With the success of the Doctor Who re-launch as well as its adult-themed spin-off Torchwood, the pickings are ripe for executive producer Russell T. Davies. With both the mainstream and adult audiences covered, they were left with one more market to conquer — the children’s market. In The Sarah Jane Adventures, sights are set as we join the Doctor’s former companion as she sets forth to investigate alien activity on planet Earth.
At first glance, a Doctor Who fan may fear the worst when hearing news of a child-themed outing for the longstanding franchise. With many feeling wary after the writing quality of Torchwood, one’s first thought would be more of the same for this newest endeavor. After watching the pilot, it would appear that we’re in luck. For a series pilot, The Sarah Jane Adventures manages to be both action packed and well written.
Those familiar with the series will recognize Sarah Jane as the former companion to both the John Pertwee Doctor, as well as the Tom Baker Doctor. With her appearance in the recent "School Reunion" episode of current Doctor David Tennant's reign, we learn that Sarah, longing for the days of adventure alongside the Doctor, still has an eagerness to explore the unknown. Working as a journalist with her dilapidated sidekick, K-9, Sarah happened across the Doctor once again investigating strange goings on at a local high school.
In The Sarah Jane Adventures, a year and a half has passed since her last meeting with the Doctor and her urge for knowledge about the unknown has grown even more. Presenting us with an untrusting and unapproachable village ‘weirdo’, the series kicks off with the very same Sarah Jane that we were shown in her last appearance in "School Reunion".
Joining Sarah Jane this time around is her new neighbor, thirteen-year-old Mariah Page. New to the neighborhood, Maria is somewhat shy and forlorn over having to leave her friends back home. Awakened late one night, Maria ventures outside to oversee Sarah Jane visiting with an alien. Piquing her curiosity, Maria then sets out to befriend this strange neighbor in order to fully understand just what she had seen. As Mariah makes friends and visits the local Bubble Shock factory, the new all natural soft drink taking the country by storm, she soon stumbles upon a mystery that is strange enough to capture the attention of intrepid reporter, Sarah Jane Smith. As Sarah and Mariah work together for the first time, Sarah Jane begins to soften and lose her ‘weirdo’ edge.