Friday, July 7, 2006

ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME?

A few nights after the broadcast of the episode "Army Of Ghosts", the BBC announced who would replace Billie Piper as a companion on 'Doctor Who'.

Her name is Freema Agyeman, and she will be the second "companion of color", following Noel Clarke as Mickey Smith. Mickey joined his ex-girlfriend and the Doctor for a few trips through Time and Space, before choosing to remain behind in an alternate dimension to battle the Cybermen.

There have been a few tut-tuts uttered online in the fan base about her casting.......

From the blog "Behind The Sofa":
I think it’s ludicrous to cast someone we’ve seen so recently as another character; I hope that there’s an explanation, but alas, I doubt that there will be…
Posted by: Will

Thankfully, so far as I can tell, nobody is complaining about her skin color. (Things would be different if they choose a new hue for 'Who' with the next regeneration. Then you would see the jerks come out of the woodwork. They have in the past....)

No, the problem some of these fans have is that Freema Agyeman was just seen in the episode "Army Of Ghosts", and now she's coming back as a new character within the space of about three episodes. (Granted, there's almost a year's wait before Season Three starts up, and she won't be in the next Christmas special, but still. None of that matters once it all goes to DVD.)

And apparently, she has to return as a new character. I have yet to see "Army Of Ghosts", but I understand her character Adeola Oshodi doesn't fare at all well. (I'll wait to see it as a "double feature" with the season finale "Doomsday".)

So by at least the first episode of Season Three, Freema Agyeman will be joining the Doctor as Martha Jones.

I don't know why those fans should be so upset by her return as a new character to become a regular; this sort of thing happens in Toobworld all the time.

Usually if the Powers That Be liked an actor's performance in a one-shot performance in a role, they will be asked to bring that character back to join the cast. Such was the case with Georgia Engel as Georgette Franklin on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show', and Christopher Lloyd as Reverend Jim Ignatowski on 'Taxi'.

But there are plenty of examples of an actor playing a guest role on a TV series and then coming back as a completely new character on a regular basis.

HARRY MORGAN - This great, enduring character actor was seen as certifiable Major General Bartford Hamilton Steele in "The General Flippped At Dawn". When Henry Blake perished in the Sea of Japan, Morgan returned as the new commanding officer for the 'M*A*S*H' unit 4077, Colonel Sherman T. Potter.

JERRY ORBACH - The song-and-dance man with the hangdog expression left an indelible mark on the long-running 'Law & Order' with twelve years of service as Detective Lennie Briscoe. He even helped to launch a sequel, 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury' by joining that cast for a few episodes before his death.

But a lot of people probably don't even remember far enough back to when Orbach showed up as defense lawyer Frank Lehman in "The Wages Of Love".

VINCENT GARDENIA - He first showed up on 'All In The Family' as wife-swappin' swinger Curtis Rempley in "The Bunkers And The Swingers"; and then as the Bunkers' former neighbor Jim Bowman, who sold his house to the Jeffersons in "Lionel Moves Into The Neighborhood".

Surprisingly, Archie didn't mention the resemblance when he moved back into the neighborhood as Frank Lorenzo!

JOHN MAHONEY - This one is a little different. Mahoney showed up in the bar 'Cheers' as a piano tuner named Sy Flembeck in the episode "Do Not Forsake Me, O' My Postman". I would think bar patron Dr. 'Frasier' Crane might have remarked upon Sy's resemblance to his own father, as Mahoney was later cast as Martin Crane beginning with the first episode of the sequel.

MAJEL BARRETT - In the pilot episode of 'Star Trek' ("The Cage"), Ms. Barrett was given the plum assignment of the second-in-command, known only as "Number One". But at some point between that originally unaired pilot and the actual series, most of those original members of the crew were gone; replaced by the Enterprise officers we know today.

This time around, Majel Barrett was seen on a regular basis as Nurse Christine Chapel who had an urequited crush on Mr. Spock. Even though we never knew Number One's name, she definitely was not Christine Chapel; and the job of nurse was definitely a step down from being the First Officer.

But at least she still had a job. So there are some benefits to being involved with the show's Creator.....

And it's not even like this sort of thing hasn't happened before within the 'Doctor Who' series itself, as some of those fans have pointed out.....

