Is Yaz Now a Lost Cause?

As Doctor Who fans we tend to disagree on a range of issues; who is the best companion, are Cybermen better than the Daleks, is Peter Capaldi amazing or really, really amazing etc. But I think the one thing we all agree on is that Yasmin Khan, companion to the 13th Doctor, is severely underused.

I mean, "Yaz is sick" would have done it.
I do think having episodes where it's just the Doctor, Ryan and Graham, and another where it's just the Doctor and Yaz would do wonders for the characters.
Yeah, also in spyfall wasn’t her boss literally being like “why do you keep disappearing you’re not going to become a proper police officer at this rate” or something to the same effect? Like, you already have your excuse. Yaz has to go do her training or whatever, she’ll be back next week.
I guess maybe that scene was only in there so they could make the undercover joke?? Idk
Edit: misread the comment but my point still stands I guess lol
Nardole at least had some personality and as missy said served as the comic relief to Bills exposition. But in this case all of the companions are exposition and have no personalities besides Graham
Nardole had far more personality, usefulness and development than Yaz.
I wouldn't mind that. Once every now and then a companion or two could stay home.
It's hard with 4 people in the Tardis to work everyone in. Even with just Amy and Rory it took a while before Rory became a real contributor, though he was used as Amy's advocate from the start. I hate to think they'd bring her in just to be a love interest for Ryan but I kind of worry that's the case.
If she was a love interest she'd at least get some development.
That being said I think she has more chemistry with The Doctor than Ryan.
And no she doesn't have that much chemistry with The Doctor.
But why is it that hard for Doctor Who to juggle 4 characters when many shows do a good job of developing 5+ main characters? I suppose you could put some of it down to the “new adventure every episode” premise, but I still feel like Who has an unusually difficult time handling what is ultimately a fairly small amount of characters.
I dont want the Yaz/Ryan love thing purely because it seems too obvious. Young man and young woman in the TARDIS fall in love. It would be much more interesting if one of them fell in love with an alien or something and stayed on that planet, idk.
But why is it that hard for Doctor Who to juggle 4 characters when many shows do a good job of developing 5+ main characters? I suppose you could put some of it down to the “new adventure every episode” premise, but I still feel like Who has an unreasonably difficult time handling what is ultimately a fairly small amount of characters.
Ryan’s love interest is Yaz’s sister
One vote for really, really amazing
i see we are all fans of culture here
Amazing is still an underwhelming descriptor for Capaldi.
It's him or John Hurt for the finest actor ever to play the role
But david tennant is infinitely amazing
Trade em out. This week Yaz, next week, G and Ryan. Doc has too many companions. It didn't work for Doc 5, it isn't working for 13
I think it worked better for Doc 5, even though Nyssa kind of got the short straw until Adric, um, left. (Spoilers!)
In that dynamic, Tegan was antagonistic, Adric was immature, and Nyssa was the peacekeeper. The Doctor was the imperfect patriarch of this little "family." Yaz would make a great peacekeeper, but there's no tension between the Doctor and Graham or Ryan for her to ease.
I think the current fam would have been more successful if they had gone into it with some plan for how the companion characters would play off each other and the Doctor. Or I should say some more interesting plan, because the only plan seems to be that everyone gets along great, and all the companions are just sheep tagging along with the Doctor.
Even the original Tardis team of Susan, Ian, and Barbara, had tension. The Doctor basically kidnapped the teachers to prevent them from revealing his presence on Earth. They begrudgingly went along on the adventures because they had no choice, and having those adventures brought them closer together. The current team just seems to have bonded as much as they're going to in the first episode of S11, and has stagnated since then, for the most part. (I concede, Ryan and Yaz got some fun interplay in these new episodes that hint that there's more to come with their friendship.)
It worked for the first Doctor and they keep trying to do it again. With the duration each episode and story has now, it's imposible. If every story were a multi-part story, they would be able to develop every character.
I just can't wrap my head around why they wanted so many companions if they are unable to come up with uses for them
They wanted it to be like The classic show (but I guess they forgot that the classic show didn't give the characters much development and also had much longer stories so everyone at least had something to do).
I genuinely think Chris Chibnall is just out of his depth and doesn't really know what he's doing.
