The Nightmare Man.
“The Sarah Jane Adventures” is a science fiction series produced by the BBC. It is a spin off from the well known and successful programme “doctor who”. The Sarah Jane Adventures focuses on the adventures and investigations from Sarah Jane herself who plays a journalist.
The opening sequence of “The Sarah Jane Adventures, really catches the viewers attention, and you decide on that first 30 second introduction, whether you’re carrying on watching it or not. The introduction is very bright, colourful, and full of adventure, you see clips of what’s happening in the episode which entices you even more. The music is very electronic, and has that sci-fi feeling; it’s very alien, magical, and catchy. There is a lot of anachronic narration in the opening scene, it shows what’s happened before and also shows you what features in the episode. This is a good feature because it catches your attention, and because there’s a lot going on, and there are a lot of cuts to other scenes, it makes it more enjoyable. Most of the main characters, including Rani, Sarah-Jane, Clyde and Luke are shown, and you get a feeling of what sort of people there going to be, there is a lot of variety of different people, and this is good for children, because everyone is different. The “Sarah Jane” in the title, is done in a type-writer font, this is because she is a journalist in the series.
In many children’s dramas there is what’s known as an “evil adult or annoying sibling”. In this episode of the “Sarah Jane adventures” the evil adult is “The Nightmare Man”. Over a period of 5 days Luke has nightmares about something that is coming, something bad that’s going to take over the world. Eventually “The Nightmare Man” comes to life, on earth and causes nothing but havoc, mischief and misery, so Luke, Rani, Clyde, and Sarah Jane’s job is to get rid of the villain as soon as possible.
“Sarah-Jane adventures” is a very extraterrestrial program. It’s very mysterious, adventurous and full of power. In all of the episodes, Sarah Jane’s electronic sonic lipstick appears. Sarah Jane's Sonic Lipstick is just like the Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver, so there is a similarity between doctor who here. K9 also appears in “Doctor who & the Sarah-Jane Adventures.” K9 is a robot dog who accompanies Sarah, and gives her information about aliens, and aides her in completing missions.
Children’s drama’s typically have something that goes wrong, or a twist that they have to solve. In “The Nightmare Man” The problem is first of all, Luke dreaming. Luke’s dreams are giving the Nightmare man power, and once he has enough power he can become a realistic human figure on earth. There is allot of anachronic narration when he comes to earth, you can see into rani & Clyde’s nightmares. For example Rani’s nightmare, is her being pulled into the TV, by the BBC production lady. Rani then has to tell everyone who Sarah Jane Smith is and how she puts young children at risk, Rani then has to destroy Sarah Jane Smith forever. The nightmare man then causes havoc for the whole street, causing everyone to have nightmares, giving him more and more power.
The quest to save the world from the Nightmare man. With Luke, Rani, Clyde and Sarah-Jane, they all have to get rid of the Nightmare man, and send him away to where he came from. Mr Smith comes into the scene allot more now, telling us who he is, where he is from, and what he does. In this part of the episode there is allot of cuts to other scenes, and all of the main characters come together.
In every child’s drama, there is what’s known as, the 8 broad character types. Vladimir Propp was the one that concluded this. They include, the villain, which in “The Sarah Jane Adventures” is the Nightmare man. The villain is the character that struggles against the hero. The princess, who in this case, is everyone, having nightmares, especially Luke, Rani & Clyde. The hero, who is Sarah Jane, she is the character that makes everything ok, back to normal, and keeps everyone safe. Others include false hero, the dispatcher, The Donor, a Helper, and the Seeker.
The diegesic in “The Sarah-Jane Adventures is that there living on a normal planet, known as earth. Sarah-Jane is living life as a journalist, but is actually an alien investigator, and the planet is normal, but is frequently visited by all sorts of un-human creatures. The verisimilitude of Sarah-Jane Adventures for a more mature audience is obviously fiction, but for a young audience they may perceive the series as real. The fact that in all of the episodes an un-human figure appears, although this is done by imagination, they have made it look real, rather than cartoon.
CLIFFHANGERS.....used by loads of programmes today. There always at the end of a programme, and feature a main character, hero or villain, in a difficult dilemma. A cliff-hanger is hoped to ensure the audience will return to see how the characters resolve the dilemma. For example in ‘The Nightmare Man’, the episode ends with Luke, Clyde and Rani trying to figure out how they’re going to wake up from there nightmares, and with the villain putting nightmares into everyone whilst there sleeping. They ended the episode on this point then you are encouraged to wait and see what the outcome is, and to see if Sarah-Jane saves the world once again.
