K-9 series one, volume one – DVD review
2010 * PG * 450 mins * £29.99 * 31 January 2011
Directors: David Caesar, Karl Zwicky, Daniel Nettheim
Cast: John Leeson, Robert Moloney, Philippa Coulthard, Keegan Joyce, Daniel Webber
Few TV series face a backlash before they’ve aired a single episode, but this oddly Australian take on K-9 did. Ten years ago, if you’d told Who fans that there’d be a show dedicated to the metal mutt, most would have been delighted. These days, post-new Who, it arrives unwanted and unofficial, the Never Say Never Again of the Whoniverse.
Time-warping to London in 2050 (actually a warehouse in Brisbane), our hero is immediately thrown into battle with the Jixen – a bunch of rubbery space-turtles. Sacrificing himself to save a gang of teenagers, it’s not long before K-9 regenerates (WTF?!) into a new, improved model that can fly. Cue much adventuring with pals Starkey, Jorjie and Darius (no, not that one, thankfully) as they fight aliens and dodge the police in fascist future Britain.
These 13 episodes (the remaining 13 are released on 7 March) are far from brilliant, but amongst the shonky effects and dodgy accents, there’s a good deal of charm too. The aliens, laughably inept in their Poundland realisation, have a mad invention that recalls The Mighty Boosh‘s fantastical creations. There’s a bouffant space freak, all hairspray and ‘70s glam, a phallic space caterpillar, and a carpet-faced weirdo called Mr Whiffy. Likewise, the vaguely dystopian future London setting feels refreshingly different to The Sarah Jane Adventures, the show’s obvious competitor.
It’s nowhere near as emotionally involving as that series, and it’s never going to be anyone’s first choice for a Who fix, but there’s enough solid entertainment here to make it a worthwhile watch. If Who is a bit too hardcore for your kids, K-9 may be a decent way to get them hooked early.
Just some textual character profiles – one of which hilariously compares teen rebel Starkey to Nelson Mandela. Oh dear.