That's what galls me the most. The three companions have interesting backgrounds or personalities... that have zero impact on their actions as companions. Yaz is the biggest offender. She's a police officer in training, which has ZERO relevance to her time spent with the Doctor.
It's like as soon as they get into the TARDIS the three of them turn into some sort of audience inserts. They're just there to react to stuff and roleplay being awesome. In Spyfall, Yaz could have easily used her training as a police officer to get her foot in the door at Vor... Instead, she pulls off being a journalist flawlessly because she's awesome. That's a pointless Mary Sue move.
Companions work well when they play off the Doctor and pull him/her in interesting directions. But this bunch is just along for the ride, which is a weird thing to say because it's not even like the Doctor has this all-encompassing personality that doesn't give them an inch to play with.
I'm more or less convinced that they decided early on to do a Partition episode and that Yaz only exists to make it work.
Fun fact: Yaz had only 12 lines in Orphan 55.
I think it's an issue with all the companions this series and it's boiled down to them not having any real clear relationship with the Doctor nor an actual reason to travel with her. Yaz is hit the hardest because Graham and Ryan at least have a pre-established relationship together. It's pretty hard to course-correct this cast because there's nothing tying them together to begin with and it feels like it's too late to start building them up now without a full-reset from the ground up.
It's starting to feel like they're taking the piss especially after they promised us more from Yaz in Series 12. I know we're only 3 episodes in, but so far she's being given just as little as in Series 11. It's already been a very poor showing but for me the next 2 episodes really are make or break as to whether or not they're even remotely committed to not wasting Mandip Gill's talent.
I think this mostly annoys me for one reason. I loved the big season arcs in RTD/moffat time. The Saxon arc, badwolf arc, heck even the cracks in time was nice enough.
Chibnall immediately said at the start of season 11: “there will be no season story arc, i want to focus on developing the characters first. The dynamic between the characters and their growth will be the only arc”
And i was sad but accepted that, knowing that the characters are important too.
BUT THEN he did absolutely nothing with the character’s arcs. Yaz is nonexistent. She’s maybe friends with ryan which is slowly turning into a brother/sister relationship thing. But there are just no consequences to her character. Her job as a police officer is wayyy in the background. He parents pop up only when useful to the plot.
Ryan occasionally mentions his dyspraxia but nothing really changes on that front either and its only for plot convenience. And he is sortof-maybe-occasionally building a friendship with yaz and becoming more accepting of Graham as his family.
Graham was the best i guess... they made him mourn Grace, made him try to connect with Ryan as a granddad, basically be the ‘dad’ of everyone. I really sortof like graham! I like him as the comedic character. But still i thought his mourning arc was way too rushed and only used for plot reasons like in It Takes You Away in order to allow Walsh to let his funny side shine.
Even the doctor herself doesnt have any real growth. Her character is one-note from ep1 to the finale. Think back to eccleston or smith and see how much they changed from ep1 to the finale of their first season. Even Capaldi changed quite a bit from regeneration to the last ep of his first season. There is no development. There is nothing she cannot do in ep1 that she learns to do before the end of the season. No character flaws that are solved, no discoveries that tell us she moved forward (or even backward) from that first episode.
Basically: i would have been willing to accept the lack of a season arc. I understand those long-con plot things are a bitch to keep track of. Reportedly the Saxon arc was a nightmare to keep track of for the showrunners. Especially for a director who is so new to the show that may be too much to ask.
That is why i hate this seasons characters. Not because i hate mandip gill or her acting, not because i hate Tosin or his acting, not because i dislike having a female doctor.
But because Chibnall promised me character development in exchange for forgetting about a big story arc and he did not deliver on his promise.
Honestly, the companions are all just bland. I think having 3 of them PLUS having guest actors too just spreads the amount of available screen time and dialogue too thinly. There’s just not enough for everyone to do, or time to do it properly so we get Yaz who gets both nothing to do and no proper fleshing out.
I’ve been rewatching S4 with Tennant and Tate and my god what a contrast between that and this new season.
Honestly we need more companions only episodes with maybe one villain and no other guests stars like Amy's choice which despite your thoughts on the story gave the characters more of a chance to interact with and breathe. Or the girl who waited which was beautiful and gave moffat the chance to play with drama and the actors some time to really explore their relationships.
