Ranking the (New) Doctor Who Companions

Everyone has a favorite companion. Also, everyone had a least favorite companion, and I’m going to take it upon myself to rank Rose Tyler, Captain Jack Harkness, Mickey Smith, Martha Jones, Donna Noble, Wilfred Mott, Amy Pond, Rory Williams, River Song, and Clara Oswald in the order of greatness that I see fit.

Chances are, you will disagree with me on at least one point (most likely #10). Try not to respond with hostility.

10) Rose Tyler

First, let’s talk about the good things about Rose here: she’s brave, and she was a lot of fun with the ninth Doctor. Series one Rose would’ve ranked much better on this list. But with the tenth Doctor? She was annoying.

*Takes cover from all the 10/Rose shippers.*

In series 2 she went from a cool, likeable companion to a petty, selfish jealousmobile.* She and 10 were pretty nauseating together, at least in my opinion. What was even worse was when the Doctor spent most of the next series moaning over Rose, and ignoring the much cooler Martha Jones. And then the show brought her back not once, not twice, but three times. (Of course that last time she was actually a weapon of mass destruction taking Rose’s form, but I’m trying to make a point here, so shuddup.) Not only was this annoying for the group of fans who didn’t like Rose, but it mostly ruined the effect of “Doomsday,” which I thought was mostly great.

Best episodes: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, The Impossible Planet/The Satin Pit, Father’s Day.

9) Clara Oswald (AKA: Oswin Oswald/Clara Oswin Oswald.)

I liked Clara in her first two episodes. In Asylum of the Daleks she was competent,  funny and extremely likeable, while still showing concealed vulnerability (such as the scene when the Daleks were banging on the doors). The Snowmen Clara was extremely Mary Sue-ish, but she was at least interesting and fun to watch.

And then modern day Clara showed up, who’s basically just a really boring version of the last two. The show was too wrapped up in the mystery of Clara to actually focus on her character development, which as it turns out is the most important thing to do when writing a story. Also, I can’t be the only one disappointed that the show decided not to have a companion from the Victorian era. Can’t we once have someone in the Tardis who isn’t from modern day London?

My problem with her is that she doesn’t have any noticeable flaws. She starts beginning to feel like an almost real person in The Time of the Doctor where she calls herself a bossy control freak, despite never giving the audience the impression that she was in fact, a bossy control freak. Also, she secretly fancies the Doctor (yawn).

Best episodes: Asylum of the Daleks, The Snowmen, and The Time of the Doctor.

8) Captain Jack Harkness

This doesn’t include his time on Torchwood, because then I’d probably rank him a bit higher.)

Jack is basically the Han Solo of the Doctor Who universe: a time traveling, pansexual Han Solo. He was terrific in his first series. Unfortunately, he was, for the most part, completely useless in the third and fourth series. His main job was to flirt with people and say a couple cheesy one liners. That doesn’t stop him from being a bad ass, though.

Best episodes: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, Bad Wold/The Parting of the Ways.

7) Mickey Smith

Mickey is a lot like Rory, except Rory actually got the girl while Mickey lost Rose to the Doctor. Not sure why he liked Rose to begin with, but you still gotta feel bad for him. He also turned into a tough, competent warrior in the second season, and was really the only main character in that series to get any type of character growth.

Best episodes: Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel, Doomsday.

6) River Song.

River is like the female Jack Harkness, but with better hair. People call her a Mary Sue, (ironically, they often do this right before calling her selfish or arrogant), but I like how she gets more more flawed as we go back in her time stream. It’s reverse characterization, and I think that’s clever.

Sure, she’s selfish. She even stated that losing the Doctor would cause her more pain than the suffering of the universe combined. But hey, at least she has the whole, “I was brainwashed into a psychopath” excuse to fall back on, whereas Rose has nothing.

Best episodes: Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon, The Name of the Doctor.

5) Amy Pond

Amy gets a lot of hate, for her dismissal towards Rory and her supposed lack of character development. But what I like about Amy is that she’s perhaps the only companion who gets completely screwed over by the Doctor in her first episode.

A magical man in a time traveling box swoops into your life as a child, promises he’ll be back in five minute to take you traveling across the universe with him, and then he doesn’t return until twelve years later. Of course you’re going to have some issues to work out.

In The Eleventh Hour, you can see how she’s afraid to form any close, meaningful connection with anyone (she’s even embarrassed about dating Rory), probably because the last person she formed a meaningful connection with did the dip and never returned for twelve years when she was a kid.

(Not cool, Doctor. Not cool at all.)

Then as the show goes on, you could see her starting to heal from all the damage the Doctor caused her. Amy from series 7 is a lot different than Amy from The Eleventh Hour, and that’s a good thing.

Not to mention she has the greatest, most piercing scream out of any of the Doctor Who companions.

Best episodes: Amy’s Choice, The Girl Who Waited, The Angels Take Manhatten.

4) Donna Noble

I have to admit: I hated Donna when I first saw her. She spent the majority of The Runaway Bride screaming and being as unhelpful as possible. When I heard she was coming back for series four, I was annoyed with the show runner. What was RTD thinking, bringing this annoying woman back into the show?

