The Doctor: a time traveller, Time Lord, and mad man with a box, is an amazing character in his own right. He is a riddle wrapped in an enigma dipped in mystery and sprinkled a bit with cleverness. Or, as Shrek once said, he’s kind of like an onion. The Doctor has layers.
Yet, at times, he can be a bit well… alien. His motivations can seen muddled and his mind works so fast that the audience has no clue how to deal with his leaps of logic.
This is where the companion comes in. The companion humanizes the Doctor. They become the audience’s surrogate. We see the Doctor through their eyes and understand him a little bit better.
The companion is, for lack of a better term, the audience. They ask the questions that we’re asking or haven’t even thought of to ask. They allow the Doctor to look clever and tell us just what exactly is going on around here.
So since we’ll be getting a new companion, Danny Pink, who is joining Clara Oswald in Doctor Who series eight, it seemed fair to just rank the companions.
Ground rules first. I’m only doing the companions of “New Who.” That means any companion from 2005 to present is eligible for the list. Second, a companion is someone who the Doctor has invited on the TARDIS to travel in some capacity.
One exception is that River Song doesn’t count here. Despite the fact that River knows way, way, way more about the Doctor then even the Doctor seems to know is against the companion-Doctor dynamic. Also she married him. It doesn’t seem fair to count a spouse as a companion in this sense. I love River but it really doesn’t seem fair.
So without further ado, let’s start from least to best.
9) Adam Mitchell (2005 Ninth Doctor Companion)
Adam has the dubious distinction of being the only companion to be kicked out of the TARDIS. He appeared in exactly two episodes: “Dalek” and “The Long Game”. Now the fascinating thing about Adam was that he was created as a foil to Rose. Rose was meant to represent a proper companion to the Doctor as someone who sees these amazing things but tries not to use them for her own benefit.
Conversely, Adam does try to use these things to his benefit. He undergoes a crazy future procedure and basically helps the bad guy.
To put it bluntly, Adam was dumped because he was a freaking moron and got a weird implant inside of his head without considering the ramifications of his actions. He’s basically left a recluse in 2012 because hearing a snap of the fingers could activate it. It may seem like a cop-out to put him in last place, but he does technically count as a companion. He was invited on the TARDIS by the Doctor and has a least one proper outing (which was his only outing as a companion).
The other issue with Adam was that he was boring. His motivations were dull. He was a child genius and he wanted to use the future knowledge to improve his past. I think I’ve heard this story before. He was just…dull. Which is kind of the worst crime a companion could be here.
8) Martha Jones (2007 Companion to the Tenth Doctor)
UGH. I really hated putting Martha so very low on the list. But the issue is that once she left the TARDIS, she became a much more interesting and kick ass character. I fucking love Martha. I will swear on my sonic screwdriver.
But when she was on the TARDIS? Like before the whole “Last of the Time Lords” awesomeness? She was just kind of dull. Look I get it. I have a crush on the Doctor too but it seemed to be her only defining character trait. And it’s a damn shame, too! They were setting her up to be this kind of cool, not sassy but not taking the Doctor’s shit kind of character.
I liked the fact that she was studying to become a medical doctor.
Then we get to the actual run of Martha’s character and…she falls in love with the Doctor. It just seemed redundant coming off of Rose. I don’t like it when the companions fall in love with the Doctor. It just creates unnecessary drama and makes me scream at my television, “NO YOU FOOLS STOP IT”.
After the “Last of the Time Lords” when Martha made the choice of choosing herself over the Doctor and living her own life, I was so proud of her. Her later appearances of strong, take no prisoners but also really sweet UNIT doctor was A-MAZ-ING. Her post-companion appearances made me love her because she was fantastic.
But her run pre-LotTL? Just a whole lot of me groaning in the corner and wondering why they won’t let the plot die already.
7) Clara Oswald (2012-Present Eleventh/Twelfth Companion)
It was the whole Impossible Girl storyline that puts her low on the list.
Now while most people are convinced that Moffat is Satan Incarnate, I enjoy his stories and the tone of the show to the Russell T. Davies era. It’s a personal preference but usually the twisty bits can have a decent pay-off in the end.
That being said, I am not even going to try to justify this whole Impossible Girl storyline. Don’t get me wrong as someone who finds reincarnation absolutely fascinating, this story sounded so promising in the beginning. It was stretched out for so long that by the time the truth was revealed, I felt like that I didn’t know Clara as a person outside of the mystery. She just seemed kind of generic. Plus that whole thing about her probably falling in love with the Doctor.
And it’s a damn shame because I LOVED her previous lives in “Asylum of the Daleks” and “The Snowmen”. The Claras in those stories were brassy, brave, and bold. I would love to have had adventures with them. In fact, I would have LOVED it if they went with Victorian era Clara as the companion.
No seriously in New Who, I want at least one future companion to be from the past. And I don’t mean like 1990 or something. Bring someone from the Victorian era or something like that. I thought my dream was coming true when “The Snowmen” happened but I was so bitterly disappointed. And plus Jenna Coleman, she is trying her hardest here. She tries to make Present Clara sassy and strong in her own right. I sympathize with her situation as my mother died as well.
However it felt like more focus was put onto her mystery rather then herself as an actual character.
Still with the mystery solved, then I am reserving judgment. Unlike Martha who has completed her run as a companion and got better after she left the TARDIS, I feel like there is still hope for Clara to improve. We know the truth about her identity and, hopefully, Twelve will very much companion-zone her.
So she gets the seven spot because Clara still has room to improve.
6) Mickey Smith (2006 Companion to the Tenth Doctor)
Poor Mickey. I recently rewatched some of his companion episodes and I feel really, really bad for the guy. The Doctor and Rose don’t really treat him all that well. I never really saw this supposedly close relationship Rose and Mickey shared.