To add to what others are saying, I think the big misstep with current TARDIS team is that they didn't pick a 'main' companion right off the bat. Previously when we've had big groups (such as Rose/Mickey/Jack, Amy/Rory/River or Bill/Nardole/Missy) it's been clear who the main companion was (Rose, Amy and Bill respectively) and they were given some time alone to establish themselves first, before adding new people in to compliment them. Under 13's run, they were all just dumped in together and they've never been clear who the main companion is which is why it feels muddled IMO.
Also I really loathe bringing the Doctor's gender into any discussion (I'm not one of those haters, I swear. A female Doctor is a good thing, I've been advocating it for ages and Jodie Whittaker is doing an awesome job) but I feel like it does have a slight bearing on this discussion. The show's always had a pretty traditional dynamic, with the older and knowledgeable male Doctor and the more naive and innocent female companion, kind of a holdover from how old the show is. It's obviously good to switch this up, but I feel like it was the sort of thing that, when introducing the first female Doctor, should have been firmly established right from the start. Is the new dynamic a female Doctor with a younger male companion? (IE Ryan) Younger Doctor/older male companion (IE Graham) Doctor and younger female companion (Yaz) or Doctor and older female companion (Grace)? Any one of them could work but IMO they needed to pick one and stick with it, at least to start with. Instead they just threw them all on the screen at the same time and kept 3/4 of them running indefinitely.
It's messy, and with how stripped-back S11 was with no two-parters or old monsters and being a bit of a soft reset, I really think they should have also kept the Doctor/companion dynamic as simple as possible as well. At least to start with.
I agree. Multiple companions really only work if they’re staggered so we get to know them individually before working them into a group dynamic.
I think Ryan was originally considered to be the 'main companion' in TWWFTE because he is the one who narrates the story in that ep but idk why they have abandoned that.
I've always had the sense that they decided first to have a prominent, known male actor be a companion, in order to 'ease' naysayers into having a female Doctor, hence Graham. Then you need a younger, preferably non-white actor to balance out that, hence Ryan. But then having your first female Doctor be out-gendered in her own TARDIS isn't a great look, so you also need a female companion, hence Yaz. The problem seems to be that, as in conception, so too do storylines get planned: first Graham, then Ryan, then Yaz.
As much as Graham is a legitimately great character and brings a whole lot to the dynamic/series, it has always seemed a bit of a misfire that the one character from your team, including the Doctor, to get the most development is the middle-aged white guy. Like, surely the whole point of having a female Doctor/ two non-white companions is to celebrate that fact, but the writers seem to very squarely focus on Graham first and foremost.
Personally, I was hoping for Olivia Colman when the female Doctor rumours started.
Nevertheless, I feel the problem now is Chibnall, not so much Jodie Whittaker. I saw Whittaker and Colman in Broadchurch, and they're both fine actors. They've just been given garbage to work with.
Old school writing relied on conflict and differences to create interesting dynamics between regular characters. Look at original Star Trek's Kirk - Spock - McCoy triad.
For Dr. Who, look at Sarah Jane Smith and the 4th Doctor. Those two were allowed to bicker like a couple.
Moffat fixed Clara by having her and 12 fight to the point of breaking up. It created interest. When the two had seemingly settled their fundamental differences, it was time for Clara to leave the show. The same can be said for River Song.
Let Yaz and the Doctor fight about something.
I feel like we’re building up to something like that. Yaz thought she was dead in Spyfall, and she looked horrified when the annoying old woman sacrificed herself in Orphan 55. More moments like these throughout and you could maybe see Yaz start to look at the Doctor and everything a bit differently. Hopefully.
As far as my observation goes, you can't have more than 2 characters simultaneously occupy the same role. A single character can do that job, two characters can do that job and also banter, but when you have more, some will be left out. What the role is is, of course, flexible. But at any moment, writers need to know what their characters are doing and not have more than 2 do the same thing.
4 leads is fairly standard cast size, but Doctor Who is not a standard show, compared to most others a lot of vacancies are closed for the leads - you won't see, say, any kind of "bruiser" characters among the cast, waving guns around and shooting alien invaders. At the same time Doctor themselves has gobbled a lot of roles, being both the leader of the party, the expositioner and who knows what else, while companion is largely relegated to being an observer and lacks skills that would actually advance the plot.
