Waiting in line to get gas aside, there is another reason why I feel like a kid again…and as you can see from the photo and embedded videos below, it has to do with my biggest geek trait—my fandom of “Doctor Who.”
One of the key ingredients to the sci-fi hodge podge that is “Doctor Who” is the role of the companion. While Billie Piper’s portrayal of companion Rose Tyler in the current version of the series has been, for the most part, excellent, the yardstick every companion is measured by is Sarah Jane Smith, the investigative reporter played by Elisabeth Sladen who tagged along with Doctors No. 3 and 4 from 1973-1976.
So this past Saturday in the UK, the episode “School Reunion” aired on BBC One featuring the return of Sarah Jane Smith and robot dog K-9 (Mark III) to “Doctor Who.” Aside from an appearance in the 1983 20th anniversary special “The Five Doctors,” the last viewers saw Sarah Jane Smith was in the pilot for a potential spin-off series called “K-9 and Company” that featured Sarah in post-companion life in 1981 (the year it aired) as an investigative reporter with K-9 Mark III appearing as a gift from The Doctor.
In “School Reunion,” set in the present day, Sarah Jane comes to a school to investigate strange happenings that have also come to the attention of the Doctor and Rose. Obviously, Sarah Jane doesn’t recognize the current Doctor (he has regenerated six times since he dropped her off for the final time in ’76), but the Doctor introduces himself as John Smith, an alias he often uses. When she discovers the TARDIS (the Doctor’s ship) tucked away in a remote corner of the school and sees the man who earlier identified himself as John Smith, she realizes it is the Doctor.
OK…I’m rapidly sinking into full-blown geek mode…anyway, it was just fun to see Sarah Jane Smith and K-9 in “Doctor Who” again. It reminded me of being about 11 years old and seeing her and Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor batting the title character in the episode called “Robot” on WOR (Channel 9) one Saturday afternoon. At first, I kept it on because it looked completely silly…and then I looked past the clunky sets and crappy special effects and found it to be delightfully and weirdly entertaining.
Anyway, here are a few clips from “School Reunion,” courtesy of YouTube:
Classic Doctor Who: Sarah Jane Smith gets dropped off in 1976
The Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith meet again
K-9 to the rescue! Sort of
“You bad dog…AFFIRMATIVE!”
Note: Yes, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fans, that is Anthony Stewart Head (aka Giles) as the school’s evil headmaster and lead Krillitane.