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TV Squad Ten: American actors who could play Doctor Who

by Brad Trechak, posted Apr 29th 2009 2:02PM
Doctor Who Having recently read an article about the subject, I had to ask myself: why can't Doctor Who have an American version of the same show? If Life on Mars can be ported over (albeit unsuccessfully), why not bring over an Americanized Doctor?

Granted, the show couldn't use a police box (a definitively British icon) for the TARDIS. So? Use a phone booth. Also, if the show simply started from scratch, it wouldn't have 46 years of continuity to bog it down. No need to pay the estate of Terry Nation for use of the Daleks. Simply use the Doctor, the TARDIS, and whatever alien menaces the creators' imagination provides.

(Granted, there was a Doctor Who movie with American involvement in 1996 starring the British Paul McGann, which I personally didn't think was bad but others disagree with me.)

With this in mind, I have composed a list of the ten American actors (and by American, I include all of North America, so some Canadians will make the list) whom I feel could at least adequately play the Doctor in an Americanized version of the show.

Christopher Lloyd - Christopher Lloyd has always had wild hair and a strange voice (even without a British accent) ever since he was Jim the Cab Driver. With that in mind, I think Doc Brown would make a very interesting Doctor. He'd be closer to William Hartnell's portrayal than any other, but maybe with a little more manic energy. Just look at his portrayal of a sinister Willy Wonka to get an idea of his take on the character.

Steve CarellSteve Carell - Granted, given his huge star status, the production company couldn't afford him, but I still think he'd be okay as the Doctor. There might be a little problem when, in an attempt to stop the Daleks (or whatever their equivalent would be) from blowing up a planet, he accidentally blows up the planet. He might be able to stop them by selling them paper.

Seth Rogen
- Also way too big a star now to get involved with this type of show, but I can dream. I live for the day when he speaks the line, "Maybe it's the weed talking, but that Cyberman is looking pretty sexy."

Glenn Close
- Why limit the Doctor's gender as has been done with the British version? And if you're going to have a woman Doctor, then have one of the best actresses ever to have existed playing the role. She's doing television work now, so it's not a far stretch for her to involve herself in television science fiction. And if she ever has to face the Evil Rabbits of the planet Leporidae, she can use her sonic pot-and-stove to defeat them.

Fran Kranz
- He plays the character of Topher on Dollhouse for as long as that series is on the air (which all signs point to not being much longer). He's young (going for the Matt Smith vibe) and he can act very smart and silly at the same time. If you add a moral center to the character (something Topher lacks) then you have a workable Doctor right there.

Eric Roberts
- He already played the Master in 1996, so there is a familiarity with the franchise. He's also been involved with other sci fi franchises such as Heroes (I don't recall if he actually met the 9th Doctor Christopher Eccleston in the first season, but there's another one-degree-of-separation right there).

Michael ImperioliMichael Imperioli - Now there's a Doctor that wouldn't take crap from anybody. He can even put on his heavy Brooklyn accent and do his best De Niro impersonation and ask Davros "Are you talkin' to me?"

Amy Poehler
- She is one of the best comedic actresses out there and would undoubtedly be a kick-ass American Doctor. I'm constantly amazed at her ability to do characters and accents. She can even pretend to be a bubbleheaded blonde while subtlely questioning various peoples for info.

Samuel L. Jackson
- In order to interject some minority representation, I decided to include the actor who has been most involved in science fiction movies. He's been in three of the Star Wars prequels, The Spirit and Snakes on a Plane. With that sort of career history, he has to be heading to television soon. It may take a while since he has a multi-movie contract with Marvel Comics for Nick Fury, but getting an American Doctor Who on television would also take a while. Maybe they'll get there at the same time.
William Shatner
William Shatner
- He's the Shat! He's an icon of SF entertainment. How could he not be a brilliant Doctor? He can do humor (as with Denny Crane) and serious monologue (as he did with Captain Kirk in his own, unique stoccato method). With Boston Legal done, I'm willing to bet he'd do the job for cheap.
Obviously, my list is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Also, I tend to favor character actors for the role. Truthfully, the Doctor can be anybody, so logically, anybody can play him (or her). What do you think? Is there an American that could play the Doctor if a separate version was produced in Hollywood? If so, who? Yes, that was a pun.

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The Smart One Here

Coming from an American, BAD WRITER! BAD! NO American Doctor Who! If the writers in the UK decide to cast an actor to play the Thirteenth Doctor on THIER show, I'll be fine with it. Don't bring it here. Didn't people learn their lesson when they tried to Americanize "Red Dwarf"?

August 10 2012 at 10:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to The Smart One Here's comment
The Smart One Here

an American actor*

August 10 2012 at 10:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pablo Astigarraga

Seth Rogen??? Samuel L Jackson? Have you ever SEEN Doctor Who?

NONE of these people could play The Doctor, please stop writing this crap :\

December 05 2011 at 9:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pablo Astigarraga

Seth Rogen??? Samuel L Jackson? Have you ever SEEN Doctor Who?

NONE of these people could play The Doctor, please stop writing this crap :\

December 05 2011 at 9:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to agree with Morjana about David Hewlett. Cool!

Some of y'all are taking this intentionally very speculative piece a little too seriously. Yeah, it'll never happen, so have some fun thinking about what if!

I would like to throw out something... though an American Doctor Who wouldn't work, what could work would be an in-universe Torchwood spin-off set in a US city, about another Torchwood team located around another rift or something. That'd probably be pretty cool!

April 30 2009 at 12:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Forget an american Doctor Who. The past 40 years is what makes Doctor Who special. American TV would butcher it.

How about an american Blake's 7. That could rock.

April 30 2009 at 9:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Eric Roberts actually did do onscreen work in Heroes with Christopher Eccleston.

April 30 2009 at 9:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

While I hope this was, indeed, tongue in cheek, I was totally sickened by the choices. Do you even watch the Doctor? Do you understand it at all?? I've been hooked since the sixties, when it was on my local PBS station. I don't think an American version would work at all. There are some things that you just don't copy. Why do we have this urge to make everything ours? Remember the American Fawlty Towers? A disaster. And I watch Eleventh Hour and Life on Mars on BBCA, and believe me, the American versions just don't equal them. Why should the Doctor be a man? This is a question I've heard so many times here. I'm a woman, and as an old hippie, was part of the ERA movement. But some things just leave alone. The Doctor is great as HE is. Keep him British, and keep him a guy, and just sit back and enjoy it.

April 30 2009 at 8:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes, the Tardis disguised as an American phone booth... That would be successful, the bums would have so much more room when they go in it to use the bathroom, and it would be filled with people making anonymous phone calls for murders they commited and drug deals they are trying to set up!!!

April 30 2009 at 7:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael Moncur

I'd vote for Jeffrey Donovan from "Burn Notice" for a serious (and yet funny) doctor.

Or James Roday from "Psych" for a sillier doctor.

Your list was bizarre, aside from Christopher Lloyd, who would be absolutely awesome.

April 30 2009 at 1:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

to Crazy Jew----that is a brilliant list. Tom Cavanaugh, Zac Levi, and Neil Patrick Harris would all be genius in that role.

April 30 2009 at 12:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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