Friday, July 29, 2011

Children of Time

The Doctor likes traveling with an entourage. Sometimes they're human, sometimes they're aliens and sometimes they're tin dogs.

--Sarah Jane Smith, “School Reunion”

Besides the Doctor, the most important characters in the show are the people he travels with. From Rose Tyler to River Song, they travel with the last Time Lord, getting into and out of trouble on alien planets, satellites, and Earth.

Just as each fan has ‘his’ Doctor—one they feel best portrays him—many fans have a favorite companion. The bashing of companions, however, can be even more violent than debates about the Doctor. Every Doctor is ‘the Doctor,’ but it’s possible to argue that a companion shouldn’t have been on the TARDIS. While I enjoy most of the companions, I thought I’d go through the revived series companions* and express my feelings about them, complete with fanfic recommendations and romantic pairings. (There are spoilers)

Rose Tyler: First companion of the new series (Ninth and Tenth), she tends to be a lightning rod among fans. On her own grounds, I find her average—not especially stunning, but not a failure either. She also had a romantic attitude towards the Doctor, which was not going to end cleanly no matter what happened. I doubt that any Classic Doctor would have given her a second glance. When Nine met her, he was mired in survivor’s guilt and self-loathing—he needed someone who though he was fantastic, who admired him and didn’t know his past.

Then things got really tangled with her return in Journey’s End. I didn’t mind her brief appearance in the End of Time farewell sequence, but the Journey’s End bit felt forced, with a compromised ending that left nobody happy. If she’s brought back again, I think it will permanently spoil her earlier episodes.

Pairings: Slight Nine/Ten or Ten Duplicate…

Overall rating: Three stars

Fanfic Recommendations:

An Evening with the TARDIS

Fics I’ve written


Divided Hearts

Dreams in Which I’m Dying


Jack Harkness: Former Time Agent, now head of Torchwood, we first met him in The Empty Child/Doctor Dances. While he does shape up by Journey’s End, his blatant sexuality turns me off.

Pairings: I do not touch this area with a ten light-year pole.

Overall Rating: Two stars

Fanfic Recommendations: None

Mickey Smith: Rose’s unlucky boyfriend, he matures a lot during the series. Not much to say about him, but he technically is a companion.

Pairings: no preference

Rating: Two stars

Fanfic recommendations: none

Martha Jones: The second companion of the Tenth Doctor, she was handed the short end of the stick, with constant comparisons to Rose both in-show and by fans. Some people hate her for not being Rose, others adore her for the same reason. Wisely, she left at the end of series three rather then continue wallowing in her misery.

Pairings: no preference, but her crush on the Doctor is definitely one-sided.

Overall Rating: Three and a half stars

Fanfic Recommendations: none

Donna Noble: Extremely annoying in “The Runaway Bride,” she has one of the best-written character arcs of the new show. Her lack of romantic interest in the Doctor was refreshing after Martha and Rose. But her fate—‘The Rueful Fate of Donna Noble’—it was worse than Rose being trapped on the parallel world.

Pairing: no preference, but NOT the Doctor

Overall rating: Four and a half stars

Fanfic Recommendations:

Lucy in the Sky

Rosemary for Remembrance

Let Me Let You Go

Amelia Pond: The first companion I watched, I have a soft spot for her despite her flirty ways. She’s an interesting mixture of injured childishness and sarcasm. Has some amazing insights into the Doctor’s mind.

Pairings: Rory

Overall rating: Four stars

Fanfic Recommendations:

A Few Days Ago

Twelve Years and Four Psychiatrists

Yellow Alert

Fics I’ve written

Come Along Again


Something That Matters


Wilfred Mott: Winner of my Samwise Award for taking on the companion role in The End of Time, Donna’s grandfather is amazingly cool, with serious guts. His scenes with the Doctor in the cafĂ© and on the spaceship, not to mention the lock, are all tearjerkers.

Pairings: I think it’d be kind of cool if he met Sarah Jane.

Overall rating: Five stars

Fanfic Recommendations:

All it takes for evil to flourish

Fics I’ve written:

Cup of Tea

Grasshopper Duet

*Adam, Astrid, Jackson Lake, Adelaide Brookes, and Lady Christine are barely companions. Sarah Jane, on the other hand, gains most of her significance from the classic series and will be covered when I get to the Fourth Doctor’s companions. And River Song…well, she deserves her own post.


  1. I both loved and hated Donna's end, actually. It was the perfect bittersweet ending. The stars were singing her praises, and she would never hear them.

    Genius to me, as a writer. Painful to me, as a Doctor Who fan.