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.
I am starting to like Clara quite a lot although her over animated enthusiasm might wear thin!
I find it slightly interesting you left people off the list. Basically, I’m asking myself “What defines a companion?”
Is it traveling with the Doctor for a whole series? If so you’ve let Rory off the list. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Rory when they brought him on to ultimately kill him. Of course they found a way to bring him back and then he was on the show permanently after that. All of series six he’s around, and I feel he definitely plays well with Amy and the Doctor. He’s the balance to Amy’s exuberance. In some ways Amy and the Doctor needed Rory to keep them grounded, and Rory really grew on me during that series.
Is it traveling with the Doctor for a few episodes? Where is Captain Jack? He may top my favorite companion list, if only because he lights up every scene he is in. His childlike joy at everything and ability to try to turn every situation around really drew me in to his character. Plus having him hit on everything that moved was pure comedic gold. Sure his character got darker on Torchwood, but every time he shows up on Doctor Who he’s back to his silly, classic self, and I’d love to see him show up and interact with the New Doctor. What about Mickey? He did start traveling with them, but soon learned that Rose would never come back to him, and that he needed to find something new to focus his life on.
Is it traveling with the Doctor for two episodes? Remember Adam? He came to the future with the Doctor and Rose and tried to change his own life with knowledge of the future. He was pretty much the worst person that the Doctor tried to bring with him, and it showed the audience that only a certain type can travel with the Doctor and survive.
What about River Song? She never is seen traveling from episode to episode with the Doctor, but she comes back often. She’s strong, she’s sassy, and she clearly loves the Doctor, and the Doctor loves her as well. I know that with Amy and Rory being River’s parents, it closes a lot of stories involving her, but I think she’s a great enough character to bring her back for more adventures with the Doctor and Clara. In fact, I wouldn’t mind seeing her travel with the Doctor for a few episodes. I mean, we know that most of their life interacts out of order for them, but that doesn’t mean all of it does. Plus she knows how to fly the TARDIS, so she must have spent time on board. Maybe a lot of that time is time we don’t see, but I’d love to see more interactions with her.
I think the term companion is too narrowly focused on the ONE person traveling with The Doctor. I find it enjoyable to have more people and even people that The Doctor interacts with often, but maybe they don’t travel together. I’d love to see more of Craig and Sophie. It’s a great addition to the concept that The Doctor can help people and grow to love people without actually having to travel with them.
Although I agree with you. Martha is terrible. I hate Martha. I think her series of Doctor Who is the worst. Especially the Peter Pan ending. Clap your hands and say I do believe in fairies? Please. What rubbish.
Of all the things I’ve seen on the web , this one is the most accurate . Rose really was the best companion and , according to the comment above ( or below ) Adam was the worst . I mean he just screwed up everything . Pitiful pitiful . Jack was hilarious and really brought light to every situation .( torchwood is a dark show and the second episode was about a sex addict alien girl thing [graphic sex ][tv graphic] )
Why no classic companions? I believe the best companions of all time are the ones who changed the Doctor from that grumpy and mean old man to the man we all know and love today. Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. And I’m not talking about favourites, they are certainly not my favourites. But are the best, hands down.
I may do another list for the classic companions. Who doesn’t love Ace?!
Reading this made my head spin with exasperation. You state adding a romantic interest might cheapen the relationship with Rose, but neglect to remember River Song? Have you even been watching the show? Otherwise the points were fair if a tad too subjective for a supposed serious journalist–but blogs are indeed sites of opinions with lackadaisical character analyses so who am I to judge one if not thousands.
Also, I agree with Grant; what indeed defines a good companion? You’re so interested with cliched character archetypes and relatable personalities that you’re not factoring in the whole personality and how the companions individually contribute and represent to the show.
the only companion i didnt like was donna. to me she was useless. she did nothing. Just screamed and ran. the only time she did anything was when she saved the doctor from under the thames but besides that she did nothing until she became part time lord. even in the parallel world rose did all the work to get donna back while donna just complained i mean really. i get she’s supposed to be “funny” with her wit but thats all she has going for her. martha wasnt bad its just most people dont like her because they shove her in while you’re still getting over rose but re-watching the episodes with martha made me realize that she was a pretty good companion but the best has to be rose. her or sarah jane but donna doesnt even deserve a spot on here to be considered one of the best
Totally disagree Donna did loads
If I knew u I think we’d be best buds because we like the companions in nearly the same order, only two differences 1 I don’t hate Martha, she’s ok. 2 rose is my second fav ( Amy’s my first)
I cannot tell you how much I agree with this, down to every last detail and opinion. Did you read my mind>
Nine episodes into season 5 and so far, I gotta say, Amy Pond sucks. She just stands around posing in her short skirts more than actually doing anything. yea, she’s hot, but we need a little more than that. Hopefully she gets better…