Part of the Big Finish Doctor Who Audio Play series, Sarah Jane Smith is, naturally, a spin-off focusing on the Doctor's most popular companion. Years after her adventures with the Doctor, with her reporting career in shambles following a botched investigation into a major corporation, Sarah Jane finds herself once again saving the world, this time with the aid of her friend Natalie Redfern and her new acquaintance Josh Townsend.
While considerably darker in tone than its parent series, the nine-episode audio drama, which ran from 2002-2006, draws regularly on previously-established continuity. The second series ends on a cliffhanger which would never be resolved, as Sarah Jane's return in the revived series of Who and her subsequent spin-off series meant Big Finish were no longer permitted to use her. Presumably, she got out of it somehow.
Recaps are listed under Big Finish Doctor Who.
Tropes used in this series include:
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Orphans of the Future.
- Anti Hero: Arguably Sarah Jane herself. She sometimes comes across as a bit of a Jerkass, puts the greater good ahead of her friends' lives, and in "The TAO Connection," she essentially murders the villain of the episode.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: The Orphans of the Future are almost all aristocrats, and both of its dueling factions are pretty nasty.
- Big Bad: Miss Winters, an old enemy of Sarah Jane's from her first adventure with the Fourth Doctor. Until she's unceremoniously killed off between seasons.
- Brown Note: What's actually killing people in "Ghost Town".
- Bus Crash: Miss Winters and Harris between season one and two.
- Call-Back: The events of the Doctor Who episodes "Robot" and "The Mask of Mandragora" prove to be very important here, and the series picks up years after the original Sarah Jane spin-off, K-9 and Company.
- Creepy Housekeeper: Subverted with Dmitri in "Ghost Town."
- Darker and Edgier: Than both Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures.
- Deadpan Snarker: Josh.
- Depraved Homosexual: Will Butley in "The TAO Connection."
- Downer Ending: The entire series, depending on your interpretation of the ending. Was Sarah Jane abducted by aliens, picked up by the TARDIS, or did she simply die alone in space?
- The Dragon: Harris, to Miss Winters.
- Expy (or Suspiciously Similar Substitute, depending on how you want to define Doctor Who canon): Ellie Martin for Samantha "Sam" Jones, a former Doctor Who companion from BBC Books' Eighth Doctor Adventures range of novels. While still in the planning stages, the intent was to have Sam (who had left the Doctor's company in Interference - Book Two (Hour of the Geek), which also featured Sarah Jane Smith) be a series regular. Before recording began, however, Big Finish made a decision to distance themselves from BBC Books' continuity, so they swapped out one politically correct environmental protestor for another.
- It Gets Easier: Josh, later in the series. It causes problems in his friendships with both Sarah Jane and Nat.
- Kick the Dog: What Miss Winters does to K-9.
- The Man Behind the Man: Miss Winters is behind pretty much everything that happens in season one.
- Mission Control: Nat.
- The Mole: Josh.
- Mundanger: Several episodes have few, if any, sci-fi elements.
- Rapid Aging: How Butley finally dies in "The TAO Connection."
- "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: "Ghost Town," complete with Lampshade Hanging and a Shout Out to the Trope Namer.
- Sinister Minister: The Squire in "Comeback."
- Snow Means Death: In "Snow Blind."
- Took A Level In Jerk Ass: Sarah Jane herself, after she left the Doctor (see Anti Hero above). When she's called on it, she says that she basically had to in order to make life-or-death decisions for herself and others when the Doctor isn't there to save the day.
- Town with a Dark Secret: Cloots Coombe in "Comeback."