Tag Archives: The Doctor

The Unchosen: The Doctor’s Left Behind Companions

You hear a grinding of gears, a far off moan of something that might be bagpipes or out of the corner of your eyes, you catch a glimpse of a gangly man in a blue suit, running as though the fate of the Universe depended on it.

It’s the Doctor. And this time, he’s come for you.

Impress him with your wit, Hand him his screwdriver at a key moment and you’ll be off, whirling through time and space in an impossible blue box.

Fail him and you’ll be left behind, lonely and ashamed. The worst bits of humanity encapsulated in flesh.

But what about those who do everything right? Those beautiful humans who are so brave and so true that every viewer feels a measure of guilt as they run through their fleeting lives with passion and grace; aiding the Doctor in any way they can while we sit on our couches dreaming and eating ice cream.

The first of these is Renette. Madame Pompadour. The beautiful French girl in the fireplace. Although already accompanied by Mickey and Rose it is obvious that the Doctor wants to swoop up little Renette (and then bigger, gorgeous Renette) and show her the stars. And he tells her as much at their last meeting; after she has braved years of clockwork men plotting her death (not to mention the every day perils of the French court). The Doctor tell Renette de Poisson to pack her bags and pick a star. But then, like he does, the Doctor gets the timing wrong and fails to return until after her death.

Renette de Poisson was brave, and quick-witted, the epitome of companion material. Yet she was left on Earth to live out her life as a mortal, dying of a mortal disease without ever seeing the stars.

The second of those unjustly left behind was Sally Sparrow. If anyone deserved to be whisked off to the stars and beyond it was Sally. In the span of twenty four hours she lost her best friend and a very intriguing new man to the weeping angels and instead of crying, giving up or becoming angry, she soldiered on. Sally Sparrow unlocked a forty year old message from the doctor, destroyed the weeping angels (well, some of them) and restored the TARDIS and its owner to the present time stream.

And what does she get? A ‘thank you very much.’ An ‘aren’t you grand.’  And she is left behind.

Sally Sparrow is arguably one of the most interesting (and definitely most beautiful, although I’m glad that this doesn’t seem to matter too much. They aren’t Bond girls, thank Jeebus) of all the women who aid the Doctor in his quest to alleviate guilt and boredom. Especially contrasted to Martha, the companion du jour.

Martha may be brilliant and gorgeous but my GOD is she boring. I can’t be the only one who was desperately sick of her puppy dog worship of the Doctor by her third episode.

(Side note. I’m re-watching Doctor Who as I write this; season three, episode twelve to be exact. I was thoroughly engrossed in writing when I realized that the Doctor was shouting, ‘We’re on a planet at the end of the universe and you’re busy blogging?!’ Well yes, yes I am. And since no one in the show is currently blogging, am I wrong in thinking that he’s talking to me? Excuse me while I go outside and listen for the wailing of an interstellar parking brake.)

Well, I’m still here (sadly) and I’m not the only one.

The final unchosen companion may not be an obvious choice.

Wilfred Mott is Donna Noble’s grandfather. The innocuous, red capped stargazer is present in the Doctor Who plot line for almost as long as Donna herself and he does much to endear the audience to the brash Ms. Noble. He stares at the stars every night. He believes in magic, in space and in the impossible. Every single day of his life.

Wilfred Mott is a man after my own heart.

We stare at the stars day after day and refuse to give up hope even when the years pass without so much as a common supernova. Wilfred Mott and I have looked into the void and we hope beyond hope that something brilliant is looking back.

Yet we’re the ones left behind.

The Doctor chooses his companions seemingly willy nilly. When he finds himself alone he plucks an intelligent mind from the human populace, endears himself to them and proceeds to change (ruin?) their lives.  He has no more control over who he takes with him than we have over which continent we’re born on.

The Doctor is flying through time, clinging to humans like life rafts. And I’m not sure that he always grabs the right one.


Regeneration Now: Why It’s Past Time For A New Doctor

Spoilers, Sweetie.

Whovians, stop your outraged screaming for a moment and let me explain.

I love Matt Smith. That goofy faced, floppy headed, bow tie wearing bastard brought depth to the character of the Doctor that I never could have imagined. He brought us the girl who waited, the last centurion and a heartwarming relationship with the sassy River Song. But after two and a half years of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey awesomeness, it is time for him to step down.

Actually, it was time  at the end of season six. But the writers can be excused for not wanting their viewers to lose the most popular Doctor yet and the Ponds in rapid succession. People would probably stop watching. There’d be riots in the streets. DVD box sets and bow ties would be burned in a bonfire of all things Gallifreyan.

Well, maybe not.

But now, it is time. The format of the show necessitates frequent character changes which is why the Doctor’s ability to regenerate is a vital key to the show’s success. As is the frequent replacement of companions, no matter how hard it is to see them go.

Think about it. Despite amazing writing and wildly imaginative story lines, the premise of every episode is the same. Go somewhere strange, find out about something terrible that is happening, save the day. Occasionally people die (or seem to. Ahem ahem Rory.) but by and large you know that no matter what happens the TARDIS will soon be whirling through space and time again. So in order to keep the viewer’s attention, the characters need to be thrilling. We need to get caught up in their lives, their unique quirks and their particular story line.

And eventually each of these characters’ stories comes to an end. It isn’t easily definable when that moment will be (although I think we’ve established that two seasons is a good length for any particular doctor) but there reaches a point when no matter how much you love them, nothing a character does will surprise you.

And Doctor Who should be nothing if not surprising.

I am sure that the masterminds behind one of my favorite shows know all of this already and I expect that with the end of the seventh season will come the end of Matt Smith. When that happens, don’t be sad my fellow Whovians.

Instead, rejoice that he brought bow ties back (and Fez’s) and encouraged thousands of people to eat the revolting combination of fish fingers and custard. Bow your heads and thank him for all that he did for the world. And then open your heart to the next Doctor. If the last seven years have been any indication, he’s (she’s?!) going to be amazing.