There’s big news in the nerd world today, guys. Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has announced the newest companion to appear on Doctor Who after Amy and Rory leave mid-next season, and I’m unreasonably excited about it.
First, if you’re reading this because you only have a vague interest in the show, let me talk about what a companion is on the show. So you have the Doctor, a 900ish-year-old Time Lord (alien) who travels all of time and space fixing problems and trying to live with the enormous guilt of having destroyed his entire race in the Time War hundreds of years earlier. Naturally, that would get you down, so he almost always has a companion, a human, usually young woman (except Donna Noble (Catherine Tate), who is also my personal favorite), who accompanies him and helps him keep his compassion and provide perspectives that aren’t quite as jaded as his own. And, more often than he’d probably like to admit, these companions wind up saving him through their own humanity and wits. Most of the time, the companions are feeling rather down on their luck and jaded about their own lives, and the Doctor comes along and helps them realize that they do have an impact on more than they think, often shaping all of time and space (Bad Wolf, the Doctor Donna, etc) as they do. It’s really hard to explain Doctor Who succinctly. Sorry.
I had heard mumbles of a possible male companion, and you know I was against that – like we need more male-dominated television. But at the same time, I was nervous that Moffat’s desire to push the envelope with expectations might lead him full circle back to patriarchy. However, clearly I was nervous for no reason, as the lovely Jenna-Louise Coleman has been cast to start her run next season.
Coleman (pictured above with showrunner Steven Moffat), who is 25 and from Blackpool, will begin her stint on the show in next year’s Christmas special, after the current companions depart in the episode before. In an interview with the Guardian, she said that she got the announcement while grocery shopping: “I was in Marks & Spencers holding an avocado. I put my basket down and left Marks & Spencers. But I couldn’t tell anyone so I went for a bit of a walk and tried to digest. It was really quite surreal.” Basically, she sounds like a great person, and I couldn’t be more excited.
BBC One Controller Danny Cohen said in the official BBC announcement that “As we approach Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary it’s great to welcome a new companion to the TARDIS. I feel confident the Doctor will look after her in his own very unique style.”
However, Moffat wouldn’t reveal even the name of her character, saying instead that it’s all “part of one of the biggest mysteries the Time Lord ever encounters. Even by the Doctor’s standards, this isn’t your usual boy meets girl.” So this leaves me wondering if she’s going to be playing a human. I imagine they won’t do any real makeup work on her, but as Time Lords are alien, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Coleman’s character is some sort of alien, too (a la Romana, even?).
Amy and Rory (Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill) are expected to leave after the fifth episode of the new season while in an encounter with the Weeping Angels. While I’m thrilled to see the Angels back, I’m quite nervous about Moffat’s statement after.
As Moffat is generally recognized by the Internet as being “a giant troll,” I don’t know if I believe this means that Amy and/or Rory dies here. I mean, Moffat did say a while back that he would never stop killing Rory, but the pair have been so fantastic over two and the coming half seasons that I think it would be a true disservice to their characters to literally kill them. Somehow, I think that we may be about to see Amy and Rory take some Angels to school, which I would love to see more than anything (given that we really haven’t beaten them before without outside help, like the time erasure crack).
No word on what’s going to happen to River next season, but somehow I suspect she may be getting wrapped up, as well. After all, we saw her last chronological kiss with the Doctor, so we know she’s on her way to the Library. When Amy and Rory go, she may go with them (or, as I’ve heard tossed around, they may join her in the Library).
Curious about Doctor Who and don’t know where to start? The two episodes I always recommend people watch are “Blink” (s3, David Tennant) and “Vincent and the Doctor” (s5, Matt Smith). They’re fairly self-contained and give you a somewhat good introduction to what the show is really all about, at its heart. I found it hard to start with season one of NewWho (Chris Eccleston) just because the production quality is pretty low, but season two starts Tennant’s run and suddenly they got a lot bigger budget or something, because it is way better in almost every way. So you can start with season two, but I’d recommend reading a quick summary of season one, or at least of the last few episodes, so you can be caught up on the big events from the end.
What do you think about the new casting? Are you sad to see Amy and Rory (and possibly River) go? Excited to see how Matt Smith interacts with a new companion?