Thursday, January 28, 2016

Who's The Doctor's Best Companion Ever?

From the Blastr Article
Best Companion of The Doctor… Evah.

This is it: Companion Smack Down. The top contenders go in, only one comes out.

I’m going to rate the best of the best.


Not Tom Baker in drag.
A fellow Time Lord assigned to work with The Doctor in order to find The Key to Time by a guy with a pigeon stuck to his forehead, she adopted the appearance of a princess after her first season, and went on to marry Tom Baker. Briefly. Sharp witted and resourceful, Romana’s an equal in every way to The Doctor. You’d think he’d prefer to shack up with her as opposed to a former chips shop worker he’s 47 times older than, but no. What’s the age of consent on Gallifrey, anyway?
Score: 8

Captain Jack Harkness

"That's not a bomb. I'm just glad to see you."
Rogue time cop and pansexual omnivore, Jack’s always the most interesting person in a room. A preening narcissist who makes Captain Kirk look modest and self-effacing, Jack was less a companion than a competitor. He’s better off with his ego on another show.
Score: 3


"Oh please let me kill it, Doctor!"
Leela grew up on a planet that was royally messed up by The Doctor’s earlier (off screen) meddling, which resulted in a kind of extreme social experiment. A savage warrior, foxy lady, and indomitable spirit, Leela was the perfect foil for the pacifist Doctor. Raw animal sexuality combined with predator instincts were an inversion of The Doctor’s detached, sophisticated, peaceful personality, as her first answer to every problem was to kill it.
Score: 9.5

Rose Tyler

"I can make chips!"

A young Londoner who ran into The Doctor during an invasion by killer shop mannequins. Rose was Russell T. Davies’ obvious favorite and likely stand-in (R.T. and R.T.D.). An uneducated former gymnast who worked in a chips shop, it has to be said that she was a real go-getter and kept The Doctor on his toes, but she had the depth of a shallow puddle and was a little on the young side for him.
Score: 6.5

Sarah Jane Smith

"I do not approve of this sexist Medieval social order and shall start a revolution forthwith."
Blessed with insatiable curiosity, Sarah Jane was always getting herself in trouble in pursuit of the truth. A journalist by trade, and a born revolutionary, Sarah Jane stirred shit up wherever she went in time and space. By the end of her run, she’d led more rebellions than Princess Leia, Che, and Lenin put together. We never met her family, but thanks to Elisabeth Sladen’s portrayal, she felt more real and had more depth than any companion in New Who, with one exception. Also a crack shot with a rifle. Because Sarah Jane!
Score: 9.4

Amy Pond

"No, stupid, I haven't made up my mind. Stop looking at me. Stupid."
A sexy-gram delivery girl who grew up with a rift in time beside her bed, she’s had a life long connection to The Doctor and witnessed his… tenth(?) regeneration. Got stranded in New York in the 1930’s, and apparently could never interact with The Doctor again, even though she’d naturally travel out of the Thirties into the Forties and presumably the Fifties and Sixties, in which The Doctor was rather active. Whatever. Her life was intertwined with The Doctor’s in novel and clever Moffat-esque ways, but her personality was a lacuna. Unlike Rose, I can’t think of anything to even complain about with her. She’s just relentlessly bland.
Score: 6.5


Okay, she gets points for the RPG.
A young explosives expert and punker from the… You know, I have no idea. She was an over-the-top, wish fulfillment cartoon character who grated on the nerves. Walking, talking sandpaper armed with a baseball bat and explosives. Her idiosyncratic colloquialisms fell flat with mind boggling relentlessness. Small wonder the show was cancelled.
Score: 5

Donna Noble

She got sass.
A mouthy lady whose wedding The Doctor interrupted, Donna had more personality and sass than ten other companions combined, but was unfortunately saddled with a dreadful end to a wonderful character arc. In her last episode, her brain was overstimulated, necessitating a mind wipe. Her personality was reset, undoing everything she’d learned, which was a particularly sad end for a such great, standout character. She deserved better. Someone should write her in again.
Score: 9.1

River Song

Never bring a banana to a knife fight. Leela 1, Song 0
First appearing as the leader of an expedition to a library planet, she was later revealed to be much more (and thus less) than that. Initially interesting, she became a mugging, one-note ’Spoilers!' cliché. I think of her like an irritating grain of sand in an oyster that forms over time into a pearl, only instead she just becomes more irritating. A psychopath grown and groomed by a secret organization to be the perfect assassin and meant to kill The Doctor, he went and married her. Yeah. That’s messed up.
Score: 6

Martha Jones

The awesome Agyeman
Jones is an actual doctor, as in a physician, and she pined away unsuccessfully for The Doctor. The man was blind. Martha was smart, educated, beautiful and competent. Alas, she was never terribly popular with audiences, or The Doctor for that matter (who preferred younger, less educated and less intelligent chip shop workers), but had more substance and was less superficial than the overrated Rose. Did I mention the BBC shielded prominent pedophiles from prosecution and covered up their crimes for decades? Just saying.
Score: 7.6

Jo Grant

"Uh… could you explain that again, Doctor?"
Assigned to be the assistant of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor by The Brigadier, she replaced the less popular but highly intelligent scientist The Doc had been hanging with earlier. A sweet heart who looked great in short shorts but was unfortunately a bit on the dense side. Thoroughly lovable nonetheless, Jo was a great stand in for little kids, who could always identify with her. At least I could. She was pretty awesome. I’ll not stand anything negative being said about her. So there.
Score: 7.2

Peri Brown

Because of course you do.
An American who got sucked into The Doctor’s TARDIS while wearing a bikini, Peri was a stunningly beautiful brunette with a figure that just wouldn’t quit. She frequently dressed in said bikini (see above), or similar nothing. What’s not to like? Her voice was a high pitched whine and she lacked much in the way of personality that wasn’t annoying. The only companion The Doctor ever tried to literally strangle. I’m not sure what that says and probably don’t want to.
Score: 36 24 36

The winner: Leela.


Because drama.

What is the source of drama? Conflict.

What drives conflict? Character.

Which companion offered the most in-built conflict with The Doctor? Hands down, bar none, Leela. He's a hyper-educated, sophisticated Time Lord and moralizing pacifist. She's a savage warrior woman who's always ready and eager to employ lethal force. Leela had an alternate way of doing things, and wasn’t afraid to say, or do, so.

It was like The Odd Couple, only with time travel, deadly Janus thorns and a gender switch.

And yet Leela was intelligent, always learning, and willing to be essentially tutored by The Doctor. That offered room for growth, for a clash of values that could ultimately change them both. So much the show runners could have done here and ultimately didn’t. They achieved a lot, but certainly could have taken it much further. Why they've never revisited this sort of combination I'm not sure, but I imagine it would be seen as too extreme. Too controversial for safe spaces.

The only other character to push the envelope as much as Leela is Donna Noble. An argument could be made that Jack Harkness pushes it as well, but he’s just malignant narcissism with a mouth and a mirror shagging himself.

So there you go: Leela is the best companion in Doctor Who.



  1. I can't find fault with your analysis. Works for me. I never saw an episode with Leela, but (accepting your description) she sounds a refreshing change of pace from the "chip makers".

    Of the Companions with whom I actually have experience, Donna Noble worked the best. She broke the tiresome trend/tradition of cute waifs pining for the Doctor. If they had only kept Donna at the same sass and spark level we enjoyed in her introduction!

    I often enjoyed the Companions' Companions, Rory and Mickey. I knew they would never succeed and were doomed to be "cannon-fodder", but I was always pulling for them.

  2. Leela was awesome. I agree Donna Noble is the best of the new series, by far. No one else comes close.