Playing favorites

doctor-who-companions-63-13My husband asked me today to list my three favorite companions. Now, number one should come as no surprise to anyone who’s read what I’ve written before: Donna Noble is definitely the best. No question. No hesitation. Just the best. But the top three? That took a bit more thought, and I realized that I could probably name my top five, but I had a lot of problems with top three. So, here are my top five companions, not listed in order, except of course with Donna at the top. (I’m counting only traveling companions, not one-shots and few-shots like Jackson Lake, Wilfred Mott, and Craig Owens. Also please note that I’m not very familiar with the companions of the first three Doctors and a few of the other classic companions.)

Five Favorite Companions

Donna Noble: Donna was the perfect support for the Tenth Doctor. She acted as his conscience, and was the friend that he needed. She was always willing to defend her beliefs and was strong enough to stand up for herself, even against the Doctor. Both she and the Doctor grew while they were together.

Sarah Jane Smith: A strong, confident, fearless ย woman, she was always willing to get right into the heart of the problem. She also worked well with all of the Doctors she met. I think a lot of Sarah Jane’s appeal had to do with her actress, Elisabeth Sladen, a woman who just sparkled on screen.

Vislor Turlough: One of the things I really like about Turlough is that he had secrets. His introductory stories were about his deal with the Black Guardian, which bound him to trying to kill the Doctor. The only other episode of his I have seen so far is “Planet of Fire,” and again, in that, we find out about his history on Trion, which he has guarded up until this time. He’s a survivalist, which makes him look a bit cowardly, but this makes him more realistic, as well as rounds out his character.

Ace McShane: Ace was a rough-and-ready street urchin, a great complement for the educated, sophisticated, and cunning Seventh Doctor. She was straightforward and unapologetic, and sometimes her decisions would cause more trouble than they would solve, but that’s how she was.

Rory Williams: Rory was loyal to the Eleventh Doctor without being obsessed with him, an important contrast to Amy. Thus, his motivations were far more complex, and it also allowed him to be a less than perfect companion: he was fearful of danger, worried for Amy, and distrusting of the Doctor.

Honorable Mentions

Tegan Jovanka: I haven’t seen enough Tegan, I think. She’s brash, blunt, and obnoxious – in short, a lot of fun.

Barbara Wright: I’ve only seen two First Doctor episodes, but I really loved Barbara in both of them. She’s not a sympathetic character, but she’s confident and takes charge when she needs to.

Companions I Don’t Like

Rose Tyler: Not a popular opinion, I know. I liked her a lot more in series 1, but in series 2, during the show’s “let’s see how silly the Doctor can be when he’s in love” stage, she’s insufferable. She’s whiny and selfish, manipulates the Doctor when she can, and treats everyone else like crap (especially Mickey, but also Jackie). Her writing was also erratic, portrayed as a strong, take-charge person in one episode and a cringing coward in the next. During the Darlig Ulv Stranden scene, I cried for the Doctor, but was glad to see Rose go.

Melanie Bush: I’ve only seen her in “Time and the Rani,” which was a terrible episode, but Mel made it so much worse. I am hoping she turns out to be better when she’s in a non-terrible episode.

Clara Oswald: The “Impossible Girl” arc was interesting, but Clara herself has no character. She simply seems to exist as a deus ex machina for stories in which the Doctor doesn’t win. And then suddenly we find out that she fancies him, with no previous, in-character clues. I’m hoping she’s treated better in the new series.



8 responses to “Playing favorites

  1. In order:

    Donna Noble was awesome. Statement of fact.

    Want to see more Sarah Jane being amazing? Watch the Sarah Jane Adventures. She starts off as a bit of a loner but once she adopts Luke and gets to know Maria and Clyde she warms up and becomes the Sarah we all knew and loved once more.

    Another good Turlough episode is Frontios. Turlough gets to confront the fear of an enemy from his peoples past that was so horrible and deadly that the information on them became a racial memory. He does so to give the Doctor the knowledge necessary to deal with them. Turlough does freak out from it, of course, but he rises to the challenge. After all, they, including himself, might not have survived if he didn’t.

    Ace beat a Dalek with a metal baseball bat and blew things up for fun. If that isn’t “ace”, I don’t know what is. Plus she’s cute in those times she shows her age, like at the end of her first story when she jumps for joy when being offered the scenic route to her destination by the Seventh Doctor.

    Rory’s main motivation: Amelia Jessica Pond. Even as a child, he followed her wherever she went; he knew where his future lied even if she were to find love with someone else. He also likes helping people.

    Oh, Tegan, I have a like/dislike relationship with her. I can understand her completely and she can be really sweet but sometimes… You’d think she’d be more understanding of what Turlough went through having gone through something quite similar herself but she doesn’t seem to be aware that the Black Guardian could be just as deceptive, despite appearances, as the Mara. Why can’t she just give Turlough a hug?

    Barbara is a product of her time as much as her coworker is. She does learn some, though, which is always a good thing but she tends to get into trouble a lot. I’ve only seen a few episodes from her so I hope she strengthens up a bit more.

    Rose was an ignorant teenage girl. She wants what she wants and goes after it however she can and doesn’t see anything wrong with it nor does she realize the possible consequences of her actions, such as how Mickey might feel. She is her mother’s daughter as well. Remember Jackie “oops, I spilled wine on your shirt so you have to take it off” Tyler? Yep. She isn’t completely without compassion but at the same time she doesn’t quite seem to either relate to or be respectful of others.

    I have seen little of Melanie but from what I have seen she’s nice even if a bit pushy and quite the soprano. Her screaming hurts my ears.

    That’s it exactly! I’ve been trying so much to describe Clara Oswald to myself in my head and coming up with few, if any, things to separate her from companions such as River Song. I want to know more about her but the knowledge that makes her unique eludes me!

    • YES! Tegan did give Turlough a much-deserved hug! I found it! It was in “Freakshow”!

      (And, anyway, now that I’m seeing/hearing more of her stuff, I’ve gotten more used to her and I’m starting to really like her. She’s a surprisingly awesome Aussie.)

  2. Don’t worry, you will, in time! If you want “Freakshow”, I can send it to you. It was once available legitimately free from Big Finish anyway. Besides, if that one story is what you’d like to hear, you shouldn’t have to pay for that whole big collection they put it in.

    It’s like wanting only to buy “Mawdryn Undead” but only being able to find it in a package with “Terminus” and “Enlightenment”. One should be able to collect them one at a time, if one wants to.

  3. Hay, I love your blog! So glad you gave Barbara an honorable mention, shes one of my favourites to! I’d recommend watching the Aztecs, the Dalek invasion of Earth and the Crusade if you want to see some more of her awesomeness (the funny thing is, the Crusade is one of the few episodes where she’s ‘the one who gets kidnapped’ and yet it has some of her most badass lines and moments in).

    And yay for Donna – my favourite companion of all! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you very much! I’m glad you’re enjoying it!

      So far, the only episodes of the First Doctor I’ve seen are The Aztecs and The Dalek Invasion of Earth, and Barbara was fantastic in both of them. I’ll have to put The Crusade on my “watch soon” list. I’m looking forward to it!

      • Awesome! I should add btw that they’re only a snapshot of her awesomeness.She was great in so many of her other stories too. But I don’t wanna spoil anything for ya!

        Happy Hartnelling. ๐Ÿ™‚

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