And the Doctor was kind of a huge ass to him, you know? When he joined the TARDIS as a companion, Rose didn’t even want him there and was really rude to him.
Mickey though? Yeah sometimes he could get really jealous and be kind of stupid. But I sided with Mickey at the same time. He wasn’t a bad guy. He was just surrounded by people who clearly didn’t respect him and felt like no one was listening to him.
When he had his chance to shine, however, he shone. He could hack. He could kick ass. He was brave. He voluntarily stayed behind in Pete’s World so he could look after Rickey’s grandmother and also make sure the Cybermen were stopped. Mickey voluntarily left everything behind so he could make the world a better place.
That’s awesome and kick ass. I just wish he was more appreciated, but hey he and Martha got married.
Weird. But I’ll go with it as they both got several levels of badass after leaving the companion life.
5) Rose Tyler (2005-2006 Companion to the Ninth/Tenth Doctor)
Rose is split into two characters for me. There’s Rose with the Ninth Doctor, who is up for an adventure and wants to be more than a shop girl. She runs around the universe and seems like a lot of fun. She softens the harsher edges of the Ninth Doctor. They balance each other well.
Then there’s Rose with Ten. I really don’t like Rose with Ten. She acts like that clingy jealous girlfriend all the time and I hate it so much. And this was where I was like “Nope. Can we stop? I hate this so much.” Instead of making her more kick ass post-Bad Wolf, she just became really freaking annoying. I don’t know why RTD pushed it but it was just…ugh.
It got annoying really fast and was horrible for her character.
So the reason she is so high on the list? The first season she was a companion. Rose was really, really good. The whole Bad Wolf story arc was brilliant. And I have fond memories of that season. Despite her later sharp downturn, the good and earlier memories outweigh the bad.
4) Amy Pond (2010-2012 Companion to the Eleventh Doctor)
Amy Pond is absolutely awesome. She keeps her “boys” (Rory and the Doctor) in line. She makes friends all over the universe and throughout time. She loves fiercely. She was a weird and misunderstood child growing up. She becomes the Doctor’s best friend and mother-in-law. She is kind, smart, and full of love.
So why is she number four? It’s nothing against her really. Amy is an amazing companion. She just got better over time. Her beginning was…rough.
I didn’t like the introduction to her character too. It took me time to love Amelia Pond. At first, I thought we were going to have another Season Two Rose except a redheaded Scottish one. I didn’t think she treated Rory all that well either. Once we got to around “Amy’s Choice” and she picked the universe with Rory in it rather then one without, that was when I started to really like Amy. She only got better from there growing into her own strength.
I feel like Amy shows the positive impact the Doctor can have on the lives of others. She grew into a kind hearted, strong, protective, and wonderful woman throughout her run. Plus I feel like her romance with Rory was one of the sweetest and most genuine things I’ve seen on my TV in awhile.
3) Rory Williams (2010-2012 Companion to the Eleventh Doctor)
Guys. How much do I freaking adore Rory?
It’s a lot, okay? I love Rory a lot.
He is just an ordinary guy: a nurse, a harried childhood love interest, and just a bloke. He is fiercely devoted to Amy and loves her so very deeply. You know that Rory would do anything for someone he truly loves and cares about. Over his run as a companion on the show, he does just that.
The Lone Centurion alone is proof enough that he will do anything to protect Amy up to and including waiting for 2000 years to protect the Pandorica so Amy would be safe. He goes with the Doctor to the ends of the universe, gathers people to help them fight in order to rescue Amy and their infant daughter. He may be a bit awkward and kind of fumbling but he has a fierce and protective heart.
He tries to make the best life possible for his family. He has sacrificed his life (several times) in order for Amy to be safe.
Rory Williams kicks ass. And if you don’t agree then you are just wrong.
2) Jack Harkness (2005 Companion to the Ninth Doctor)
Within five seconds of meeting Captain Jack Harkness, I was instantly enamored. Usually my gut reaction is right on and boy was I right.
I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who hasn’t loved Captain Jack and I don’t want to meet anyone who says otherwise. Jack was put in Torchwood, the spin-off, based solely on his popularity. He was in like five episodes with the Ninth Doctor and became so popular that he got his own spin-off. The only other companion to do that was Sarah Jane Smith and she was with the Doctor for YEARS.
Yes. Jack started as a conman and a incorrigible flirt, which never changed. He was a guy that you want to go get in trouble and have adventures with. Plus John Barrowman is like the best person ever.
He was only a companion briefly, but it can be argued that Jack left a huge impact on the show. I was sooo bummed when he didn’t come back for the 50th anniversary special. Please bring him back. I really want to see him again!
1) Donna Noble (2008 Companion to the Tenth Doctor)
All bow to the Queen.
Donna Noble, the companion, was full of empathy, kindness, humor, sass, and bravery. She wasn’t in love with the Doctor. She will never be in love with the Doctor. She just wanted to go off and have an adventure. She wanted to see the world and keep the Doctor human. Sometimes the Doctor goes into the dark place and Donna drags him out of it.
She made the Doctor better, a bit kinder. She was his best friend before Amy.
And her story is just so tragic. She has to forget about all these wonderful things that she did in order to not die or keep her sanity. It’s a long and very complicated story involving Donna becoming half Time Lord-half human and the Daleks. Plus I wouldn’t dare spoil the how or the why.
Still every episode Donna was in was a delight. She brought out the more human side of the Doctor. She made him happy and all of us happy doing it.
She was Donna. Her episodes are always a joy.
Eleven may be my Doctor, but Donna was my Companion.
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