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June 25 2011

Top 23 things that Joss Whedon should do post-Avengers. Apart from the Dance of Joy, that is.

Personally, I'm hoping he'll start with Goners.
Goners would be good, but aside from that, my personal wish is he'd direct the Runaways movie. Also possibly run Glee, but one thing at a time.
Wow, Goners isn't even in there?
I'll settle for anything the great purple one decides to do. I'm flexible. Also, grateful.
There's been discussion on tumblr about how amazing it would be if he and Moffat were to ever work together on something. Everyone would die, but it wouldn't matter, because it would be amazing and our minds would all burst into tiny pieces.

But sorry, as much as I love Amy Acker, she just can't be the Doctor. I will be ok with the Doctor being just about anyone, as long as they're British.
There was a mention of the ol' Spike movie idea. Obviously too late for that...
...unless it's animated. And if there's an issue with the movie rights, it could be a miniseries. Maybe with each episode focusing on different characters.
Probably still never gonna happen.
He has to do Goners before Doctor Who. It's a rule!
How can a list like this even exist without Goners? Wasn't there a list just like this awhile back that also excluded Goners? These people need to do better research.
Or maybe they just don't want him to make 'Goners' because it never interested them ? Could just be a difference of opinion (though at this point poor research/not knowing it even exists is very possible).

And I think post-Avengers Joss should have a nice sit down and a cup of tea, he'll deserve it. Maybe a biscuit.

(and as mentioned before, nope, he shouldn't run 'Doctor Who' and nope, Amy Acker, amazingly talented and lovely though she is, shouldn't be the Doctor)
That's crazy talk.
You're crazy talk !

;-)
Saje speaketh truth. Joss + Doctor Who doesn't really work for me. It would be awesome if he wrote an episode or two, but I don't think they're really compatible with each other for him to run a show like that.

I'd love to see Joss do more films. Avengers 2 and 3 would be huge and daunting and very cool. It might mean delaying/abandoning the online indie stuff, but I wan't to see more original Joss projects with good enough budgets for all the amazing stuff he comes up with.
You're both crazy talk, times infinity (∞), no takebacks. #rubber #glue

Goners now and forever, but first: I second the author's suggestion that Joss get some serious rack-time, and I'd add some family, reading & vacation time. Plus he gets a pony and a plastic rocket. Made of gold. In Europe.

After that, whatever he wants. Plus Goners.

"... a ghastly tale of female empowerment something new for me!"
- Joss, Los Angeles Times, story by Kate Arthur, March 4, 2007


ETF: runaway italics.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2011-06-25 10:26 ]
Top 20 things I'd like to see Joss Whedon do post-Avengers...

1. finish out "The Avengers" trilogy
2. "Serenity" sequel with Robert Downey Jr. as the heavy
3. "Dr. Horrible" sequel with special guest star Jason Segel
4. "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" film with Sarah Michelle Gellar
5. "Fray" film
6. "Goners"
7. "Wastelanders" webseries with Warren Ellis
8. "Ripper" BBC series
9. "Faith" series for FX with Tim Minear as showrunner
10. "Tales Of The Slayers" / "Tales Of The Vampires" anthology cable series
11. "Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Animated Series" for Cartoon Network's Adult Swim
12. "Wonder Woman" TV series with Cobie Smulders (after "How I Met Your Mother" finishes its run)
13. straight up western with Nathan Fillion
14. "The Serving Girl" with Summer Glau
15. "Sugarshock!" animated series
16. film his unproduced spec script "Afterlife"
17. "Alien: Resurrection" remake featuring the crew of "Serenity"
18. Pixar film
19. "Terminator" film
20. screwball romantic comedy with Amy Acker and Jon Hamm

[ edited by Barry Woodward on 2011-06-26 19:48 ]
Joss working on Doctor Who doesn't really work for me either. Not a big fan, and actually gave up in season 4. Though I admit to wanting a female Doctor for a few years now. I don't see why not. And Amy Acker would be great, as would a lot of female actors. But I just don't see Joss working on that show, and a big reason for that is he usually creates his own shows.

I still hope one day he'll run a show on cable, a network like AMC or HBO or STARZ where we'll have uninterrupted seasons of Jossverse for ever and ever amen.

ETA: Almost forgot. The one thing I want Joss to make more than anything else in the whole wide world, aside from a Serenity sequel - is a live-action Fray adaptation. That needs to happen someday so I can die happy and complete (because it's all about me here).

