Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Who Travels With the Doctor?: Essays on the Companions of Doctor Who, edited by Gillian I Leitch and Sherry Ginn.
This collection of pop-scholarly papers concerns itself with the “companion” characters in the half century of Doctor Who science fiction television. The majority of these are treatments that are principally preoccupied with gender. Several of them identify one or two companions for lengthy analysis. Such treatments are provided for Jo Grant, Sarah Jane Smith, Rose Tyler, Rory Williams, and River Song.
I think I best enjoyed the papers on outlier topics that concluded the volume: one on “companions who weren’t” (i.e. Madame de Pompadour and Astrid Peth) and the other on companion characters in novels written during the inter-series hiatus of 1991-2005. In general, the papers concerned with the “classic” series seemed to be of a higher quality than those focused on the 21st-century episodes.
The authors are all academically credentialed, and clearly writing for an academic audience, despite often wearing fandom on their sleeves. Each paper is endnoted, and there is a full reference bibliography. Hardcore fans may find some enjoyment here, but on the whole, the scholarly tone tends to dampen enthusiasm, while the pervasive tendency to hypostatize fantasy television characters creates a sense of misplaced priorities. [via]