5 Unexpected Similarities Between My Favorite David Tennant Characters


David Tennant has long been one of my favorite actors, and I’ve recently stumbled across the realization that two of the roles with which he’s most strongly associated share a great deal more in common than just the man who portrays them. Like many others, I was first made aware of Tennant when he was cast as Doctor Who’s Tenth Doctor in 2005. Of every Doctor actor, it’d still be tough for me to rank him anywhere else but first place. He made such an impression on me during my formative years that I’ve followed his career ever since.

His temporary Doctor Who return for the 60th-anniversary specials as the Fourteenth Doctor led me to revisit some of my other favorite David Tennant projects. Despite his Shakespearean background, Tennant has become something of an icon in more fantastical genres, meaning his sci-fi/fantasy credits extend far beyond some of the greatest Doctor Who stories of all time. I wouldn’t say he’s been particularly typecast, as he still appears in a variety of stories, some of which are incredibly grounded. However, I find he shines brightest when he steps into characters with a few degrees of separation from reality.

Good Omens’ Crowley & The Tenth Doctor Share Several Similarities

Tennant’s Doctor Who character serves as a loose template for his Good Omens persona

Watching Good Omens, it’s impossible to ignore the parallels between Crowley and Tennant’s Doctor. The first connection I noticed is that neither character is human, but there are so many other similarities. For example, while they’re both very capable men, they work much better as part of a duo – with Michael Sheen’s Aziraphale filling the companion-esque role for Crowley. Additionally, both the Doctor and Crowley are functionally immortal. In other words, they can die, but they could also technically live forever. The Doctor has limitless regenerations, whereas Crowley has his existence as a demon to rely on.

Interestingly, there’s also the fact that both of these Tennant characters have a vehicle with a mind of its own – the TARDIS, and Crowley’s Bentley. However, even the finer points of each character are startlingly similar. For instance, both the Tenth Doctor and Crowley wear glasses – but neither man needs them to augment their vision. The Tenth Doctor has admitted that he pulls out his glasses only when he wants to look especially clever, and Crowley uses his opaque lenses to hide the stark yellow of his demon eyes as he walks among humans.

The Tenth Doctor has admitted that he pulls out his glasses only when he wants to look especially clever, and Crowley uses his opaque lenses to hide the stark yellow of his demon eyes as he walks among humans.

The more I looked, the more I found. Of course, the fact that Tennant abandons his native Scottish accent for an English one in both shows certainly helps me see the similarities, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Crowley’s speech patterns are also reminiscent of the Tenth Doctor’s. This could just be a quirk of them sharing the same actor bringing them to life, though.

Good Omens Is Full Of Doctor Who References & Easter Eggs

The Prime adaptation of Pratchett & Gaiman’s book is aware of its ties to Doctor Who

I believe Good Omens is fully aware that its viewers find it difficult not to look at Crowley and think of the Tenth Doctor. Instead of bending over backward trying to avoid inevitable comparisons, Good Omens has included several references to Doctor Who, meaning Prime Video is simply leaning into its duty to acknowledge the unavoidable past of one of its biggest stars. Some of the references to Doctor Who in Good Omens are very subtle. For instance, the Good Omens season 2 cast includes several figures in guest roles who have played established Doctor Who characters.

Some of the references to Doctor Who in Good Omens are very subtle.

However, the references that I found much easier to spot included the moments when Good Omens directly mentions the Doctor Who franchise. From Doctor Who annuals to fictional musicals based on the long-running British sci-fi show, Good Omens isn’t afraid to flirt with the meta edges of a fourth wall break. That being said, the only era directly referenced in Good Omens is Doctor Who’s classic era. So, my theory is that in the world of Good Omens, the 2005 Doctor Who revival never happened. That way, Amazon can avoid the issues of Crowley sharing the Tenth Doctor’s face.

Why Crowley & The Tenth Doctor Are My Favorite David Tennant Characters

The complexity of Tennant’s Doctor Who and Good Omens personas make them incredibly appealing

Tennant’s charisma as an actor makes him perfectly suited to playing larger-than-life characters, so I love seeing him take on these sorts of roles. Crowley and the Doctor fit into this category perfectly, and they allow Tennant to apply real-world logic and emotion that a human character might feel, then bend and twist the sensation to apply it to a persona that wouldn’t have the same reference points as the audience. Even when he undertakes this incredibly difficult task, I still somehow find the character relatable, despite not being from an alien planet or the depths of hell myself.

The depth and complexity of both characters are also a massive part of what I find so appealing about them. On the surface, they each seem every inch of what they are. Crowley, a demon, seems very selfish but also shows so many flashes of light that I can’t see him as a villain – because, ultimately, he isn’t. Inversely, the Doctor is the hero of Doctor Who, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some incredibly dark moments in his past, present, and future. In fact, Tennant’s Tenth Doctor had some particularly brutal scenes.

Although Crowley can be incredibly reluctant at times to step in and be the hero, he does do it. So, he’s more like the Doctor than he probably thinks. However, Tennant has a talent for playing true villains as well as morally gray antiheroes, and he shines just as brightly in these roles too. For instance, Tennant was great when voicing the Lord Commander in Netflix’s Final Space. When the animated sci-fi show was canceled, I was devastated that one of Tennant’s most underrated roles was suddenly a thing of the past.

I also can’t mention my favorite David Tennant characters without bringing up Nick Kilgrave from Jessica Jones. While Tennant has done tremendously in his other antagonist roles, Kilgrave was the perfect storm of a perfectly written bad guy being brought to life by the only actor for the job. Sure, the character’s surname may have been a little on the nose for a villain, but Marvel is one of the few franchises that can get away with that sort of thing. Either way, David Tennant’s performance immediately solved any misgivings I might have had going in.