Sarah Jane Adventures: Series One Summary
This was a pleasant surprise.
I mean, yes, the headline is Elisabeth Sladen reviving her iconic role as Sarah Jane Smith, one of my absolute favorite companions in Doctor Who. But I have also seen so many franchises falter when trying to cater to a younger crowd. All too often they water down the property to make it more – shall we say? – palatable for children, and that tends to carve away the support structure. Everything that made the material strong gets lost in an attempt to gain more eyes.
It’s insulting, really. It’s almost as if creators are asking children not to think or analyze, but just consume.
The Sarah Jane Adventures did not do that. It tackled issues important younger audiences – who could readily identify with the stars of the show – while not pulling any punches with the Doctor Who style. It was refreshing for the genre.
The characters are strong overall, and while I fault the BBC for removing Kelsey Hooper because they thought that there were too many women on the show, Clyde Langer is a decent enough replacement. I’m really enjoying the mentoring relationship between Maria and Sarah Jane, and the evolution of Sarah Jane Smith as she builds a family on Bannerman Road is beautiful.
(Other sources claim that Porsha Lawrence-Mavour was fired due to being rude and difficult to work with, but I haven’t seen anything definitive on that.)
When I was coming up to this show in the Timestamps Project, Michael French of Retroblasting told me that he enjoyed it. That was a strong endorsement, and it’s one that I agree with. I’m also glad that he didn’t spoil the big twist with Mr. Smith because that was fun to watch without knowing about it beforehand.
Series One comes in at an average of 4.3. In comparison to Doctor Who, that’s on par with Series One and Series Three near the top of the stack. This series easily beats the first series of Torchwood.
Sarah Jane Adventures Series One Average Rating: 4.3/5
From here, the path for the Timestamps Project continues on a mostly airdate order. Next up is Time Crash and Voyage of the Damned, followed by the second series of Torchwood and Series Four of Doctor Who.
We’re also on the verge of the holiday season, so Timestamp releases may take a break here and there over the next month or so. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for the most up to date scheduling info.
The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.