Season 3 of Doctor Who is the first season that’s really about the Doctor. Okay, yeah, he shared equal billing with Rose in Season 2, but once Rose is out of the way, Doctor Who finally starts being about the Doctor.
The Christmas special here is about the star of Season 4 (okay, I can kind of see why Tenant didn’t want a companion for his last season), although there’s so much What-the-fuckery here that Donna Noble’s abrasiveness isn’t… too much.
From there we get Martha, and… well, okay, I should say something.
No, Rose isn’t the best companion.
But Martha isn’t the best companion either.
And Donna sure as fuck isn’t the best companion.
River is… uh… ‘Nuff said.
Amy is okay, and Rory is cool.
I’m NOT counting the companions from Season 4.5.
So let’s get over this and that about the companions. The 9th and 10th Doctors did not have any perfect companions. The only thing that makes Rose different is because she was around longer. That said, Martha’s main personality goal seemed to be that she had a crush on the Doctor, but he didn’t care because the Doctor doesn’t much like black characters. Okay, stupid joke but the trend is not very favorably in the direction of Mickey and Martha. Luckily, there are like 3 black people in all of Davies’s Britain, so Martha and Mickey ended up getting married despite living in completely different universes.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Season 3 has the best adventures. No, that would probably go to Season 1 actually, but the reason I love Season 3 so much is because it has the best Doctor. The 10th Doctor is my favorite Doctor- I can get over the ego because almost all of the Doctors have this ego. He’s really the way I picture the Doctor, even to this day: as the one who wins not because he’s stronger than a human, or because he can regenerate, or has a TARDIS, but the person who wins because he’s smarter than the guy he’s fighting against and also never afraid. Diamanda Hagan has talked about the 10th Doctor being a coward. I actually see this as part of a different flaw: the fact that his ego just kept growing. He doesn’t seem to be afraid of death toward the end so much that he believes that he- this very specific incarnation that he even made an effort to keep in “Journey’s End”, is indispensable to the universe. That, and he can be rather self-centered when he wants or doesn’t want something. But, again, all of the Doctors have it; this one just reminds us why this is a character flaw.
Ironically, some of the more popular episodes of this season are ones that didn’t do much for me. “Blink” is extremely well-loved, while I just found it to be an average episode. The “Family of Blood” two-parter just seemed rather… broken to me. I don’t know, maybe I just didn’t get it properly, but the most that I got out of this was the ability that was used to set up the Season Finale, much in the way “Blink” was set up for a Season 5 episode.
While I can be down on Martha sometimes, when she’s operating outside of her assigned roles, she can be pretty awesome. She was a soldier slash prophet for what, a year, as she worked to convince all of mankind to share a single thought at a specific time in the future.
I guess I should talk about the Master. I agree, this is probably the least imposing cast choice that the Master has ever had. Sure, someone in the 90s decided that the iconic evil beard wasn’t a necessary part of the Master. But now he’s a cackling idiot who has a screwdriver dick-measuring contest with the Doctor. John Simm puts his all into this performance, but it just doesn’t work. He doesn’t fit the role, he doesn’t fit the script, and he doesn’t fit the Master. This felt off to me even before I was exposed to Old Doctor Who- he just looks too young to fool Earth into giving him the role that they do, and he’s just too insane (this is, admittedly, probably more the script than anything else) to pull off the plans that are attributed to him. While the old Master at times seemed to have devolved into an amalgamation of negative traits poured into one bad guy, that was after decades of use and running into walls with a hectic shooting schedule. He was quickly back on his feet in time for the made for TV movie, in which he was once again cunning and sinister, and then came “Utopia”.
The ending 3 parter could have been epic, and in many ways it was, but the choice of a young, cackling Master took away from the serial in subtle ways that were difficult to determine, yet obvious, even before learning more about the Master. This season is much the same way- some odd choices that really bring out all of the flaws that were present during the run of the Tenth Doctor, yet in other ways a powerful epic with a really strong Doctor.
Next: Donna Noble, professional bitch, and the Doctor-Donna.