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2011-06-25 10:38 ]
Dichen Lachman for Fray! Just sayin'.
I think gossi is gonna post that until it becomes reality. I can't picture it myself, but good luck!
You got me.
Add this to the crazy talk list. I wouldn't mind Joss exploring some of those new ideas spinning around in that brainpan of his. After all, "The Avengers" kinda' caught us off balance, no telling whatever more surprises he has in store.

Myself, I'm just enjoying the story!
Plus he gets a pony and a plastic rocket. Made of gold. In Europe.

Europe makes the best gold ponies. Fact.

Though I admit to wanting a female Doctor for a few years now. I don't see why not. And Amy Acker would be great, as would a lot of female actors.

Female isn't the problem*, American is. To me that's non-negotiable.

(and I don't just mean a passable accent, I mean actually convinces me they're British. There're plenty of British female actors that could do the job if they go down that route)

* though I do like that there's at least one male action hero that doesn't use guns, values knowledge and kindness and tries not to kill people, even his enemies - that's a very worthwhile role-model IMO
Damn it, Saje, you just left me with the plastic rocket. Hmm, what could I ever do with this?

I hear you and understand. However, that type of show would most likely do poorly at the box office. It would be nice if that fact wasn't so.
Oh! Dichen as Fray was completely new thought to me, and now it doesn't seem to go away. Must mean that its a great idea :)
I agree that Joss should never run Doctor Who, he has an approach to extended arcs that - while very good for his own shows - probably wouldn't work for Doctor Who. It's a different kind of serialized storytelling, and with a very strong anthology element, which has never really been Joss's strength. But I'd love to see him write an episode before the end of Steven Moffat's run. Those two wise brains need to meet.

As for Amy Acker as the Doctor... Intriguing, but ultimately it might be too much of a different character. The Doctor is kind of a subversion of the male action hero. The man who shows that a man can be cool without doing all those supposedly manly things that men supposedly are supposed to do. There needs to be a character like that, who is a man. Just like there needs to be characters like Buffy Summers, Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor or Jen Walters, who are all women, and whose possession of certain stereotypically "male" traits make them no less feminine. I'm not saying that there can't be a female character with the traits of the Doctor, I'm all for it, but the subtext would be different, so the context might need to be different as well.

I'd say if you want a female leading timelord, make a spinoff starring the Doctor's (second?) daughter, Jenny, and structure the show around the character growing into her own eccentricity through experience, and eventually taking her own timelord name. Something we never got to see with the Doctor, who was already old and weird and "the Doctor" in the very first episode. There's a lot to explore with a young timelord, and such a show would have great potential to move in any direction, given a good showrunner and writing staff.
It goes without saying that Joss should do whatever he loves best and whatever regenerates that crazy brain of his in order to keep it running over with amazing ideas. That said...

I love the idea of him directing a Runaways movie! I'd go so far as to say that he may be the only person I'd want handling a live-action adaptation of the comic.
Then take a look up....quite literally. Love these discussions!

These are one of the few rooms within the internet that your questions may be answered. Or drowsed, works both ways.
The Doctor is kind of a subversion of the male action hero. The man who shows that a man can be cool without doing all those supposedly manly things that men supposedly are supposed to do. There needs to be a character like that, who is a man.

Yeah I basically agree GreatMuppetyOdin with the caveat that you can do it once with The Doctor (i.e. for one regeneration) and then make him a man again later which might be interesting.

(i'd watch a Jenny spin-off though, that'd be a better way to do it)
He should do whatever he is excited about doing. But that should include making more Sugarshock.
@Saje
They did it once, sort of. In fact, Steven Moffat did it once. Look up "The Curse of Fatal Death". Not quite canon, but then again, Doctor Who officially and famously doesn't have a canon.
"I'll explain later."
Last I checked Peter Sollet ("Nick And Nora's Infinite Playlist") was Marvel's pick to direct "Runaways".
"Top 23 things"... Poor Joss.

On another note, I saw a Youtube comment once and can't shake the idea - Craig Ferguson as the Doctor.
1. Goners
or
1. The Serving Girl
or
1. Any project in a Joss-created universe with Joss-created characters and Joss-written dialog (and possibly music)

Everything else is way down the list.
I think gossi is gonna post that until it becomes reality. I can't picture it myself, but good luck!


I'll post that until it becomes a reality, if you think it would help. ;)
But sorry, as much as I love Amy Acker, she just can't be the Doctor. I will be ok with the Doctor being just about anyone, as long as they're British.

'Eh... after Bale as Batman (or John Conner for that matter), Garfield as Spider-Man, and Karl Urban as McCoy (ok, he's Australian), I'm just saying you might be due to have to put up with it. But I guess I have to give you RDJ as Holmes so nevermind.

