(Spoilers: casting for new Doctor Who companion.)
Ok, I've calmed down a bit now. It might not be as awful as it seems. Billie Piper seemed like a dodgy bit of stunt casting back in the day, and she was great. Donna won't be (CAN'T be) as annoying as she was last time.
And the Doctor does need someone to kick him around and shout at him, and she was very good at that.
But...but... it just seems like such an absolute waste. Doctor Who, especially in its modern, one-story-per-episode format, has to be a very lean show. The TARDIS materialises, and then you've got about 40 minutes to set up a mystery, or even a whole alien world, introduce a new cast, establish them as characters we care about, surprise us, bring on a rubber monster, set up how the Doctor is going to save the day, and resolve the whole thing. These days, you also need to add in a hidden keyword, too. The Companion has several very specific burdens to bear if you're going to cram all that in without resorting to Magic Pixie Dust or the Magic Screwdriver of Greyskull.
The Companion has to be able to:
- Provide someone for the Doctor to explain things to
- Ask excellent questions
Optionally, the Companion can also do useful stuff, like press buttons or beat people up or provide more explanations. The Companion's background can also provide interesting new plots.
Donna, we know, can scream. I'm not sure about any of the rest.
She's not an Excellent Questions type (this is the woman who was about to marry a guy who was using her as an incubator for Plot Devices), I can't imagine her interacting very well with the guest cast or finding out vital bits of plot half as well as Rose or Martha, and her backstory doesn't open up any new plots.
Basically, we might as well have Jackie Tyler as the new Companion. (I think I'd prefer that.)
Gah. I'll admit I'm curious to see what they do with her, but I'm having to choke down the instinctive bile.