a Doctor Who observation

Okay, so I came to Doctor Who through New Who and haven’t watched any of the Old Who. I came to it with the following knowledge: The Doctor is a Time Lord who regenerates (thus allowing more than one actor to play the part) and who travels through time and space with (usually) human companions who have been caught up in his wake.

This being the sum total of what I knew about the show, there’s something that’s happen(ed)(ing) with New Who that I get the impression is…not as it was in the past. But because the entire thought could be construed as spoileriffic for the entire New Who series, I’m going to put it behind the cut.

So something I’m noticing increasingly in the companions is that they are Special in a way that’s telegraphed from their introduction: Clara is clearly Special (Enigma); Amy was Special (Timehead), Donna was Special (DoctorDonna).

Martha…was not Special. Martha was smart and sweet and thrust into unforgiveable circumstances through which she arose to Specialness (Earth’s Defender), but frankly, Martha got screwed, and not in a good way. Rose also became Special (Bad Wolf), perhaps, and it *was* telegraphed once we knew how to look for it (or was all of that the Tardis, using Rose as a vehicle, as I just saw hypothesized recently), but I don’t think she so much started that way.

Specialness is not my impression of what the companions are supposed to be. That they’re introduced to wonderful or awful things and perhaps become special because of that, okay. That seems to be what happened with Rose and Martha, anyway. But my sense of Old Who is that the companions are meant to be ordinary people. Wonderful, in their ordinariness, but ordinary. That they are, in effect, meant to be you and me. My impression is that we’re meant to be able to hope that the Doctor might drop by with the Tardis at any moment and collect us.

And all this Specialness doesn’t seem to allow for that. This feeling of a fate associated with the companions, the destined for greatness, etc, seems…I mean, I guess we could all be waiting to discover our Doctor’s Destiny as well as waiting for the Tardis.

It’s worst, mind you, with Amy and Clara; Donna was very clearly an ordinary person with an extraordinary fate (which she then got screwed out of, grr), but Amy and Clara, well. I don’t know. Maybe I just don’t like Moffatt’s companions. (Well, there’s no maybe about that, really. I thought Amy was mean and Clara…rings false, possibly because of this Unexplained Destiny hanging over her.) Maybe he doesn’t know how to write someone ordinary into extraordinary circumstances. I dunno, but I’m not delighted with it.

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1 thought on “a Doctor Who observation

  1. I’m pretty much with you on this. I came into Who fandom via the newer version of the show, but I have actually gone back and seen some of the classic stuff as well and have at least some level of knowledge about most of the classic-era companions.

    For the most part, yeah, they’re pretty ordinary people and don’t have any particular Special! Fate! hanging over them. There is the open question of what the hell’s up with Susan with the First Doctor, who was always referred to as his “granddaughter”. And Zoe, one of the Second Doctor’s companions, was a genius at computers and math… but that was natural ability that she just periodically used when appropriate, and from what I know of her, it wasn’t ever put forth as a reason why she was Special.

    I’m not feeling the Clara love either, and honestly, I never liked Amy much, even though I do feel she improved in her last couple of episodes as she matured. I always liked Rory better than her. So far though Clara seems to me more about the mystery surrounding her than she does an actual person, and the other two characters the actress has played so far certainly seemed livelier to me than this incarnation.

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