I just think the age of native casting is pretty much done. Except for maybe the HP series which in some cases seemed like a British film industry vanity project after a certain point.

My only problem with non-native casting is the enexorable cacophony of accent complaints which tend to occur regardless of merit.

[ edited by azzers on 2011-06-25 19:11 ]
Female isn't the problem*, American is. To me that's non-negotiable.


But I think a female Doctor *is* a problem for the DW creators. I just don't think they want to defy convention. Prove me wrong, Mr. Moffat. Please. If the Doctor regenerates into a woman I'll have to start watching again, and probably all the episodes I missed in between.

I agree that Joss should never run Doctor Who, he has an approach to extended arcs that - while very good for his own shows - probably wouldn't work for Doctor Who. It's a different kind of serialized storytelling, and with a very strong anthology element, which has never really been Joss's strength.


I think you just described why Doctor Who doesn't work for me. I felt like it kept teasing me the promise of a stronger story arc and never following through. That said, the second half of season 3 is some of the best TV storytelling in recent history. If only all of Doctor Who were that good.
I'd say if you want a female leading timelord, make a spinoff starring the Doctor's (second?) daughter, Jenny, and structure the show around the character growing into her own eccentricity through experience, and eventually taking her own timelord name. Something we never got to see with the Doctor, who was already old and weird and "the Doctor" in the very first episode. There's a lot to explore with a young timelord, and such a show would have great potential to move in any direction, given a good showrunner and writing staff.


Oh god. I'd so watch that.

I'm still bummed we never got a Sally Sparrow spin-off. Or at least, a season of her as The Doctor's companion.
Ildeth, I know! He'd be great for Runaways live action. Like Barry said though, they're likely not going to go with him, but IMO it'd be the best and most natural fit out of any non-Joss properties.

Also I too would love to see a live action Fray one day, but maybe animation would be better due to some of the more intense acrobatics and/or action scenes involved.
Who was doing "season" long arcs in 1978, it just does them a bit differently to the way Joss does 'em (the arc's less apparent and as GreatMuppetyOdin mentions, it's a bit of an anthology show. It actually reminds me of the original intentions for 'Dollhouse' in that respect in that it really is a ghost story one week, detective mystery the next, sci-fi action the week after and so on). If lack of arc is a genuine issue you should give it another try though electricspacegirl, the Moffat/Smith series have been quite arcy so far (though not necessarily at first glance).

In fact, Steven Moffat did it once. Look up "The Curse of Fatal Death". Not quite canon, but then again, Doctor Who officially and famously doesn't have a canon.

Yeah I saw TCOFD (live in fact ;). And Joanna Lumley would've been one of my female picks 10 or 15 years ago, she has the right sort of slightly patrician, slightly superior, tail end of Empire air to her.

'Eh... after Bale as Batman (or John Conner for that matter), Garfield as Spider-Man, and Karl Urban as McCoy (ok, he's Australian), I'm just saying you might be due to have to put up with it. But I guess I have to give you RDJ as Holmes so nevermind.

American characters played with (to me quite convincing) American accents. Find an American that can do the same and maybe. That said, accent aside there's just something quintessentially British about the Doctor, he feels British in a way that e.g. John Connor doesn't feel American. Same with Holmes right enough and (the odd accent lapse aside) RDJ did a pretty decent job with that IMO (the film was fun but hit and miss but he was good).

My only problem with non-native casting is the enexorable cacophony of accent complaints which tend to occur regardless of merit.

Hmm, regardless of merit ? Like when azzers (since it sounds like you may have in mind instances where Brits have complained unjustly about an American doing a British accent) ?
Saje, honestly I don't have a list of Americans accused of bad British accents. To me, its more a function of finding an extreme improbability in the complaints I hear about them which from an anecdotal standpoint is pretty much any time I'm on an international fan board. How 100% of American actors have managed to be unconvincing as British is statistically miraculous. Managing to make a statistical step rather than the Bell curve is something I feel we can be proud of. You'd think someone would stumble into being British on accident.

However, I will say that when I reverse field and give you cases of internationals in American roles, I've heard complaints about everyone from Elba on the Wire, Bale in either movie, Torv constantly (more than she probably deserves anyway), and Urban as McCoy were the more recent examples. My problem with all of these complaints is that when I watch the films or shows, their accents never pull me out of it (well, Torv doing Nimoy), usually because whatever oddities are present are usually slight and so quick that it passes for oddity in normal speech which happens. American is my frame of reference, and I've seen Americans speak more oddly than the actors. Yet I still hear the complaints.

