Last night, Doctor Who's kid-friendly spin-off series had the second part of its much-dreaded "evil clown" storyline, and it was pretty much as horrendous as we'd all feared. The good news, though, is that the new sidekick on the Sarah Jane Adventures, Rani, is actually pretty great. I'm getting over the loss of Maria and her dad already. Details below. I'm really not sure if there's any way the "Day Of The Clown" storyline could have been great. At least, no way that wouldn't have blown the hinges off the show's "kid-friendly" label. But you have to give the show extra demerits for going the "Pied Piper" route AND using the old "psychic vampire that feeds on fear" device. I did, however, like Odd Bob's awful teeth, which were by far the scariest thing in the show. (I still have traumatic memories of going to an NHS dentist.) Extra bonus points, too, for Odd Bob's horrendous attempt at a Southern U.S. accent, and Spellman's even worse German (?) accent. I know the SJA is a kids' show, but this is the first time I felt like it was talking down to my inner five year old. (Of course, it was still better than Star Trek: Voyager's evil-clown-that-feeds-on-fear storyline. But it would have to have featured actual feces wrestling to beat that one.) Pretty much everything else, though? Super great. Rani won me over early on, when she zeroed in on Luke as the school weirdo and told him in that confidential voice, "I'm a fan of Weird." And her parents seem like a fun supporting cast with lots of room to grow. I'll miss Maria's dad a lot, but neither of Rani's parents is one-tenth as awful as Maria's mom. And Rani really is like a miniature Sarah Jane, complete with the noseyness and the inability to let a mystery slide. I'm glad she's part of the Doctor Who universe, even if she doesn't turn out to be the Rani. Clyde was awesome, except for his horrendous jokes at the end, and Luke is always just perfect, really. I guess the theme of this year is discovering more about Sarah Jane's own childhood, what with all the stuff that we learned about her parents' death and her Aunt Lavinia raising her. I guess we're going to be seeing more of that later in the season but hopefully it won't be quite as silly as the clown-centered flashback was this time around. Oh, and one other minor nitpick: I can't imagine that Elisabeth Sladen is enjoying having to deliver the same speech about the wonders of the universe in every single episode. I mean, it was great the first five times, but now it's getting a bit shopworn. Maybe give her a new speech? What did you guys think?