Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sunday Best: Top 10 Doctor Who Companions Ranked

As we are preparing for the 13th Doctor's premiere series, I thought it would be a good idea to look back on the Doctor's previous companions.  As I am only very familiar with the revival of the series, this will only include companions from 2005 on.

As with any lists, there is an element of subjectivity, but I shall endevour to make my reasons clear.

Beware of spoilers for those who haven't watched the show.

10.  Mickey Smith (Season 2)
image by ibsan73
Mickey never quite fit in to the series.  He was brought on to create a kind of love triangle between Rose and the Doctor.  But what he did have going for him was that he had enough self-awareness to know where he ranked in their group and he knew when to leave so that he could do the most good elsewhere.  He would always be in competition with the Doctor and on the TARDIS he would always lose.

9.  Nardole (Season 9)
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image by Gage Skidmore
This character was here mostly as a comic conscience to the Doctor.  He acted the part of Jimminy Cricket to keep the Doctor on the path that was set out by River Song.  But beyond that, he was a bit one-dimensional about the character.

8.  Bill Potts (Season 9)
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image by Gage Skidmore
There was something about Bill that always seemed off.  Unlike Nardole, she was given a strong arc on the show.  But she always had a smarmy, "I-know-better-than-you" attitude that the Doctor found very appealing (because he probably saw a reflection of himself in her).  But I never saw the level of chemistry with the Doctor that I saw with other companions.  She wasn't a bad companion, but I've seen better.

7.  Rose Tyler (Seasons 1-2)
image by Rach
Rose set the tone for the modern Who companions.  She was rough around the edges, but she was adventurous.  She was also the first human companion to really draw the Doctor in romantically.  But Rose never came off as that particularly special.  Or at least I could never quite see why the Doctor would be so head-over-heals for her in a way that he wasn't for other companions.  Although their parting was one of the most heartbreaking moments in the entire series.

6.  Martha Jones (Season 3)
image by DavidJohnson
I know a number of people don't care for Martha, but I enjoyed her more than Rose.  She was at least more impressive than Rose in most ways.  She was smart and brave.  Her only drawback was that her unrequited affection for the Doctor made her look a little less self-possesed than she should have been. 

5.  River Song  (Seasons 4-8)
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image by Daniel Benavides
She is the Doctor's equal in many ways.  She attracts and frustrates him in the way that he does to everyone else.  And all the while, her tragic destiny looms over her sly, knowing smirk.  She is a helpless romantic who hides under a cynical shell.  The saddest thing for me is that her best chemistry was in her final appearance with the 12th Doctor.  I have watched that episode many times and am always impressed how natural their relationship feels at this point.

4.  Amy Pond (Seasons 5-7)
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image by Alun.vega
Amy's story is a tragic fairy tale.  The magical Raggedy Man enters her life in his magic box and her childhood is changed forever in both good and bad ways.  She is bold and defiant, but always seeks to do better.  She is flawed in her impulsiveness, but she grows to a great maturity by the end of her run.  In her final episode, you can see how she moved on from a girl with an infatuation to a mature woman who understands that marriage means taking the leap of the cliff with your spouse, till death do you part.

3.  Donna Noble (Season 4)
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image by GabboT
I did not think I was going to like Donna at all.  Her first appearance was one where she complained the whole time and then opted not to join the Doctor.  When she finally did become his companion, she was one of the best.  As I've written before, she jettisoned the idea of the companion as a romantic interest.  The Doctor/Donna was a companionship of equals, a companionship of friends.  She would challenge the Doctor to do more and be better and there was something compelling enough about her to make the Doctor listen.  The chemistry between her and the Doctor was some of the best in the entire series and her departure in many ways was the most tragic.

2.  Rory Williams (Season 5-7)
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image by GabboT
In a lot of ways, Rory is everything the Doctor is not.  He is a human man who is straightforward, decent, unassuming, and honest.  Like Mickey, he is in competition with Doctor over someone's affections.  The difference here is that the Doctor is rooting for Rory.  And what makes Rory stand out is his selflessness.  For me, the most important part of Rory's story is when he stood guard over Amy for over two-thousand years just to keep her safe.  That level of devotion makes him one of the best companions.

1.  Clara Oswald (Season 7-9)
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image by mrgarethm
For some reason there are a lot of people who think Clara was one of the worst companions.  I think they are completely wrong.  Like Donna, she held her own as an equal to the Doctor.  On top of that, they were still able to pull off an unspoken romantic chemistry.  She spoke to the Doctor in ways that no one had or no one could.  When her doom become certain, she didn't ask the Doctor for any promises.  Instead, she gave him a order.  She knew that his care for her was so strong that he would listen.  Clara was always brave, modest in apperance, quick of wit, and stout of heart.  She had to remind the Doctor who he truly is to prevent him from repeating his greatest mistake.  That was the kind of influence she commanded.  It was an influence of moral authority.  And that is why she is the best companion.

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