well, which they did. I thought. Three days ago when I went to pull it up, I discovered that although there was an entry for it there were no actual episodes -- only a "where to watch this" message that was no use. So I had to break down and actually buy the entire show on DVD (which was mercifully cheap). It arrived yesterday, so this morning I dove into it. Weep for me.
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
For some reason, this Australian produced series is set in London, in the vaguely near future. If the episode gave a year I completely missed it, although according to the TARDIS Data Core it is set in 2050. In any case, it is set in a near future in which the UK has become some kind of totalitarian state, with holographic propaganda videos floating over the Thames and in the sky, and with robotic police patrolling the streets. The main human character, Starkey, is a teenage hacker who goes by the name Stark Reality. In short order he gets paired up with a teenage girl, who also turns out to be a hacker and freedom fighter. Together they wind up in the home of a mad scientist named Gryffen who is using State-sponsored alien time vortex equipment to try to rescue his dead family by plucking them out of the past or something.
In the middle of this, K9 Mark I arrives through the vortex, rapidly followed by a group of aliens that pretty much look like GrimDark versions of Bowzer from Super Mario. I will give some credit, though. Yes, the giant alien turtle people costumes look stupid, but there is a cool digital effect used on them that causes them to oddly shimmer and twist, as if they aren't 100% phased into our reality. So that was pretty cool. Anyway, K9 uses his self destruct in order to stop the giant alien turtle people, and then he reconstructs himself using some kind of WhateverTechnology backup system. The upshot is that K9 loses all of his previous memory, thus eliminating any further crossover with the rest of the Whoniverse, and he also changes from his distinctive boxy look into an aggressively puppy-like cute look that is realized sometimes by a physical prop but most of the time in CGI. In other words, within 20 minutes of the start of the series, K9 becomes a completely new character who barely resembles himself.
It's like if you decided to do a Star Wars series, except without any Jedi or Sith, without the Empire or any Rebels, and you set it in a different galaxy, slightly farther away. You know. like you decided to cash in on the name without using absolutely anything that the name implies.
From a continuity standpoint, the K9 at the very start of the episode is supposed to be K9 Mark I who was left behind on Gallifrey with Leela, and is in no way related to the K9 who traveled with the Doctor and Romana, or the one who was left with Sarah Jane. So, the title character is not the character that anybody cares about anymore.
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
Oh, and did I mention that now K9 can fly? Because now K9 can totally fly. This solves the problem of human actors having to crouch down to ground level in order to talk to him, since he now spends most of his time hovering about five feet in the air, or else zipping around the London skyline. Also, the London skyline of 2050 looks exactly like the London skyline of 2010 with the addition of those floating holographic propaganda billboards. It's like all new construction halted 40 years earlier for no apparent reason.
Anyway, the main thrust of this episode is that there is still one of the giant alien turtle people is still running around trying to kill Starkey, and there is a whole thing with a super secret alien prison where the totalitarian government is torturing captured aliens because that's just what totalitarian governments do. K9 flies around a lot, the kids do annoying things, there are easter egg appearances by an Axon (last seen in Claws of Axon) and a Zephon (last seen waaaaay back in The Daleks Master Plan). So basically a couple of super-obscure references for the Doctor Who super geeks (or, I suppose, Time Treadmill fanatics).
So anyway, the giant alien turtle person gets blown up in the process of the kids and K9 springing the aliens free from the Propaganda Prison, and everybody is happy. I mean, aside from the Professor dude, who is finding his lab overrun by rapidly multiplying rats that keep appearing through the time vortex. Oops.
I dunno, after the quality of the writing and characterizations of The Sarah Jane Adventures, this whole thing is just a huge let-down. Where SJA and compelling and complex characters, K9 just plays like a cookie-cutter YA dystopian novel. The setting is weak, the characters are week, the action is weak, and the title character isn't even the "real" version of that character. I am not enjoying this at all. Unless things rapidly improve, this is going to be a very long couple of weeks as I power through the next 24 half-hour episodes and can put this behind me.
As I said earlier: Ugh.
Companion(s): K9, Starkey, Jorjie Turner, Darius Pike, Alistair Gryffen
Episode(s): Regeneration / Liberation
Steps Walked: 7,510 today, 4,246,319 total
Distance Walked: 4.06 miles today, 2,222.67 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 100 today, 9,700 total
Sit-ups Completed: 0 today, 3,065 total
Weight: 264.14 lbs (five day moving average), net change -43.16 lbs