The Sarah Jane Adventures 5.1-2 – Sky (parts one and two)

And now to October 2011 and the final three Sarah Jane Adventures. These three stories were filmed along with the previous six in one longer production run. Another three were in development, but sadly, Elisabeth Sladen passed away that April. The mysterious Shopkeeper character played by Cyril Nri, introduced in “Lost in Time”, makes a second and final appearance here. Another story with the character had to be shelved, presumably the planned fifth series finale, which would have brought back the Trickster. They were also considering bringing back Sophie Aldred’s character Ace in series six.

So series five goes back to basics and gives Sarah Jane a new adoptive kid. This one’s named Sky, played by Sinead Michael, and, in something of a sci-fi TV tradition, we meet her as a baby and then she grows up, to about age twelve. This does have the feel of going in reverse. The show was made for CBBC, the network’s children’s channel, and Rani and Clyde must be in their last year of school at this point, so something like this was probably inevitable, though. Still, it’s entertaining in a way that SJA does beautifully well. Sky is “born” as a genetically-engineered weapon by a race of aliens, and causes electrical overloads whenever she becomes upset, leading to Clyde’s beautiful line “I’m in the middle of a nuclear power station and I’m carrying Baby Bang Bang!” Our son, naturally, enjoyed the whole show, but that line was his favorite moment.

The Sarah Jane Adventures 4.9-10 – Lost in Time (parts one and two)

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m fascinated by stories that we didn’t get to see. So “Lost in Time” is a favorite with me because it introduces Cyril Nri as a mysterious shopkeeper who is forbidden to travel in time, but, with the assistance of a parrot called the Captain, can send other people to other times to do his work for him. And apart from a very brief appearance in the following season, that’s pretty much all we get.

There’s a delightful bit of extra-canon possibility. Neil Gaiman, who wrote the following season’s wonderful “The Doctor’s Wife” – the high point of series six and second favorite Smith story behind his debut for me – contributed a little text piece to the 2012 Christmas Brilliant Book called “Eleven Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Corsair”, a character mentioned in that story, and Russell T. Davies suggested that the shopkeeper may have been one of the Corsair’s nine lives. One of the Corsair’s female incarnations (there were at least two) finally got a legit appearance in a comic published last year.

As for the actual adventure, it’s really entertaining and our son was practically hopping in place with excitement. Sarah Jane’s adventure with a young ghost hunter in the 1880s thrilled him most. When time seemed to run out and she hadn’t grabbed the macguffin to return to the present, his fists were clenched as tightly as any child’s fists can be.