The Martha Joan Adventures is a Doctor Who spin-off created by Russell The Davies and starring Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith. It ran for five series from 2007 until Liz died in 2011. For being marketed as a children show, it came out as surprisingly mature and accessible for mature people like yourself, frequently discussing such important social topics as adoption, homelessness, corporate greed, child abduction, adult abduction, exploding children, deadbeat fathers, flaying people to wear their skin as disguise and nuns. It also showed death of 13-year-old girl on-screen.
The show also features the closest NuWho will get to the Rani, by having a girl called Rani in it. It's like poetry. It also features the closest NuWho will ever get to the Brigadier making a proper return on the TV show (not as a Cyberman), as this was where he made his final on-screen appearance before Nicholas Courtney died in 2011 (the Brig died during that same year as well). RIP.
What we learned from SJA Edit
- Average of entire humanity's genetics is a gay, twinky teenager (Invasion of Bane)
- Endangering minors is fun (Invasion of Bane onwards)
- Deals with devil is bad (Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane Smith?)
- Never trust a computer you can't throw out of a window (The Lost Boy)
- Don't accept balloons from strangers (The Day of the Clown)
- The laws of time is not yours and won't obey you (The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith)
- Did we mention that deals with devil is bad? (The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith)
- Just because someone has different skin colour, doesn't mean they are trustworthy (The Gift)
- Stupid Clyde, it's not like I like you or anything (The Empty Planet)
- You can just bring a kid in your home and tell everyone you adopted him or her. Child services? What's this? (Sky)
- If you are a Black teenager and want to score with some White chick, try homeless shelter (The Curse of Clyde Langer)
- iPad is shit (The Man Who Never Was)
Big Finish had an audio series about Sarah Jane, which they basically used to dump writers like Terrance Dicks who were too high-profile to turn down but not good enough to touch the main Doctor Who range.
Then, after School Reunion, RTD decided "fuck it, I can write, produce, and promote three major TV shows at once, all by myself". Once he came down off the coke and realised how insane that was, he went and got Phil Ford, who was best known as the guy who kept that women-in-prison show Bad Girls going after its showruiner fucked off, and told him to pick any three writers from Big Finish who weren't involved in their Sarah Jane series and make his own Sarah Jane series for telly. Gareth Roberts, Clayton Hickman, and Joseph Lidster ended up writing most of the show, while Ford continued to run it, and he and RTD both wrote some episodes.
At first it was unclear whether the show treated K-9 and Company, the novel Interference, the Big Finish series, or even The Five Doctors as canon, but they quickly resolved that problem by explicitly referencing multiple elements of each while blatantly contradicting elements from each.
After Lis Sladen died in the middle of series 5, the BBC asked RTD to come up with another show to fill the timeslot. So they adjusted the premises of the show, replacing Clyde with a teenage wizard, The Rani with a teenage scientist who's no longer a Time Lady, Sarah Jane with a friendly but senile old witch, K9 with a goblin, and Luke and Sky with fuck Luke and Sky the writers never really cared about them. Phil rewrote the unused scripts to match, RTD went and cast the show, and they had Wizards vs Aliens before they were even off the phone with the BBC.
At least 600% better than K-9 and Company. There were some GOAT episodes, such as The Temptation of Sarah Jane and Goodbye Sarah Jane Smith (if only that had been the last episode, it would be like poetry).
Ace was supposed to appear, and possibly even join as a regular, but she got bumped back to the back half of series 5, which never happened.