Friday, October 21, 2011

It’s That Sort of Day: Ode to My Favorite Companion

The danger in sharing an ongoing story is the risk that you’ll have to put an asterisk on your assessments. Most of You’ll Love This covered shows that were done for this reason—they could be definitive, which was reassuring, because invariably quality goes down over time. Settings become strained, stories get repeated, tricks lose their effectiveness, characters wear out their welcome. Right around 4 years, it seems, shows would be well served to start thinking about how to close things out, while the sense of freshness is still a recent memory, before this inevitable entropy infects the shows bones. For a show to enter my favorite phase in its 5th (or, depending, 47th) year? Why only the most remarkable man in the universe could accomplish such a feat!
            I covered Doctor Who at the end of Series 4, including the specials that completed the journey of the much beloved Tenth Doctor, which seemed like a pretty good point to take stock. Both a new show-runner was being put in charge, and a new actor would assume the role of the Eleventh Doctor—chances were, it’d be a whole new show. Miraculously, it turned from a show I enjoyed into a show I adored. Retro camp got dialed down in favor of something closer to Henson-esque whimsy, serialization increased, plots increasingly became intricate time riddles, character bits and witty jokes abounded. It was a show that featured a more nuanced, interesting and often funny take on the Doctor (who now had an absolutely killer musical cue), accompanied by my absolute favorite companion. With the recent end of series 6, it seems that companion is leaving the stage. If that’s the case, I’m taking the chance to extol the virtues of the Doctor’s greatest companion: the Pond-Williamses. Unfair to call two characters one companion? Too bad!