Come on, it's not like they've cast Peter Davidson as the new companion without explanation. Freema was in AoG for all of five minutes, and her character was strictly redshirt material. Anyway, B5 got away with worse than this - anyone remember when Ed Wasser went from dome tech to Mr. Morden in the space of a few episodes?
Posted by:Matthew

PETER PURVES - Within the same story of 'Doctor Who' ("Flight Through Eternity"), Purves went from playing a hillbilly on the observation deck of the Empire State Building to joining the Doctor as companion Steven Taylor!

As for me? I'm thrilled. What makes any drama interesting is the growth and change of its characters and Rose's arc had pretty much ground to a standstill. I wonder how they're going to explain either (a) the character's return or (b) the character looking like someone we've already seen? (*kof* Romana *kof*)
Posted by: ?

LALLA WARD - As the mysterious poster pointed out, the show provided a splainin as to Ms. Ward's resemblance between her two characters. After appearing as Princess Astra in "The Armegeddon Factor", she then took over the role of Gallifreyan Time Lady Romana from Mary Tamm. For her regeneration, Romana chose the form of Princess Astra as the template.

How has everyone forgotten a certain Baker being called on to play the Doctor after already having been in the series? And he was the Bloomin' Lead!
Posted by Coleberg

COLIN BAKER - Finally, there's the case of the Doctor himself, Sixth Incarnation. In the episode "Arc Of Infiinity", Baker guest-starred as Commander Maxil who was in charge of the Chancellory Guard on Gallifrey.

In later interviews, Colin Baker has chuckled over the fact that before he assumed the role of the Doctor, he got to shoot his predecessor in the back. (He stunned the Fifth Doctor before delivering him to the Gallifreyan High Council.)

As an ambassador without portfolio to Toobworld, I'd congratulate Freema Agyeman for landing the role of the Doctor's new traveling companion. And the fact that another one of her characters has already appeared in the Doctor's corner of the vast TV Universe is nothing more than a time-honored tradition in Toobworld.

So welcome aboard the TARDIS, Martha Jones!

It's just a shame about that name. Martha Jones? BOOOOOORING! Couldn't RTD spring for something more interesting?

At least her previous incarnation was blessed with the musical "Adeola Oshodi". Couldn't she at least have been an identical cousin of Adeola's? How about Uhura Oshodi?

Oh well. It could have been worse. It has been worse in the past.

Remember the lumpen moniker of "Mel Bush"?

BCnU!
Tele-Toby

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are actually some fans who hold a theory that the Doctor either appropriated or had forced upon him Maxil's body (the head of the Gallifreyan Guard) when he regenerated into his sixth incarnation. They fit this into that young a body needing such a sudden regeneration, thus leading to the instability seen at the start of the 6th Doctor's run.

There's just no reason to worry about common actors within Doctor Who. Otherwise, there's the fact Philip Madoc has been on the show four or five times, as have several other performers.

Besides, the Doctor has found a few doubles around the universe/earth, such as the Abbot of Amboise looking like the first Doctor, and the evil Salamander being identical with the second Doctor, so clearly its possible to have duplicates.

You didn't mention (unless I missed it) that Nicholas Courtney was agent Bret Vyon in the Dalek Masterplan serial two years and a Doctor before he first played Lethbridge-Stewart.

And not to cross forums Toby, but I saw you responded to a comment I made about Dimensions in Time over at Tommy Westphall--besides the fact most fans don't count DiT, is there any reason a show couldn't be called EastEnders within the Doctor Who framework?

Hugh

WordsSayNothing said...

Even though it's the obvious solution, I'm kinda hoping that Martha will somehow end up being Adeola's counterpart from "The Age of Steel" alternate universe (for lack of a better term). Perhaps Martha was a freedom fighter from that reality that crossed over into 'our' Earth, but somehow she gets left behind after "Doomsday" is resolved, and being that she doesn't fit into 'our' Earth, she opts to join the Doctor in the TARDIS. Perhaps 'Martha Jones' was a pseudonym developed by Adeola Oshodi in that alternate reality to escape from the Cybermen. Or perhaps 'Martha Jones' was Adeola Oshodi's real name on 'our' Earth, and she changed her name at some point prior to "Army of Ghosts". (Zod knows if my name were 'Martha Jones', I'd certainly want to change it to something more exciting-sounding.) Technically, this would still make the Doctor's new companion a new, separate character from the deceased Adeola, and at the same time probably satisfy the naysayers.

I hope I haven't spoiled anything for you! ;)

John McGrath said...

Actually, Vincent Gardenia's first appearance in "All in the Family" was not as Curtis Rempley. Before that, Gardenia played Jim Bowman, who sold his house to the Jeffersons in the "Lionel Moves Into the Neighborhood" episode.