American Doctor Who. It’s wrong, isn’t it? Like a French James Bond movie, or a feel-good episode of EastEnders. And the 1996 Paul McGann TV Movie—with its wrong-headed, continuity-mired narrative priorities and determination to be generic action fodder—is hardly an encouraging precedent.
Is it really though? What about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, Frasier, Community—all American-accented, but British-influenced? The Office has proved the British flavour needn’t be lost in an American setting. And most recently, Elementary has surprised everyone by being quite distinct from Sherlock, and quite good. And for all the terrible scripting decisions, Who TV movie writer Matthew Jacobs, executive producer Philip Segal and the fifty suits from Fox and BBC Worldwide gave us a brilliant Doctor in McGann—who owned the role with just 50 minutes of screen time, and that many of us would like to see back in action.
So, herewith, ten reasons it just might work …
10. The Time Is Right
Audiences are now more comfortable than ever with new takes on familiar ideas. The Andrew Garfield-starring Spider-Man was successful despite being largely the same story Sam Raimi told 10 years earlier. Provided you get the right people, your take will get the benefit of the doubt. With no Star Trek series in production, there’s a gap in US science fiction that the British Doctor Who is only partially filling.
Plus, Doctor Who is a known quantity in America these days. We’re a long way from Eric Roberts thinking the Master was a black blob. There are many American writers and actors who get the series and are on its wavelength—when Steven Spielberg says “The world would be a poorer place without Doctor Who” (as he told Steven Moffat when the latter had to leave The Adventures of Tintin (2011) to launch Matt Smith’s Doctor), you’re surely on to a winner.
This article was first posted on May 25, 2013