As it turns out, bringing Donna back was one of the best decisions Russel T. Davies ever made, as she became more and more likeable as the show went on. I assume the main reason most people seem to love her is because she and the Doctor had a non-romantic, platonic relationship, which was a breath of fresh air after getting two companions in a row who were both in love with him. She also challenges the Doctor, like in The Fires of Pompeii where she convinced the Doctor to save that one family.

I also enjoyed the way her storyline ended. Getting rid of all her character development was much more tragic than killing her off could have been, and I’m a huge fan of tragedy.**

Best episodes: The Fires of Pompeii, Partners in Crime, Turn Left, The Unicorn and the Wasp.

3) Rory Williams

Rory has the same character development as Mickey, but he has the advantage of having waited 2,000 years for Amy, and was a nice enough guy to not rub it in her face for the rest of their lives. Seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was all:

Rory: “Hey we should buy a trampoline.”

Amy: “I don’t know, there’s not enough space—”

Rory: “TWO THOUSAND YEARS!”

Amy: “Okay fine.”

But the fact that he didn’t just shows how great of a person he is. Rory is a saint.

Best episodes: The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang, A Good Man Goes to War, The Angels Take Manhattan.

No, she wouldn’t.

2) Martha Jones.

Martha is, as the kids say, “the bomb.” Unlike Rose, her love for the Doctor never defines who she is, and she’s not the type of hot-head to say to their family: “Screw you, people I’ve known my whole life. I’m going to leave you all forever for this dangerous guy who constantly puts me in mortal peril.” *Cough cough Rose cough.*

And unlike all the other companions except Amy, she left the Doctor on her own terms, choosing to leave him behind for the sake of her family. That alone makes her on of the best companions.

Best episodes: Family of Blood/Human Nature, The Last of the Timelords.

1) Wilfred Mott

I hated The End of Time. Just the mention of it angers me and makes me want to go outside and steal candy from children. But it had one saving grace that raised the rating of it from a one out of ten to a four out of ten: Wilfred.

He’s the best. Not only is he totally rocking that antler hat of his, but his optimism, his compassion and general grandfather-y personality makes him the best companion we’ve had since at least the reboot.

Best episodes: Any episode he’s in.

Since I know for a fact that most of you will disagree with me, I set up a poll.

*If you ever use the term “Jealousmobile,” make sure to give me credit.

**Fictional tragedy is the only kind I like.

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15 thoughts on “Ranking the (New) Doctor Who Companions

  1. I would probably switch either Amy or Rory’s ranking for Rose (I loathe Amy – I adored Amelia, but grown-up Amy had so much wasted potential), but basically I love this list. River, Jack, and Rose are, for me, these sort of… middling? characters. They’re all right, but not really good or really bad.

    Also, I definitely agree about Rose/Ten. I wouldn’t say they were “nauseating” together, but I don’t like how most Rose fans are all about Ten/Rose. What about Rose kicking butt on her own? What about Rose and her family members/friends? What about Rose/Nine (aaaaah they are probably my favorite couple after Vastra/Jenny)?
    Also, I didn’t like series two that much anyway, so it was hard to like Rose then.

    Wilf is awesome and I wish he had had more episodes.

    AAAAAAAH HERE HAVE A HUG *hugs* YOU PUT MARTHA NEARLY AT THE TOP YOU AWESOME PERSON YOU

    1. *hugs back* I really don’t get why Martha seems to get a lot of hatred from fans. She was great.

      I wish we could’ve seen Wilf and the eleventh Doctor together. They would’ve been perfect.

  2. Cool list bro. Lemme give it a crack:

    10) Rose: Pretty much what you said, but I’m one of the few people who thought Series 1 Rose was just as terrible as series 2. Toward Mickey especially, she was an utter monster.

    Best Episode: The Satan Two Parter, Bad Wolf, Doomsday
    Worst Episodes: Boom Town,Tooth and Claw, School Reunion, And she was pretty bad in the rest of them too.

    GIANT GAP!

    9) River: Watching Series 6 in retrospect, I like River now way more than I used to, but she still doesn’t rank to highly for me, since I find the writing and Kingston’s performance to be very one note at times.

    Best Episodes: Library Two Parter, Big Bang
    Worst Episode: Lets Kill Hitler

    8) Clara: Also very underwritten, but I can’t NOT find Jenna likable, and her chemistry with Matt was brilliant. She’s kinda like Rose if you made her less mean spirited, slightly more intelligent and slightly less interesting.

    Best Episodes: Rings of Ahkaten, Day of the Doctor, Time of the Doctor
    Worst Episode: None yet, thankfully.

    7) Amy: She’s cool enough, and she developed well all things considered, but sometimes she was just…inconsistent. Beyond her relationship to the a Doctor and Rory, she was a bit bland and constantly flip-flopping. First she was a model, then a journalist for some reason. First she considered River/Mel’s a child she raised, then she was bitter about not raising a kid, then back again, etc.