That said, the Doctor is British to me as well. The main crux of my argument is I don't see producers in this age giving much credence to staying native when it comes to casting. I view accent critiques as more of a fan wank since they seem to be omnipresent and yet somehow skip the attention of the producers, the director, the other actors, the vocal coach...

[ edited by azzers on 2011-06-25 21:11 ]
I think the problem some people have, but can't quite put their finger on, with an American Doctor, is that the Doctor is so iconically British that it'd perhaps be a bit like having a British Captain America.
Not sure I agree entirely, but I can sort of understand the viewpoint.
Also there are plenty of excellent British actors availible, so it'd be kind of unnecessary to import, and unless it's an actor who already lives in the UK, it'd be kind of a bowfinger to the "home team".
Yeah, the Doctor IS British. Then again, Bond should almost always be British (or at least from the UK) as well, and they have ignored that before...
Can I put in a vote for him developing Rachel Caine's very fun and amusing Weather Warden series as a TV show or movie?

EDIT: Alexis Denisof as the Doctor!

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2011-06-26 00:25 ]
But I think a female Doctor *is* a problem for the DW creators. I just don't think they want to defy convention. Prove me wrong, Mr. Moffat.

How to put this vaguely enough to not spoil people who aren't up to date on Season 6? In invisible text just to be sure:

Hmm, that should prove interesting.
How to put this vaguely enough to not spoil people who aren't up to date on Season 6?

That's what I was hedging around with electricspacegirl ;).

...is that the Doctor is so iconically British that it'd perhaps be a bit like having a British Captain America.

Captain America ! Why couldn't I think of that when trying to come up with a quintessentially American character as an example ?? Numpty.

How 100% of American actors have managed to be unconvincing as British is statistically miraculous.

But not impossible since the amount of American film/TV consumed by other nations utterly outweighs the amount of e.g. British film/TV consumed by Americans (certainly in the past). For myself two actors stand out - I actually thought that Alexis Denisof might be English but not posh (i.e. an Englishman faking RP) in Buffy S3 and just plain an Englishman (but maybe one who'd lived in the US for a few years) in 'Angel'. His is one of the only American's doing a British accent that i've genuinely thought was British, when I watched him as Lord Rossendale in 'Sharpe' in the early-mid 90s I just assumed he was English, didn't think twice (which is why I could probably be convinced to agree with "EDIT: Alexis Denisof as the Doctor!").

Also, Gwyneth Paltrow in 'Emma' and 'Shakespeare in Love' (though not so much in 'Sliding Doors', despite being made at more or less the same time). I'd expect hers has only got better after years of being married to a sassenach ;).

Those aside, i've never heard an American actor doing a British accent where I thought they could actually pass as a native though i've heard plenty of foreigners convincing as Americans (to my ear, and i'm very willing to be told i'm wrong - it's your country after all). As I say above, I don't mean "passable", I don't mean "a good attempt" or "British but well travelled and 150+ years old", I mean "They may or may not be British but if they're not I, as a Brit, can't tell". Statistically unlikely perhaps but true in my experience (for whatever that's worth ;). Over here accents vary wildly even over as few as 40-50 miles and are absolutely integral to where, when and what class you come from, maybe we just hear them more closely because (rightly or wrongly - mainly wrongly IMO) they're more important than in the US ?

I view accent critiques as more of a fan wank since they seem to be omnipresent and yet somehow skip the attention of the producers, the director, the other actors, the vocal coach...

All of those people have a vested interest in the accent being convincing whether it is or not (even if it's only the politeness/professional respect one actor pays another). Viewers (like me) may have a bias the other way. As usual, the truth probably lies in between.

(to flip it around, in productions with widely agreed upon monumentally bad accents, where were "the producers, the director, the other actors, the vocal coach" etc. ? If Tommy Lee-Jones in 'Blown Away' or Brad Pitt in "The Devil's Own" or DB as Liam in 'Angel' can get away with their atrocious "Oirish" accents without anyone pointing out how bad they are what's to stop it happening with other actors in other roles ?)
Oh Saje, really wished you would say what's on your mind!
Actually, I've been making fun of "The Devil's Own" for years -- most horrible Irish accent I can remember, including David "wee sticks" Boreanaz. My friends and I would go around saying "it's fahn-tast-eek" the way Pitt did.

I think I know a reason why it's harder to fool a native with a fake British accent than with a fake American one -- there's so much more America. If you hear an atonal, flat, or non-distinct American accent, you just don't question it; people move from the east coast to the midwest to the deep south and end up with entire indistinguishable accents unless that's actually what you do. I mean, Kate Winslet in "Titanic" does a good "American accent", but only insofar as nobody is listening for her Pennsylvania or New York or Massachusetts or Boston or South Boston, etc.

