New Girl In Town
After months of twitter-teasing, yesterday Steven Mofatt announced that Jenna-Louise Coleman will be the newest companion to step aboard the TARDIS. Her debut is slated for the 2012 Christmas episode. According to Moffat, Coleman, who has had roles in Emmerdale, Waterloo Road and Captain America, had an amazing audition and “was the only person he’d met who could go faster than Smith.” Knowing Moffat’s attention to detail and integrated story-telling, I have no doubt that Coleman is up for the job and her story will compelling, however I can’t help feeling this casting was a missed opportunity.
With every cast change Doctor Who has an opportunity to reinvent itself, to take the story in a new and interesting direction. By casting yet another conventionally pretty, young girl it feels like we’re just treading water. And I don’t think I’m the only one. While at the Gallifrey One convention this year I sat on a panel entitled “Building the Perfect Companion”. During the course of that panel we did an informal straw poll and, by process of elimination, the large room all agreed that their preferred companion would be something completely different and, surprisingly, skewed dramatically toward an older, male companion. In fact, the consensus was they’d like to seen anything BUT a conventionally pretty, young girl. And please, for the love of all that’s holy, please no more mooning over the Doctor.
Now, let’s be honest, you and I and the 100+ people in that panel audience, also known as “the devoted brethren”, are going to watch the show regardless of who is driving or who is in the jump seat. This casting wasn’t for “us” it was for the wider, global audience and the safest bet in any market is a conventionally pretty, young girl. Even with those parameters in place they missed the opportunity to expand that definition by bringing in a woman of color. (Personally, I was hoping for a magical TARDIS re-do and the return of the fantastic Amara Karan from “The God Complex”.)
Of course there are still more questions than answers at this point. Other than her debut we know absolutely nothing about Coleman’s character. And that’s okay. Isn’t the best part about these announcements the months of speculation on who, what, where, when and how? Even if Moffat is playing it safe with the casting there are still plenty of risks that can be taken with storytelling. Will she be an alien? A women from the past? The future? As long as her origin story falls away from the standard “woman from present-day United Kingdom” I think things will be pretty cool. And I wish Jenna-Louise Coleman all the best in this trip of a lifetime.
So, what are you thoughts on the new companion?
Posted by Deborah on Thursday, March 22 at 8:55 am