I vaguely remember the Doctor Who series from the 70s and 80s, but when the show was revived in 2005, I became a big fan. However, it’s a series my husband and I usually watch after the kids have gone to bed. But now we have a show we can watch as a family – The Sarah Jane Adventures.
My first exposure to Sarah Jane was during the “School Reunion” episode of the new Doctor Who’s second season. Since I wasn’t familiar with the original series, I didn’t recognize Sarah Jane as the companion of the third and fourth incarnations of The Doctor, let alone the actress (Elizabeth Sladen) who was reprising the role some 30 years later.
Two years later and Salden is back in her Sarah Jane shoes for American audiences.
An inquisitive journalist, Sarah Jane first met The Doctor, a time lord who travels through space and time saving Earth, while in search of a story. She stayed with him (or at least two incarnations of him) for four seasons until he was called back to his home planet.
When you have traveled to the ends of space across thousands of centuries, what do you do when you are then confined one time and space without the man who holds the key to your heart and soul to live a rather ordinary live?
“I saw amazing things out there in space. But there is strangeness to be found wherever you turn. Life on Earth can be an adventure too … you just need to know where to look!” – Sarah Jane Smith
You become a reclusive who still tackles the extraterrestrial threat to your country and planet with subtlety and grace.
Or at least that’s what Sarah Jane thinks she’s doing until she’s discovered by her new neighbor, Maria Jackson (Yasmin Paige). Maria moves to Bannerman Road with her recently divorced father Alan (Joseph Millson) after her self-obsessed mother Chrissie (Juliet Cowan) insists that the family home be sold.
A curious teen, Maria is fascinated by the mysterious Sarah Jane who is abrupt, standoffish and always taking off at a moment’s notice.
The duo’s paths cross in “Invasion of the Bane” which premiered on Friday at the family-friendly time of 7:30 p.m. EST of the Sci Fi Channel, at the Bubbleshock (a type of “organic” soda) factory where an alien race known as the Bane are trying to take over the world.
Together with Luke (Tommy Knight), a genetically engineered boy created by the Bane and later adopted by Sarah Jane, the pair defeat the threat and a team is born.
Fans of Doctor Who will like the spin-off series by the same producers because it extends the mythology of the series in a campy, family-friendly way. Instead of a sonic screwdriver like The Doctor, Sarah Jane carries a sonic lipstick, a gift from The Doctor along with a watch that scans for alien life forms.
Before meeting Maria and adopting Luke, Sarah Jane’s only friends are a super computer she named Mr. Smith and K-9, a little metal computer dog given to her during “School Reunion,” a replacement for the dog companion that accompanied her on her adventures with The Doctor.
In this episode, we also find Sarah Jane talking to an alien species we’ve seen in the other Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood.
But unlike Torchwood, this series is not filled with adult content. Rather it is geared for the younger generation. A show Doctor Who fans can share with the next generation.
My kids still thought the Bane were a bit on the scary side, but they enjoyed the rest of the show. I could see some tweens really getting into this show. It’s a nice addition to the Doctor Who franchise.
I strongly suggested to Doctor Who fans looking for a little lighter adventure to check out the series. And to those who have not discovered Doctor Who or who are looking for some fun, light sci fi adventure, to check out The Sarah Jane Adventures.
You can catch the first episode online at scifi.com. New episodes air on the Sci Fi Channel Fridays at 7:30 p.m. EST.