Notes From The WTFiverse: An American Doctor Who

I was musing a while back about an alternate universe where DOCTOR WHO has been an American TV series, rather than British.  I came up with a number of American actors who I think would have been suitable to portray various Doctors through the years.

(I'm most familiar with the modern Doctors, Nine thru Eleven.  Saw some of the Fourth Doctor episodes back when they were showing on PBS in America, although I don't think I ever managed to catch a complete story arc.  And snippets of most of the other Doctors over the years.  So the following suggestions are more in the general line of attitude, charisma and the actor in question showing a previous capability for playing odd or eccentric characters, rather than matching a particular actor with a particular Doctor.)

For some of the earlier Doctors:


BOB KEESHAN -- aka Captain Kangaroo.  He wouldn't even have to change his wardrobe.  (He was also the original Clarabelle the Clown on THE HOWDY-DOODY SHOW. )

DICK VAN DYKE -- When he played Rob Petrie on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, he sometimes gave the impression that he had come late to living on Planet Earth and that the people around him were frequently a puzzle.  And he sometimes moved his body as if it weren't quite jointed like humans were jointed.  And, on one episode of TDVDS, he actually dealt with an alien invasion!

JOHN ASTIN -- If had to choose only one person to play an American Doctor, this is the guy.  As Gomez Addams on THE ADDAMS FAMILY, he overrode the normal world through sheer force of personality and charm.  And didn't it seem like the Addams family mansion was bigger on the inside?  And as an extra added bonus, maybe Morticia (Carolyn Jones) as the Doctor's Companion?  (I actually first noticed Astin on an earlier sitcom, I'M DICKENS, HE'S FENSTER.  A notable later project was the tv-movie/unsold-pilot EVIL ROY SLADE.)

Now some suggestions for the more modern era:

JON DELANCIE -- Best known for "Q" on the various STAR TREK incarnations.  Played an alien with highly advanced powers and resources.  Frequently squabbled with his own civilization.  Enjoyed dicking around with people's heads, but also seemed to have a need for occasional human company.  Seems like a shoe-in.

MICHAEL J. FOX -- Already an experienced time traveller.

PEE-WEE HERMAN -- Do I really need to say anything more? (Note:  In DW comics continuity -- 2009's Silver Scream -- the Doctor used "Pee Wee Herman" as an alias while visitng 1920's Hollywood.)

Feel free to add your own suggestions in comments.

1 comment:

D Gary Grady said...

I have my doubts about Peewee Herman as an American Doctor Who, but I suspect Paul Reubens has enough versatility that he could pull off a variant character who wouldn't be so annoying. Maybe. (Incidentally, did you know you and Paul Reubens were born in the same year?)

The other suggestions I thought were inspired and I don't think I could come up with anyone better. In fact, the only other name that occurs to me offhand is Tony Shalhoub.