    Best Episodes: Amy’s Choice, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, The Girl Who Waited
    Worst Episodes: Asylum of the Daleks,

    6) Mickey: Started out like a total tool, but by Boom Town I’d grown to really like him. He’s not exactly someone I’d want to see travel with the Doctor on his own, but he makes a great support.

    Best Episodes: World War Three, Doomsday, Stolen Earth
    Worst Episodes: Rose, Aliens of London

    5) Martha: Martha is pretty much who I look towards when I think the prototypical companion; she’s strong, competent, likable, but not terribly entertaining or effective on her own, serving as a support for the Doctor. Really underrated, and I think the fact that she’s not utterly badass like Rory, or a one line spouting machine like Amy, Donna and Rose leads a lot of people to write her off as boring.

    Best Episodes: Human Nature, Family of Blood, 42
    Worst Episode: None

    4) Jack: A great foil to the Doctor, and served well as the muscle to 9/10’s brains. Charming, competent, and interesting conceptually, I really wished I could see him interact with 11, since he’d probably treat him very differently than 9 & 10,

    Best Episodes: Stolen Earth, Doctor Dances, Utopia.
    Worst Episode: None

    3) Wilf: Endearing beyond belief, great chemistry with Ten, and probably the only redeeming factor about the End of Time. Due to his lack of screentime though he can’t really be number higher than the next two, and he doesn’t really have a best or worst episode.

    2) Donna: She kept Ten in line when he could have been way less tolerable without her influence. Not to mention she was gut bustingly hilarious and surprisingly competent. Even in terrible episodes a scene with her was gold.

    Best Episodes: The Poison Sky, Stolen Earth, Journeys End, Fires of Pompeii, Unicorn and The Wasp….actually, can I just say all of them? Yes, even Midnight.
    Worst Episode: None.

    1) Rory: Ohmtehgosh, Rory is beyond amazing. Probably the best example of character growth in the whole show, and yet never feels implausible. He’s funny, competent, supporting, and has insanely great chemistry with just about everyone.

    Best Episodes: ALL OF THEM!

  3. Rory and Donna are my favorite companions, for just how human and ordinary they are, and yet so capable of exerting massive influence onto the universe.

    As soon as I met Donna, I laughed with her, and loved her for not buying into the reputation of the Doctor. It was refreshing to me, to watch him have to struggle to impress someone again, instead of getting away with saying “I’m the Doctor” and giving that cheeky smile. More than that, I loved that Donna didn’t believe she was anything extraordinary, and yet still managed to be extraordinary. She wasn’t playing a confidence game with the world, she was simply existing.

    I could give basically the same speech about Rory, except what won me over with him, was always his patience for things that deserved it, and his utter impatience with things that should never have existed in the first place.

    Wilf would probably also be high on my list, if he had had more screen time. What I saw of him, I loved. 🙂

  4. Wilf and Donna. They’re just the best, for all the reasons that you had and more. I can’t express how much love I have for both of them.

  5. My fav modern companions are martha and River Song. Both are badass, intelligent love interests. Best of classic is Ace for beating up a dalek with a baseball bat.

  6. Excellent article, though I skipped the more recent companions since I’ve just started to watch Eleven recently and didn’t want to pre-judge anyone. I, too, hated Donna when she was first on and was *so* angry to see her return…and then I wept when she had to go. She was the most surprising to me in the long run, though I loved Martha and Wilfred as well. I think I liked Martha more when she was on her own than as a companion; she really came into her own, and I enjoyed seeing that.

  7. Clara is easily one of the most annoying companions. I like it when he traveled with Donna or Rory, someone that was not a love interest.

  8. Good list but Jack should be higher. IMO Jack is like New Who’s version of the Brig. I think Donna was among the weakest TBH and whilst I like Bernard Cribbens I think that he and 10’s relationship wasn’t very good as 10 was a bit too mean to him.

    Also Mickey isn’t the only companion we have seen get stronger Osgood did she went from being the wimpy damsel in distress to some who took the Master on head on.

    I liked Martha the best too I am glad you rate her so highly. Its good to see more Martha love for a while she was horribly underrated.

    1. It’s true about Jack, though I”m not sure I agree with you on Donna.

      My opinions on the Doctor Who companions have changed a lot since I’ve wrote this post, though. As of now it would probably go:

      Mickey*
      Rose
      Amy
      Jack
      Clara
      River
      Donna
      Rory
      Martha
      (Wilfred wouldn’t even be on the list, because now that I think of it, he’s barely a companion.)

      Does Osgood count as a companion, though?

      *I was watching an episode with Mickey the other day and was surprised by just how annoying I found him to be.

  9. 1 Clara.
    2 Rose.
    3 Amy.
    4 Martha.
    5 Rory.
    6 Jack.
    7 Sarah Jane
    8 Christina de Souza
    9 Craig Owens
    10 Wilfred Mott
    11 Astrid Peth
    12 Whoever Gemma Chan played
    13 River Song
    14 Donna Noble

    I differ from most people in loving Clara and not liking Donna so much (I should say there are no companions from the new era that I actually don’t like) I think with Eccleson leaving after one season Rose may very well have saved the show from an early exit by bridging to Tennant. Martha is underrated.

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