Daily Archives: September 23, 2013

The Companion

I was part of the most recent “Doctor Who Consumer Panel” which was just a lot of questions about favorite monsters and companions and other marketing stuff for a potential new game.

But it got me to thinking about the Companions.

You have to have a special gift really, to be a companion.

Adam, from 2 episodes in the Eccelston era was an exploration of what not to do.

He was vain, selfish and took undo advantage to make himself “superior” and ended up having to be “just average”.

He didn’t appreciate the opportunity.

**SNAP** 🙂

But I think you do have to have something of an attitude and a sense of adventure. Otherwise, you’re just Tegan and you’re grousing every minute. 🙂

Of course, Sarah Jane is the prototype.

But Clara is snarky, and full of that adventurous spirit. With courage and determination.

Her handling of the Cybermen affair in Neil Gaiman’s “Nightmare in Silver” proves that.

Amy Pond was the “girl who waited” and boy did she wait. Met the Doctor at 7. Abandoned by him. Messed up psychologically. Met him again for the Atraxi  as a Kissogram.

I always wondered how much business was there in Leadworth was for such a thing…. 🙂

Then she meets him yet again and the traveling begins.

“The Girl Who Waited” is a bravo performance from Karen Gillan as well as a cracking good story in and of itself.

The idea that the Doctor doesn’t save her. Then he does. And the temporal implications of two Amys.

Loved it. The best episode of Series 6 (32).

And the episode being built AROUND the companion themselves is a relatively new concept.

As great as Sarah Jane was, there was no episode specifically about HER. That had to come decades later when she was the lead in her own show.

In the original run Companions were not a focus. The Doctor was.

One of the closest you’d get was if the story involved a character who who would THEN become a companion. Like Nyssa in “The Keeper of Traken”. And since they referred to it more often she had a bit more back story than many.

But other than “Keeper” there was no specific episode just about HER at the center of it.

Even “Terminus”, her final story, isn’t all about her.

So the role and the depth of the Companion has changed, for the better really, in the course of the re-launch and you get much more from the companion. But then you also expect more from the companion as well.

The investment has to be worth it.

They have to be likeable.

Yes, Turlough was supposed to be a baddy out to kill the Doctor but he was such a wimp. Why the Black Guardian thought he could do it is beyond me.

They have to have a attitude.

Which is why I voted Ace as my second favorite in the survey. She had lots of attitude as I mentioned in a previous blog.

They have to have a sense of humor and sense of adventure and wonder.

If running around in all of time and space in a trans-dimensional Police Box with a 1200 year old alien from Gallifrey doesn’t excite you, don ‘t do it.

Clara’s character is set up as a person who wants to travel the world but can’t. So when the Doctor comes along she’s eventually ready to go, after the initial mistrust of the Madman in a Box.

And it will be interesting to see how the dynamic works with Peter Capaldi next year.

Because that, as I have said before, is one of the things that keeps the show fresh. by next year 12 Doctors (will see what happens with John Hurt here in a few months) and 43 companions.

They evolve and change with the Doctor and the times and thus nothing really ever gets stale, except Adric that is. 🙂

They are now even more of the dynamic than just “the audiences viewpoint” that they started out as.

I mean Susan was a rebellious, headstrong Teenager who traveled with her grandfather and then two teachers where there to be kind of go-betweens.

Jo Grant was “under the wing” of The Third Doctor. But she had her own mind to.

I have already spoken in a previous blog about the teams of the Second Doctor, Jaime & Victoria, Jaime and Zoe.

Leela was the Eliza doolittle of Doctor Who who was violent but was tempered and taught by the Doctor.

Ace was a rebellious street-wise teenage who like to blow things up. She was loud and proud. Just like the 80’s.

In some ways the original show ended as it began, with a Grandfather and his rebellious teenager who was growing up before our eyes.

Then it all changed for the re-launch because TV and it’s audiences had changed in the 16 years hence.

So now we have stories about the companions families. The companions back story. They are integral to many plots. And where Rose is involved frequently the one who solves the problem in the first place.

I mean it was Amy who figured out the Space Whale on Starship UK.

It was Rose Swinging down on a Chain that saw of the Nestene.

Clara, is the Impossible Girl.

So, even though we had a year without a companion -per se- and The Deadly Assassin with no companion at all, it is fair tio say that Donna was right. The Doctor does need someone.

And so do we.

They watch his back, they keep him sane, they ask the right questions, and, just sometimes, they get themselves into trouble. Without doubt, they are the Doctor’s greatest supporters. From London’s Powell Estate to the peaceful Union of Traken via Troy, San Francisco and Gallifrey, meet the Doctor’s companions.


And enjoy the new and inventive ways to say “What is it, Doctor?” 🙂