Now why am I going down memory lane to look back at the Sarah Jane Adventures? One, because of Russell T Davies’s Doctor Who filming soon. And two, it is a really good spinoff from the rebooted 2005 Doctor Who, alongside fellow spinoff Torchwood. The show may have abruptly ended due to the tragic passing of Elisabeth Sladen but it left behind some fantastic episodes and villains. I mean who wouldn’t want to see the Trickster face off against the Doctor again? So, before I get into the list properly, here is some history about the show.
The Sarah Jane Adventures first debuted in 2007 on CBBC and ran for 5 seasons until 2011. The show followed former TARDIS companion Sarah Jane Smith as she investigated alien activity on Earth. She was also accompanied by her adopted son Luke, his best friend Clyde and Maria, a girl from over the street. Although Maria was later replaced by Rani… Anyway, who were the show’s villains? Well, alongside cameos from classic Who villains like the Sontarans there were also some fantastic villains, like Erasmus Darkening and the best villain: The Trickster. This doesn’t even begin to touch on new Who villains like the Judoon and Slitheen. Also, the fact the show brought new fans and kids into the Doctor Who universe is just awesome. So without further ado, here are the best episodes of the Sarah Jane Adventures.
10: The Eternity Trap: Part 2 (S3, E8)
Kicking off the list of the best Sarah Jane Adventures is The Eternity Trap: Part 2. Now what makes Part 2 better than Part 1? Well, we finally see the madness of Erasmus Darkening’s plan. This involves trapping the souls of the people who lived in Ashen Hill Manor so he could live forever. So if any Doctor Who fans were worried villains weren’t going to be up to scratch, then this should alleviate those fears. Highlights of the episode include a far more sinister tone and some very inventive cinematography which helped to convey Darkening’s power without having to have him on screen.
9: The Day of the Clown: Part 2 (S2, E4)
If there was one thing the Sarah Jane Adventures did really well, it was incorporating the horror elements of the villains and the Doctor Who universe. Case in point, Oddbob the Clown in what is definitely not an homage to IT. However, Bradley Walsh puts in a fantastically terrifying performance as the Pied Piper/Oddbob the Clown/Elijah Spellman who no doubt terrified a generation of children. This episode also emphasises how the Sarah Jane Adventures adapted elements of classic myths like the Pied Piper coming from an alien meteor. Just a fantastic episode overall.
8: The Nightmare Man: Part 1 (S4, E1)
Need another example of the great horror elements of the Sarah Jane Adventures? Just take this episode as an example because the Nightmare Man is very good. So how does the Nightmare Man appear? Well simply put Sarah Jane’s adopted son, Luke, finally begins to experience nightmares as he is about to move away to Oxford University. This episode really feels quite relatable in some ways. And no I’m not referring to having an alien give you nightmares….. It’s the idea that anyone could get a nightmare but also how terrifying the first nightmare can seem. Especially to an alien…..
7: Mona Lisa’s Revenge: Part 2 (S3, E10)
Man, sometimes I love Russell T Davies. This episode is just one of many reasons because the premise is just so mental. So what is the premise? Basically the Mona Lisa was painted with an alien pigment from a meteorite at the same time as the most horrifying painting in the world. Yes really…. But the surreal nature of the Mona Lisa walking around the National Gallery holding a laser gun and bringing other paintings to life is something you need to see to believe. Anyway, this episode is also a Sarah Jane Lite one due to the cliffhanger that ended Part 1. This leads to a very clever piece of work from Clyde, who is one of the MVPs of this episode.
6: The Mark of the Berserker: Part 2 (S2, E8)
Speaking of episodes where Clyde is the MVP, take his arc across both Mark of the Berserker episodes. So, what makes his performance so good? Well, the central point of the narrative sees Clyde’s Dad return into his life so naturally he tries to impress him. However, he does this by taking him up to the attic of Sarah Jane’s house…. which is full of alien technology. Perhaps unsurprisingly Clyde’s Dad takes an alien pendant which can be used to manipulate people into doing the users bidding. This leads to Clyde struggling to separate his love that his Dad is back in his life and the fact his Dad is manipulating him. Overall, a good episode and a nice cameo from a familiar face in Maria and her Dad.