So, now there's 3 of them. Someone has to fall by wayside. Yaz feels left out because Ryan and Graeme have a natural connection and something to banter about, get rid of either and Yaz could slip in. But that's not the point.
Yaz is a lot like Nyssa from the Classic series. Good idea for a companion, but seriously underwritten to the point of not even registering with the audience as a character. Nyssa was even often written out of stories for incredibly lame reasons (“Nyssa’s sick this week, she’ll be staying behind in the TARDIS”) and it feels like they could do the same to Yaz.
Chibnall can’t write realistically characters. I don’t want to hate on him because he gets a lot of shit and he seems like a nice guy, but it has to be said that characters are his weakness.
His character writing outside of his era of the show was pretty good, though. It’s usually his plots that let down his writing but the character drama is good enough for episodes to work.
It’s a shame because in terms of character potential I see a lot more in her than in the others. She’s clearly capable, ambitious, and insightful. I feel like they are going somewhere with her. In 11 it seemed like she was the most blatantly admiring and unquestioning of The Doctor, but conversely seemed the most shaken in Spyfall and is the one to challenge her on how much she knew in Orphan-55. I can see the makings of a good tension in their relationship. Don’t know if I trust Chibnall to do it.
Yaz has suffered two fold. First she is the 3rd wheel exposing the problem of 3 companions. Second she is being written in what is arguably (and for me obviously) the worst era of Nu Who. It's painful.
Yaz like all 4 of the main characters is a good character. Good back story, she even brings in the side characters that make companions feel real and tied into the "real world". Like this whole era Yaz is wasted. But even in this era it stands out how much she is wasted. In an era where I am left wishing things would get better and we'd see the true potential of these characters... she stands out among all of them in a bad way.
Any other era and Id assume the writing team hated her. In this era I don't know what to think.
I mean everyone thought Mel was a lost cause and then Big Finish turned her into one of the most energetic and fun companions ever. Anything's possible, so I could totally see Yaz getting some more development.
That said, the Companion for the 13th Doctor really should've been Graham.
I kinda would’ve enjoyed Graham and Grace as companions. Kinda invert the whole older doctor/younger companion dynamic. That and I really liked Grace and wish she hadn’t been offed.
I think it’d be better if Yaz was a supporting companion, like Mickey. They’re in and out of Sheffield enough that she’d have a regular presence, and she could still come along every few episodes. But Ryan and Graham have already gotten most of the development focus (excluding Demons of the Punjab), so let’s go ahead and bring them to the front properly.
I get the impression that I really like the actor - but just like everything to do with this era it boils down to the workmanlike scripts
I almost feel like we’ve gotten to the point where, if Yaz had any significant development or focus, it would feel manufactured because the opportunity to have a change slowly happen over many episodes is just gone. She’s remained essentially static for one whole season and the first part of another, if she undergoes any change it’ll be so fast in comparison to her non journey so far I wonder how they’d make us buy it.
I mean, Donna had opened her mind and been shocked by the Doctor’s death toll by episode 3. The ship has sailed. If the fam leaves because of the Doctor’s death toll (just a wild theory) it would make you wonder what made them stick around so long.
From recent interviews I get the feeling that her ark might be planned for year 3 or 4 of 5. If we get that far...
I think she'll get some fast, bolted-on character arc at some point - like the mechanic and his son in Orphan 55 suddenly being a dysfunctional relationship with conflict and a big emotional resolution. You know, for like three minutes. I think she'll end up snogging Ryan, and together they'll decide to leave team TARDIS and focus on their own lives, and this will be a big, heart-wrenching moment that I'm gonna genuinely try my absolute best to give a shit about.
Rani > Yaz Clyde > Ryan
It's so weird how bad they are, when literally better versions of same basic characters already exist in universe.
Imo, character development for companions has been a consistent problem in NuWho (and maybe Old Who, but I never saw much of that).
The biggest problem being that there has been constant competition between the plot-of-the-week and character development.
How really well written stories like this work (by which I mean stories that rely on a continual sequence of puzzles to solve and protagonists to beat as their primary suspense generators), is that the mystery or monster of any specific incident is in some way a reflection of the character flaws of the character that has to solve that mystery or beat that monster.
