So the second half of season seven of Doctor Who has kicked off and right now, it is a lot better than the show has been in a while. The main focus is on the Doctor’s new companion and Amy Pond’s replacement, Clara Oswin Oswald, the enigmatic, feisty character the writers have paired the Doctor with this season. It is too early to really judge the character at this point (although, so far, she is ticking all the right boxes), but I thought it would be a good time to look back at some of the other companions we have seen in the revamped Doctor Who.
I have also ordered them in my preference, which I know is a pretty heated topic amongst the Who-hards (I don’t know the proper vernacular for Who fans), giving my reasons for liking or disliking the character. Please feel free to defend any companion you think I give a bad rap.
4 – MARTHA JONES
OK, let me put this bluntly: I hate Martha Jones as a character.
I think the main reason I am so strongly opposed to this companion is Freema Agyemen’s totally wooden performance. Every time she is on screen, it rubs me up the wrong way. She plays the character all bug-eyed and overly dramatic. Also, the writers are never sure what to do with her character. She is always hanging around the canon, waiting for the storyline to swerve her way. This kind of made sense, when there were countless spin-offs, as she could make guest appearances here and there, but now, she just pops up for the fans.
It seems fairly obvious that some of my points hit home to the writers, as her character was slowly faded into nothingness. Her time on the show was so brief; she was never able to really make an impact on the audience, like the other companions could. Maybe that’s why I never could get along with her character. She just pales to insignificance in comparison.
3 – DONNA
In all fairness, I assumed Catherine Tate would be the worst thing to happen to Doctor Who, when it was first revealed she was coming onto the show. The twist at the end of the second season, when she materialises into the TARDIS in a wedding dress had me at mixed emotions. It seemed like a comedy name thrown into an episode to grab some extra viewers and Tate is the kind of character who is so strong that it drowns out some of the other features in the series.
The Christmas episode was surprisingly good though (one of the most memorable yet), and Catherine Tate made a good guest star. However, my fears crept back up when in Season Four, she became a proper companion. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be though. Sure, it wasn’t the best series (in fact, the worst yet), but when it did come up with a good episode (the Vashta Nerada story was great), it became clear that Tate was not to blame for the flaws. The good thing with comedy characters is that when they turn their hand to the serious stuff, and if they can actually pull it off, it becomes all the more powerful (one of the reasons Matt Smith is such a great Doctor).
Also I love how they left Donna. Her memory was corrupted by the Doctor, so if she remembers any of it, she will die. I think that is a really good storyline and something that the writers can use if the story heads in that direction again. It doesn’t look like it will, but I am actually looking forward to the idea that Donna may make a comeback to the series (Christmas special maybe?).
2 – AMY POND
Amy Pond was my favourite companion for a long while. She was independent, funny and could match the Doctor when it came to a lot of things. I admit I do prefer the opening episodes, before Rory joined the show (I don’t like more than one companion at a time), but she still kept her cool throughout the season. I think what I like the most about Pond’s character is that she grew as the series went along. It made Amy feel much more three-dimensional and strong as a character.
Where she falls down, and I have brought this up in an earlier article, is her death. The final episode of Amy and Rory was one of the worst finales yet. Her death could have been hard-hitting, but the writers overdid the emotion of the piece. It was too much and I would have preferred it to have been played more subtle. Something awesome could have been done there, but the writers played it safe and the character suffered for it.
1 – ROSE TYLER
But, Rose was always going to win.
She is just so relatable: that girl that was taken from a quiet life. Nice, but a little too safe. The Doctor came along, injected that life into her and turned her into a time-travelling adventurer. Let’s be honest, we would all love it to happen to us and Billie Piper managed to embody that quiet girl in an exciting place. The other companions are so much larger than life that this small-town girl (in a lonely world – sorry), feel doesn’t really get across anymore.
Also, I know it could come across as cheesy, but I miss the romance factor. The writers haven’t been doing it since Rose, because another romantic liaison would have cheapened her character’s connection with the Doctor, but I believe enough time has passed. I think Clara and the Doctor should have a love story going on between them, because the stakes are raised that little bit higher. Instead what we have is an absence, where everyone is just waiting for Rose to come back to the show to bring back some of that life. But the show has moved on. Rose isn’t coming…
What? She’s back for the anniversary episode? Oh…… Thanks for killing my point, Moffat!
I know that this is one of the most viewed posts on my blog and therefore I shall link you to my review on ‘Day of the Doctor’ which sums up my feelings of the new companions, Clara Oswald adequately.