5: The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith: Part 2 (S2, E10)
At the halfway point of the best Sarah Jane Adventures is the second half of the Season 2 episode: The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith. Why is this episode so good? Well, mostly because it revolves around a villain who is going to feature a lot in the next entries: The Trickster. Here, he opens a rip in time to Sarah Jane’s past and makes her choose between living or willingly letting her parents die (which is the right thing to do in the context of the episode). Simply put, this allows the show to really develop Sarah Jane’s childhood whilst also furthering her bond with Rani, Luke and Clyde. Plus, the fact that the Trickster hasn’t appeared in Doctor Who is almost criminal…
4: What Ever Happened to Sarah Jane Smith?: Part 1 (S1, E7)
And speaking of the Trickster, his first appearance in the show is one of his best for a number of reasons. What are these reasons? Well, the first is the fact we see how dangerous he is when he simply erases Sarah Jane from existence with a flick of his hand. And it’s even worse because he erases any memory of her from everyone…. except Maria. So, Maria is left trying to bring Sarah Jane back before a meteorite crashes into the Earth, thus destroying it. Oh, also the fact this episode also hints at where the Trickster’s power comes from, which I’ll come back to in a later entry. Needless to say, it’s definitely different from physical power….
3: Death of the Doctor: Part 2 (S4, E6)
Remember when I mentioned some episodes of the Sarah Jane Adventures felt pretty weird and surreal? Well, Death of the Doctor Part 2 definitely fits that criteria. This is because it sees the Doctor appear again in the Sarah Jane Adventures to fight the Shanzeeth, a race of alien vultures who act like the Valkyries of space. Oh, and before you ask which Doctor appears, it’s the 11th Doctor: Matt Smith. Already this is great for comedic purposes with the Doctor swapping places with Clyde occasionally. But it also allows for one of the youngest Doctors to interact emotionally with two classic Who companions in Sarah Jane and a returning Jo Grant. Oh, and the ending is both wonderfully nostalgic and stupidly funny so this episode has everything really….
2: What Ever Happened to Sarah Jane Smith?: Part 2 (S1, E8)
Well, would you look at who we are once again talking about? Yep, it’s probably the reason kids who watched the Sarah Jane Adventures had nightmares: The Trickster. This episode ranks above the first part because of Andrea. Who’s Andrea? Well, she’s Sarah Jane’s friend who fell to her death on a rickety pier. However, thanks to the Trickster’s crafty bargaining she switched places with Sarah Jane (who died in this alternate reality). All of this culminates in a wonderful emotional climax where Andrea realises she has to sacrifice herself in order to save the world. It may be typical but it is still a fantastic episode.
1: The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith: Part 2 (S3, E6)
And the best episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures is…. The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith Part 2. And surprise, surprise it involves the Trickster and the Doctor. Only this time, it’s David Tennant’s 10th Doctor. So, when the Trickster appears on what is supposed to be the happiest day of Sarah Jane’s life and whisks her and her fiance away it’s up to the Doctor, Clyde, Luke, Rani and K-9 to get her back. Not only does this episode allow Tennant to have a (albeit brief) confrontation with the Trickster, which also teases the Pantheon of Discord, but it also allows him to work with Clyde, Rani and Luke. All of this leads to a great moment of character development for Clyde but it also shows how far the three kids have come since meeting Sarah Jane. Also, it yet again requires a sacrifice to defeat the Trickster and I bet you can’t guess who makes that sacrifice….. Overall, a worthy best ever episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures.
What are your favourite episodes of the Sarah Jane Adventures? Let me know in the comments below!