Since the reboot in 2005, Doctor Who has seen a handful of new companions.  I’m sure there are a lot of different views on what a Doctor Who companion is, but for the sake of this argument I will be focusing the main ones of New-Who: Rose, Martha, Donna, Amy, and Rory.  Back in the era of Classic-Who the companions helped the Doctor, but they never were the main focus or savior of the show.  Romana is an exception since she is a Time Lady and is naturally at the same level as the Doctor and often higher than him (i.e. making a better Sonic Screwdriver than his).  However, New-Who has basically seen the average human companion being smarter and more capable than the Doctor.  Let’s have a look.

Rose:  For the most part, her first season with the 9th Doctor had her pretty much being a normal companion.  She never did anything over-the-top but rather acted like a relatively normal person (after all, how normal can you be after traveling with the Doctor?).  But then at the end of the season she ended up saving the Doctor from being blown up by opening the TARDIS and looking into it.  OK, maybe it doesn’t make her that ridiculous, but it gets progressively worse.  See, once the 9th Doctor regenerates, Rose decides she’s going to fall in love with the 10th Doctor.  Maybe it’s because he’s hot or she can’t stand being around her annoying mother and whining Mickey (which if it’s the latter I can’t blame her).  Regardless of why she loves the Doctor, she makes it really apparent and it quickly gets old.  Though, she still seems to remain somewhat human, it is not until the final episode that I was glad to see her go.  Most of the season 2 finale consisted of either Rose crying, the Doctor crying, or that drawn out scene of Rose’s parents hugging and having an emotional moment when both Daleks and Cybermen are having a battle right in the next room of the building they’re in.  The whole nonsense of the Doctor then loving Rose would have been good if it wasn’t Doctor Who, because those things just don’t have a reason to be there.

However, the worst was when she came back in season four.  Her character went from being a normal girl from London to bad-ass chick with a giant gun a next to no emotion.  Really, I think that’s what ruined her character for me, as I didn’t have any big issues with her when I watched her during her two seasons.

Martha:  Talk about bad writing for a character.  Honestly, for an entire season she was getting jealous of other people and really wanted to have sex with the Doctor.  When she didn’t get her way she’d have an attitude and be mad or depressed.  Making it worse, her mom wasn’t a mom, she was an empty character who did nothing other than act as a pawn for the Master.  It’s not like her mom was just there, she did nothing but complain about everything.  Then Martha ends up being the savior of Earth.  Come on, she’s never a very strong character, always being a bit dependent on the Doctor, and then she somehow ends up going around the entire world (on what I suppose was a little boat, as I’d think someone would notice an airplane or cruise ship going over the oceans) and saves both the Doctor and the planet.  Her guest appearances in season four didn’t get much better, as she was there for pretty much no reason but somehow became an expert on Time Lord biology when she said Jenny died for good when she clearly did not).

The worst part is, she was a very good character on Torchwood, so I don’t know what they were trying to do by making her so annoying in Doctor Who.

Donna:  Actually, she may be the best of the new companions.  She was never in love with the Doctor and even had a cool grandfather.  She’d always be bickering with the Doctor, which was a nice throwback to Classic-Who.  Still, we were stuck with some episodes with Martha and then some bad episodes such as “Planet of the Ood” and the two-part Sontaran nonsense.  Making matters worse, the finale was a mess with the whole party of companions coming back, reminding me of the 5th Doctor era of far too many companions.  So here we have action-hero Rose, Martha, and all of a sudden we get a half-human-half-Doctor Donna and Doctor.  Now, that wasn’t so bad, and I would have liked to have seen more episodes with that type of Donna, but instead we get to see another drawn out scene with Rose and the Doctor saying goodbye.  It’s really a shame Donna never had the proper writing and screen time she deserved, as she may have saved the companion issue.

Amy:  She started off good and her whole first season was actually really good.  She was more normal than Martha and was getting married.  She was never a genius or savior or worlds.  Then comes season six.  What to say about that is it became the Amy and Rory show with the Doctor kind of being there.  Not to say it’s a horrible season, but wow, it really turned into an entire arc based around the companions with the Doctor’s arcs being thrown to the side (come on, why are what seems to be multiple groups trying to make their own TARDIS control room?).  Honestly, I can’t wait for the Ponds to leave, it’s just too much focus on them and how they’re the most important people in the universe again.  Having River Song be their daughter was kind of cool but it wasn’t a big surprise by the time it came around.  Even then there were things that didn’t get resolved, such as any back story for Madame Kovarian.  I can only hope Moffat knows what he’s doing to wrap up their arc(s).

Rory:  “Hey guys, I’m Rory, and before I tell you anything, I’ll just let you know I die a lot, but it’s OK, I’m never really dead.”  That’s what I’d imagine he’d say if he narrated his introduction.  I thought in the beginning he’d be OK, but it’s getting really old watching him die every other episode.  Still, I suppose he’s the best male companion, but that’s not saying much.

So, are the companions ruining Doctor Who?  In a way, yes.  When they’re not trying to get it on with the Doctor they’re either saving the world on their own (Martha), becoming a hybrid and saving the world and universe (Donna), or taking over the story arc and pushing the Doctor to the side (the Ponds).  Still, it’s not like the show is ruined, it’s just there is becoming far too much focus on the companions, resulting in less time for the Doctor to shine or even have an episode that doesn’t somehow relate to the mass importance of the companions and how they’ll save the world.

Here’s to hoping Jenna-Lousie Coleman will be a more traditional companion so the show can become Doctor Who again and focus on, I don’t know, the Doctor and his arc.

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