In such a manner, the overcoming of the mystery/monster is synchronized with the character progression of overcoming the character's flaws. Or, when going a bit darker, the suffering of defeat at the hands of the mystery/monster reflects the character failing to overcome their flaws.
Doctor Who from the offset has a big problem, because due to its legacy it's centered around a main character, the Doctor obv., who is essentially static. There are things about the doctor that can change with each incarnation, but there is also an essential core of the character that has to remain the same because that is part and parcel to the promise of Doctor Who: that on some level we don't know and never will know the Doctor (Who?), whereas on another we know and always will know something about the Doctor, that they are a Doctor (and that means they help people).
Now the companions are the ones who can have standard character arcs, and change and die and all that, but the problem is that they are in many ways not the main character.
This just leaves a lot of fault lines of tension. The Doctor's often the one solving the mystery and defeating the monster, but that removes the room for the companions to solve the mystery/defeat the monster and thus removes one of the prime vectors of character progression for the companions.
There are episodes or strings of episodes in NuWho that with good writing are able to manage these tensions and produce a harmony.
But a lot of episodes don't, and that's when you get the episodes that are fundamentally superfluous, where the Doctor just solves the mystery and the companions are just around to pad the run-time.
Imo, this problem is exacerbated the more characters are in the Tardis.
The show has trouble providing proper character progression when there's a single companion, but it manages.
When there's two, it tends to falter.
When there's three, like now... it ends up where you say: supposed companions spend entire episodes just being glorified extra's.
I don't think this is inevitable, but to solve it would require a level of writing at a consistency that NuWho has, imo, never been able to manage. You get the good episodes which give characters a chance to shine... in-between all the episodes like Orphan 55 where the mystery-monster-of-the-week and the Doctor's heroic defeat of them just completely overshadows the companions who end the episode fundamentally the same as they started it.
Don't get me wrong, at the end of the day I still enjoy most of Doctor Who. I just mean to say Yaz imo isn't an exception, and that the show's track record on character progression has always been spotty, and companions have consistently been underutilized and under-served except for specific individual episodes that gave them their chance to shine.
Going on to two full seasons as the third wheel.
what they need to do is give Yaz a police position where she stays on earth and just has the doctor on call when things go bad. they can even make whole Yaz shows where she is the main. kind of like what they did with martha and unit.
they also need to give ryan a personality and maybe find him a girlfriend and write him out. maybe even Yaz's sister?
they need to give more attention to graham.. i like him and he fits. they also need to lower the PC stuff. i know the show has always been about giving some statements to the times.. but its too much.
I don’t think any companion (barring Kamelion) is a lost cause - they even found something for Adam Mitchell in the comics! - but focusing specifically for tv appearances, I’d wait a few more episodes before making a judgement call on her development this season. It could very well be a LOST style situation where one character is prominent in the first half of the season and another in the second half of the season - and at the very least, I’d imagine Yaz will be prominent in Fugitive of the Judoon in a few weeks, seeing as it involves contemporary space cops in Sheffield.
Possibly. I think - much as it breaks my heart - we've been shown that writing for three companions is harder.
People are taking the usual formula and splitting the companion role in three. Instead of using the new cast. They're writing the same type of story and just diving out the role of companion. Someone's going to get the short stick.
I think we can agree that Graham is the most well written of the new companions.
If he were to be written out this season (or since its been filmed, the Christmas Special) Ryan would leave too. I can't imagine them splitting up the two of them.
This would allow the following season to include a new Male companion, one who is new to the whole time travel thing, and for whom Yaz now becomes a senior figure too. Ryan can guest star in one story, maybe a double episode like Martha in season 4, where the new companion gets to see what it's like for Companions who leave the Tardis.
At the end that season we resolve the Timeless Child. 13 regenerates (Sorry Jodie) and Yaz leaves, feeling that the Fam has changed too much and it's time to move on. New companion sticks around for a special or more and a new showrunner is brought onboard.
If the bbc sticks it out for 5 years though as has been implied... I worry for the future of Who. It's not awful. But it's been nearly 15 years. Most tv series don't last a third of that. Who needs to be more than 'okay' if it wants to make it past the 60 th aniversary.