In conclusion, the storyline of Sarah-Jane’s Adventures is very simple and easy to follow. It suits kid’s minds, and even some teenagers. The series has been very successful and has bought entertainment to many people. Unfortunately no more are going to be made, due to the resent death of Elizabeth Sladen, who played Sarah-Jane.
In ‘children’s drama’s’ there is what’s known as, a code of practice. The code of practice is the rules & boundaries given to a producer, telling them what not to include in a children’s drama.
For example, “do not include strobes or flashing lights”, this would be because Strobe lighting can trigger seizures in photosensitive epilepsy.
Everything in a children’s drama has to be, LEGAL, DECENT, & SAFE.
Having children work on set.
A license is required for all child performers under the age of 16, to work on set; you have to get these from your local authority, before they can work, and a registered chaperone will be engaged. If the child is working on set during school term, then a fully-qualified and experienced teacher must also be appointed, then, both chaperone and tutor will have to be checked by the police. Also children in the entertainment business aren’t so much limited to the number of hours a day they work, but there is a restriction on how many hours a week they can work.
Narrative: Narrative is defined as a chain of events in a cause effect relationship occurring in time.
Unrestricted narration- This is a narrative which has no limits to the information that is told. For example the news and the weather.
Restricted narration- This narration offers minimal information regarding the narrative, for example thrillers and horrors.
“The Sarah-Jane Adventures” is a restricted series which gives limited information to the viewers. They do this then you carrying on watching the episodes, and have to work things out for yourself. Throughout the episode you see a lot of restricted narration, for example, you don’t find out who the Nightmare man is straight away, they keep it hidden. You see brief clips of him, in Luke’s dreams, this makes you want to see the outcome, so you carry on watching it. You don’t see the Nightmare man, until towards the end of the episode; they have done this then your encouraged to watch the next one. The episode ends on a cliff-hanger of the nightmare man putting nightmares into everyone’s minds.
This episode of Sarah-Jane adventures also shows clips of objective character narration, this is the viewer given access to a characters mind, dreams and memories. This shown when the “Night-mare man possesses the minds of Luke, Clyde and Rani’s. You see into the minds of them, and see their dreams. They have included this to show you the power of the nightmare man, and to get you thinking about what the outcome is going to be.
Tzvetan Todorov felt that that there were five different stages in narrative. These consist of, Equilibrium, which is the beginning when everything is normal and nothing drastic has taken place. In this episode, the beginning consist of Luke talking about the nightmare man on camera, it then goes back a year in time, which is known as anachronic narration, where you see flashbacks and flash forwards. 2nd is the Disruption of the equilibrium, the disruption in the episode is Luke having dreams about the Nightmare man, and the fact that he is moving to oxford. The third point in Todorov’s theory is the recognition of the disruption, this is when they realise the problem is happening. This happens when Luke starts having the dreams, and realises there’s something wrong, because he can’t dream, because of the way he was created by wormwood. Another problem is the Nightmare man becoming a human figure on earth, and putting nightmares into everyone’s minds giving him great power. The fourth stage is an attempt to repair the situation; it starts with finding out who he is, where he is from, and what he wants. They then have to try and get rid of him, and send him away to where he came from. At the same time, Luke, Rani and Clyde, have to figure out, how to wake up from their dreams, and get back to reality. The last point is, the reinstatement on the equilibrium, this is everything going back to normal in the episode. In the nightmare man, they do this by finally getting rid of him, and Luke going to university in oxford.
Todorov’s theory is very noticeable in almost every programme created, and has become an ideal start to create a children’s dramas today.
GENRE, TYPE, CATEGORY. “The Sarah-Jane adventures”, is a hybrid genre, this means that it has more then one genre. Genre is the category something fits into for example; Mr Bean is a comedy, and ps. I love you, is a romance.
Healthy and safety always has to be taken into consideration when creating anything on TV. For example if you’re filming outside, you have to take precautions if someone gets hurt. Also if there is a lot of props and scenery, you have to make sure its safe, not going to fall n someone, or isn’t too heavy for somebody to carry.
If you’re working with children on set, you have to have a crb, and be a qualified chaperone. You also have to have a qualified tutor with you if you’re working with children on set in school term. The director also has to make sure the set is appropriate for children, and there not in any harm. The area in which a child is working on set, also has to be clean, and away from anything harmful, for example, no drugs, no alcohol, no swearing, no racism, and no rude content on set. Children should not be influenced in a negative way, and feel uncomfortable around people on set.