20 legendary Black science fiction actors who rocked the genre

7 of 21

Freema Agyeman

You can’t really talk about science fiction without eventually landing on Doctor Who. It’s easy enough. This sci-fi series has been around in one form or another since 1963.

The basic concept of the show is that the Doctor is an alien representative of the Time Lords, a generally reclusive species that can also manipulate time and space. The Doctor, who is a bit of a rogue in the best tradition of upstanding sci-fi rascals, goes traveling throughout the universe. They eventually become fascinated with Earth and humans, eventually taking on a rotating roster of human “companions” who travel with them on their adventures.

Given how many decades have elapsed, it makes sense that we’ll have an ever-changing slate of both Doctors and companions. The Doctor can regenerate, which is convenient for actors who would like to move on or take over the role, not to mention for audiences who’d like to see a new face. Companions, meanwhile, get tired, lost, or sometimes ask to step off the ride.

Eventually, that takes us to Martha, one of the coolest-ever companions, played by Freema Agyeman. Martha Jones is a medical student who becomes the latest companion after the Doctor shows up at her hospital.

Besides using her medical knowledge on a regular basis, Martha helps to save the world on multiple occasions. Towards the end of her time in the TARDIS, the Doctor’s phone booth/interdimensional vehicle, Martha even saves practically all of existence while the Doctor is down for the count. Ultimately, Martha leaves once she realizes that her relationship with the occasionally-unstable Doctor is growing unhealthy, making her one of the most balanced companions in the entire franchise.

Though Agyeman stepped away from the main series, she eventually returned in a few guest spots and on the spin-off Torchwood series. She’s since been busy working in other genres, but her time with Doctor Who has left its mark on the sci-fi world.