29 September 2007

The Sarah Jane Adventures begins

After the success of the revived Doctor Who, Russell T Davies created a spin-off around popular guest star John Barrowman. Torchwood is a more adult version of Who, featuring stories that have more violence, sex and swear words.

It was as huge a success as the mother series.

But who would've thought another spin-off could work? Well, with three CSI's, three Law & Orders, why not three shows based around Doctor Who? That third one, The Sarah Jane Adventures, came about due to School Reunion, a second series adventure that featured the return of Elizabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, who ventured with the Third and Fourth Doctor during TOS run back in the 197o's.

Sladen could be considered the series best companion ever created, as she really was the first fully, three-dimensional female traveler of the Doctor. And she certainly remains, after 30 years, one of the most loved companions.

But unlike the very dark, sexualized Torchwood, and the semi-dark whimsey, pop cultural refrences within the new Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures is designed for the younger crowd -maybe, even what TOS was designed to be back in the 1960's.

The new series launched on New Years Day in England with a special episode called The Invasion of the Bane. It's a hoot, with current James Bond Miss Moneypenny, Samantha Bond, just tearing up the scenery as an alien out to convert the world into zombies. And it's amazing in many ways to see Liz Sladen back as the iconic character of Sarah Jane, a role she seems to love playing.

On September 24, the show launched with Revenge of the Slitheen, bringing back the farting family of aliens first introduced in a 2-part Who episode from the first season of the new series.
The show, it seems, was slightly retooled, as one actress was dropped in favor of new one. Which, I think is better.

(I caught both of these episodes off of Youtube).

While the show is geared towards young audience, I liked it, including returning to the old format of Doctor Who, by having the show run a half-hour, with a cliffhanger to get people to return for the next episode.

And while, like Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures are not directly linked to Doctor Who, Sarah does mention him, and UNIT. In the pilot, we saw K9 (though due to copywrite issues and licensing fee's, the robotic dog will not be a part of the series) doing something with a blackhole, which was just odd and very random. But I suppose they could not say anything about him, considering at the end of School Reunion, Sarah is seen walking away with an upgraded verison of K9.

Besides, an animated series featuring K9 is scheduled to debut in 2009, so that may also be the reason why he's not on The Sarah Jane Adventures.

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