BklnScott, on 20 March 2012 - 08:36 PM, said:
(I'm sure they had more leeway in designing companions back in the old days, before the show was such a mega hit.)
In the old
old days, in the Doctor's first two incarnations where he was an older, not very physical man, he was always partnered with a younger, heroic man who spearheaded the action and at least one female companion. His first two female companions, his granddaughter Susan and her history teacher Barbara, were both pretty strong in their ways; Susan was mysterious, exotic, and brilliant, and Barbara was a strong-willed, mature woman. But later on it settled into a pattern where there was typically one young man of action (or two at one point) and one young woman who typically didn't do much beyond look cute and scream at the monsters (especially Polly and Victoria). Zoe, the Second Doctor's last female companion, was somewhat better because she was a genius and sometimes even more on the ball than the Doctor, but she still screamed a lot (and was incredibly
The Third Doctor was more a man of action in his own right, so his era was the beginning of the tradition of teaming the Doctor with only one female companion -- first the scientist Liz Shaw, then the sweet, goofy, but very brave Jo Grant, and then the intrepid Sarah Jane Smith. He also had the Brigadier and UNIT as semi-regular sidekicks, but they weren't formal companions. The Fourth Doctor was initially expected to be less physical, so he was given a strapping male companion for one season, but it proved unnecessary, so they soon went back to the Doctor-and-one-woman model. Not only was the Fourth Doctor able to handle the action, but his female companions grew increasingly strong and capable. Although a few years in he got the robot dog K-9 as a "male" companion who carried a lot of the action (he had a laser built into his nose).
In the Fourth's last season and into the Fifth's era, there was a shift to more of an ensemble cast, with companion groupings ranging from one male/one female to one male/two female to two female and then back the other way. In this more character-driven period, the male companions weren't about being muscle but about creating danger for the Doctor, whether through naivete in Adric's case or questionable morals in Turlough's. But throughout the Sixth and Seventh Doctor eras, the Doctor reverted to having just one female companion at a time.
Anyway, I was hoping that they'd transition to a stint with Alex Kingston as the proper female lead (which I think was rumored last spring or summer) but that's not feeling particularly likely anymore, is it?
I'm not sure whether I'd like that or not. I'm not sure it would serve River well if she were overused. Might be best to keep her for special occasions.
I would've liked to see Rani & Clyde from the tragically-cut-short The Sarah Jane Adventures
become regular travelers in the TARDIS (because I adore Anjli Mohindra), and I think Canton Everett Delaware would make a cool companion too (if Mark Sheppard were willing to move back to England).