There's too many companions. Graham is great, but Ryan is boring and Yaz isn't really used.
Both Ryan and Yaz should have been combined into a single character (perhaps Yaz could have been Graham's step-granddaughter) before Series 11 even started.
I think yaz would have been better in a Mickey/Jackie type role, it would justify to a certain extent her lack of development and would allow audiences to not expect so much from her as we do now
As it goes, I far from hate her in part to her lack of notability, but despite that she may just be the worst companion, period.
It would have been interesting if we started with only Ryan and Graham travelling with the Doctor -- then, when they return to Sheffield in Arachnids in the UK, we run into Yaz again, who's spent the weeks they've been missing learning everything she can about the Doctor, and all but demands to join in on their adventures. (Maybe callback to Donna by having her already have packed her bag and been ready to move onto the TARDIS at a moment's notice?)
That would have given us a chance to establish Ryan and Graham's characters, and their relationship with one another and the Doctor, and then we could have focused on Yaz's addition and how it impacted the existing TARDIS team dynamic.
Three companions, in NuWho, is too many. 10 episodes, 45 minutes each, how the fuck can you fit everything in when you have to give dialogue to three companions? Get rid of Ryan. I see potential in Mandip Gill as an actress but Tosin Cole's performances are so wooden that it makes me bored. Graham is the only good character in Doctor Who at the moment.
Doctor Who is a lost cause since s11
Three companions doesn’t work; someone always ends up being the Nyssa. Personally, I would drop Yaz, demote Graham to more of a Jackie Tyler status, and make Ryan the main companion since he’s clearly the writers’ favorite.
Yaz's characterization (or lack thereof) almost seems like the writers didn't intend to have a companion who is a woman because they intended for the 13th Doctor to be the 'female representation' but some higher ups said they have to have one, and as such they have no actual ideas for her.
Probably not what happened but that's sure what it feels like.
Thank you for your comment! Unfortunately, your comment has been removed for the following reason(s):
If you feel this was done in error, please contact the moderators
Yes. The Cybermen are better than the Daleks.
There is a core problem with character relations. The main way to develop character is with struggle.
In World's End, Rose has a fight with 9 because he doesn't want to tell her where he's from. They come close to die, then he reveals to her to be the last Time lord.
In The Eleventh Hour, 11 has 20 minutes to save the world being stuck in a country town without TARDIS, nor sonic and a closed postal office. Amy binds him with his tie to a car and demand answers, at the end of which, she trusts The Doctor.
Despite many opportunities, like being the overall reason Grace died, the aggression to Ryan in Rosa and their impending doom in The Ghost Monument, the companions never fight with 13. The closest we've come was in Spyfall when they finally demand to know who she is. But notice it's not really a fight, there's no struggle.
The reason could be that it's hard to write for a leading female character. When The Doctor talked to Mickey or Rory, he usually bested them because he's the main character. The female companion could win with him because it's a subversion of roles and stikes as empowering. You can't just swap the gender and have the same effects: if Yaz and 13 had a fight, if written poorly it, might seem a -for lack of a better terms- cat fight. If Ryan was to argue with The Doctor and won, it could diminish her.
Of course having them fight is not the only way characters are developed. With so much time wasted in pointless stuff and character, we could've used some to establish that Yaz really enjoys playing spacetime police, instead of having to assume that from her jeopardizing her probation in Spyfall. Also, if you're a cop, MI6 definitely can put in a good word for you, just saying. What's even worse is that the episode sort of plays with the Judy Hopps concept of her wanting to do important stuff, but in Arachnids in the UK she spells out that her reason for travelling is to spend time away from her family. I think, I don't want to look it up.
So, is it a lost cause? Well, you mainly judge the beginning and the end of an arc, the bits in the middle are less impactful. With some luck, we might see the end of her arc by the end of this series (please if you know she's signed for s13 or something don't tell me, I try to stay away from those news) and it could be somewhat ok if it is good. My expectations are very low, as they are for the rest of the fam
The problem with yaz's lack of development is I dont like ryan so the team is too bloated and the one I dont like gets all the development.
You say we agree on it, for me she can just go away so she's overused. Same with the entire cast and writing team. Get a proper dochter who can convey emotions other then what the fuck and leave Graham in. Perfect new season.