There are small things that work: Sladen’s opening monologue to her Aunt Lavinia (a continuity nod I can understand, at least) is very good. There’s a few mildly fun characters in the village (Patricia Leventon as Maude Fletcher is a highlight), but it’s all very ho-hum.
The irritable Mr Venables needing to prove who he is in a bank: “do you need my finger-prints as well, or do I have to take a blood-test?”
Sweet that Nat is played by Sarah’s real daughter, Sadie Miller.
“You were a hippy, weren’t you? Peace, love and crap transport!”
“How’s [Josh] shaping up? Any use?”/“You make me sound like an employment agency for underachievers!”
“No need to be cold and hungry just because you’re anti-establishment!”
The attempt at political undertones just reminds me of UNIT unfortunately, and with all the weaknesses that series had too.
Next: Sarah Jane Smith 1.2: The Tao Connection by Barry Letts (August 2002)