Doctor Who Took 37 Years To Fix A 1980S Companion The Classic Series Got Wrong

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Doctor Who season 14 rehabilitated a 1980s companion who was not well-received when she first appeared. The classic era of Doctor Who had several companions that audiences didn’t warm to, especially during its final decade. Most companions during the show’s first 50 years were female, and some did little more than scream and act scared, though the series improved its depiction of women by the end of its original run. By then, audiences expected every companion to be three-dimensional and didn’t want to put up with those who didn’t want to try to help themselves get out of trouble.

After Doctor Who’s original cancellation in 1989, audio adventures and original novels kept classic companions alive, but the 2005 continuation of the series initially ignored their existence in favor of new stories and characters. However, some of the best Doctor Who stories have featured companions from the classic era. Jodie Whittaker’s era of the series ended with the revelation that every Doctor Who companion is invited to join a support group at UNIT to help them adjust to Earthbound life after they leave the TARDIS for the final time, and one classic companion was rewritten to be more enjoyable.

Doctor Who Season 14 Makes Mel A Much Better Character Than The Classic Series Ever Did

She Is Far Stronger A Character, Making Her Less Irritating

Melanie Bush was unarguably one of the least popular companions during her original run. She was originally a health nut who tried to force things such as carrot juice onto the Doctor and was easily scared and confused. In short, Mel fit the outdated mold of the screaming female who had a quirk or two but no real depth to her character, which no longer resonated with viewers in the 1980s. Additionally, she premiered during “Trial of a Time Lord,” one of the most hated classic series episodes, which made it harder for audiences to warm up to her.

Mel’s reappearance during season 14 of the continuation fixed most of these problems. Rather than being mostly passive, Mel was now a computer analyst for UNIT who displayed intelligence and courage regularly. She had the fortitude to stand up to the Doctor when he was spiraling into self-pity, and grabbed her motorcycle to get him back to UNIT HQ as soon as possible after the crisis began. Ultimately, she was possessed by Sutekh after her “death,” but did her best to fight his influence and did not scream once throughout the adventure.

What Went Wrong With Bonnie Langford’s Mel In Doctor Who’s Classic Series

The Character’s Lack of Depth Was Characteristic of The Colin Baker Era

The problems with Melanie’s original character went deeper than her tendency toward screaming and her need to offer the Doctor annoying advice. These were symptoms of a larger issue: her character was underdeveloped for plot purposes during “Trial of a Time Lord” and was never fully fleshed out afterward. Doctor Who wasted Colin Baker’s talent with absurd stories that did little to attract viewers at a time when the series’ future was in jeopardy, and the way Melanie was written during her introduction and in subsequent stories featuring Sylvester McCoy similarly wasted Bonnie Langford’s.

Melanie is no longer a stereotypical screaming female, and her character is now fully formed.

The 2005 continuation of Doctor Who corrected many of the errors made in the final years of the classic series, and the poor writing for Mel was one of the biggest changes the series recently made. Melanie is no longer a stereotypical screaming female, and her character is now fully formed. She was a strong asset to the Doctor during her recent appearance, and her resurrection after being killed by Sutekh means that she can continue to be a recurring character in the next season of modern Who.

 

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