WHAT IF 'DOCTOR WHO' WAS AN AMERICAN SHOW?
Check out that hyperlink above. It's a fun "What-If?" of which American actors would have been good counterparts to the British originals if 'Doctor Who' had been an American series.
Most of them are spot-on and I couldn't possibly improve on it overall. So I decided to take the opposite route and make it worse.
What if some unscrupulous American TV producer decided to rip off the 'Doctor Who' concept and made it on the cheap for syndication on some backwater UHF channel? Something that might have been so cheesy that even Leonard Pinth Garnell would not be able to sit through it.....
So here's what I came up with:
In this premise, 'Doctor Who' does exist and had been broadcast in Britain for five years already. But it was basically unknown in America. So to protect himself the producer would have to change the name. Perhaps something mundane and dull like "Mister Time".
As with the original show, he would have cast an aging character actor for the role of Mister Time, someone known in the business but not in high demand.....
I decided on Peter Brocco.
Eventually Brocco, for whatever reason (not necessarily for health concerns like William Hartnell), would choose to leave the role. So this producer would need to hire a new actor and pull off his own version of regeneration.....
Again stealing from the original, a mop-topped actor was sought to be the second Mister Time just as Patrick Troughton was the Second Doctor. Moe Howard would have turned them down, so the producer would call on Ish Kabibble, the former comedy relief in the Kay Kyser Orchestra.
Then it was Ish Kabibble's turn to say goodbye to the role. So now a Jon Pertwee model was needed to play Mister Time. Why not Carl Ballantine, fresh off 'McHale's Navy'?
And years later, he'd still be playing the role at conventions.
(Ballantine would revisit the role on the show, meeting one of his future incarnations. But he would only need to provide the voice-over as Mister Time's past lives had all been turned into puppets!)
Mister Time the Fourth would be played by Paul Sand, who also had that unruly mop of dark hair and the big nose like Tom Baker.
And mixing up the order in which certain plotlines were introduced, Lynn Redgrave appeared as the American version of the Rani in the Fourth Mister Time's tenure rather than later for the Sixth.
It was decided that Mister Time would next be young and preppy in much the same way Peter Davison brought a youthful energy to the Doctor. And so James Stephens was hired to be Mister Time with John Houseman taking on the role of his arch nemesis, Professor Tachyon......
A change in the stewardship of the show did not guarantee an upgrade in the quality - if it was making money no matter how bad it was, why mess with it?
But perhaps they shouldn't have adhered so closely to the original model by this point, even if attempts by the BBC to block production were proving unsuccessful. Like Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor, the sixth Mister Time nearly derailed the show.
With his wild outfits and abrasive personality, Frank Bonner was not well received by the fans of the program. Years later, there is a new appreciation for his work, but at the time, it almost brought about cancellation.
So Bonner was fired and Ron Carey was given the chance to play Mister Time. For this seventh version, a new premise was established, with Mister Time serving as a chauffeur through Time and Space in the BOBOT (Big Old Box O' Time) for young lovers to go back and get it right in their relationships.
Sort of a Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Love Boat.....
And that killed the show. Seemingly forever.
In the 1990s, seeing that a new attempt was being launched to reinvigorate 'Doctor Who', a new production company secured the rights to 'Mister Time' and tried again. This time with Richard Dean Anderson as the hero.
However, even with an interesting story that ripped off the Bottle City of Kandor idea from Superman comics, and with a special guest appearance by Ron Carey to pass the baton to Richard Dean Anderson, it never went to series because Anderson was offered a better role.
MISTER TIME #7 ABOUT TO REGENERATE
Another decade would pass and 'Mister Time' remained dormant because nobody could come up with original story and casting ideas. It was as if they needed to rip off 'Doctor Who' by that point in order to thrive.
And that's when a producer with vision stepped in to revive 'Mister Time', casting Christopher Meloni as the new main character - sort of a tough guy in a jumper with a penchant for hats.
But like the other Christopher across the Pond, Meloni was only interested in getting the show back up and running. He would commit to only the one season. As soon as the audience began to warm to his interpretation of Mister Time, he was gone.
The best was yet to come, however, with the arrival of James Roday to play an irreverant and cocky young Mister Time. A lot of past triumphs for 'Doctor Who' were reworked for Roday's Mister Time, including a visit to the OK Corral, an American version of Romana, and a black sidekick named Mikey instead of Mickey. Even Professor Tachyon returned to the show with Corbin Bernsen in the role.
JUST AFTER REGENERATING FROM MISTER TIME #9
"I WEAR A COWBOY HAT, JUST BECAUSE......"
MISTER TIME AND MIKEY
MISTER TIME #10 AND PROFESSOR TACHYON
Roday would prove to be the most popular actor ever to take on the role and nobody thought he could be replaced when it came time for him to say goodbye.
And that's when a young actor, little known in the business, was hired to play the eleventh Mister Time. Josh Brener definitely heard a different drummer with his version of the character and overcame the skeptics who thought 'Mister Time should have ended when Roday left.
And so it came to pass that even Brener called it a day on the show and the new producer decided to try something radical - to go back to an older Mister Time like it was in the beginning.
PUBLICITY PICTURE FOR
CASTING THE NEW MISTER TIME
And that brings us to John Slattery as Mister Time, who has yet to appear officially in the series, but some intriguing photos from the set have been leaked - including Mister Time wearing the stockings of the Wicked Witch of the East and dressed as an Observer. They were even so bold as to go the bowtie route with his Mister Time.
Oh, by the way.... 'Mister Time' celebrated its 45th anniversary by bringing in a previously un-remembered Mister Time who served as the bridge between the eighth and ninth incarnation during that lost decade. Adam West was chosen to add yet another iconic super hero role to his resume as the Mister Time known as Time Phantom.....
So that's my Wish-Craft about a poorly conceived rip-off of 'Doctor Who'......