I've seen British people discuss the variances of their own speech right down to the very neighborhood in the London metro; it's a lot harder to fool someone with a "generic" accent when most of them recognize the slightest variation between parts of their country an hour's drive away. Inevitably an affected "English accent" is going to say one thing with a North London, one thing a bit cockney, etc, and the native listener will be able to pick that out in a way that Americans would never notice or question about an "American accent". I don't know of any British actors I can think of who can grab and commit to a specific regional accent in the US; I'd say Australians are better at it for whatever reason, with Ryan Kwanten's rural Louisiana being... actually frighteningly authentic.

To the Doctor ever being played by an American, I still feel a bit odd that a quasi-immortal alien who, to my knowledge, has never actually, like, resided in Britain must be so British that a flawed and inconsistent British accented performance wouldn't suffice. Indeed, wouldn't it add a certain verisimilitude? The Doctor is affecting any accent he uses anyway, right?
I still feel a bit odd that a quasi-immortal alien who, to my knowledge, has never actually, like, resided in Britain

Yes he has.

The Doctor is affecting any accent he uses anyway, right?

I choose to believe that is a part of the Tardis translation circuit. Easier to explain away why nearly every person they meet throughout time and space has a British accent.

[ edited by Kaan on 2011-06-26 15:10 ]
Well, he's been there, sure, but I mean... does he have a house? Utility bills? A favorite grocery store? I mean, resided, stayed put. Such as one might if they were going to acquire an accent, even.
I mean, resided, stayed put. Such as one might if they were going to acquire an accent, even.

Yep. He even had a granddaughter who attended the local high school. He had the Tardis so he didn't really need a house. Also at another point he was exiled on Earth for a time and worked with UNIT. So it's just a matter of exactly how long one needs to stay in one place to acquire an accent.
I must say that I've been pretty disappointed with Doctor Who for a while. Every season and every companion it seems like the same thing: the Doctor's companion is a woman with a Safe but Boring Fiance/Boyfriend back home, she falls in love with the Doctor and needs to choose between him and her old life. And the plotlines seem so geocentric now. Can't there be some more variety with the stories? Or the companions? Why not a male companion, or an alien companion, or a robot companion?

Perhaps having a woman doctor would help. Amy Acker would do an awesome job, American accent aside.
To the original article my list would be: Wastelanders, Goners, Dr. Horrible follow-up. Something like a Firefly/Serenity follow-up would be awesome, but those others seem more realistic.

I just think the age of native casting is pretty much done. Except for maybe the HP series...

Doctor Who and James Bond seem to be one of those exceptions where the main character *needs* to be British. More the Doctor than any as the show has always had a British sensibility to it to me (as a Canadian).

I still think it would be cool for Joss to do a single episode of Doctor Who, as Joss has mentioned it in the past as an influence on Buffy.
ETA: I'd love Joss to write/direct an episode (provided he's a fan), that'd be even sqee-ier than Gaiman doing one.[/ETA]

Also at another point he was exiled on Earth for a time and worked with UNIT.

True, Three couldn't use his TARDIS at all for a long stretch (exiled to Earth, poor sod) and One's first (human) companions were two of his granddaughter's teachers who followed her home one evening because she seemed to be "An Unearthly Child" (basically, she was too clever and was a bit iffy on tenses for some events). Still, it's reasonable to assume that he sounded English (at the start) mainly because he was played by an English actor and the accent suited the slightly stuffy, arrogant, professorial aspects of the character (just as David Tennant's sort of "Essex wide-boy" take for Ten meant he couldn't use his own accent).

Actually, I've been making fun of "The Devil's Own" for years -- most horrible Irish accent I can remember, including David "wee sticks" Boreanaz. My friends and I would go around saying "it's fahn-tast-eek" the way Pitt did.

And yet it apparently got past azzers' list of people who're in a position to judge ("producers, the director, the other actors, the vocal coach..." etc.) i.e. he expressed doubts about some fannish accent criticisms on the basis that they pass everyone's muster except the fans' so I provided some examples that seemingly got past those people and yet which pretty much everyone i've ever asked accepts are terrible - the point being bad accents apparently get past those people fairly regularly so what does or doesn't get past them isn't a measure of much IMO.

To the Doctor ever being played by an American, I still feel a bit odd that a quasi-immortal alien who, to my knowledge, has never actually, like, resided in Britain must be so British that a flawed and inconsistent British accented performance wouldn't suffice.

As I mention above, to me he has quite an arrogant, superior, patrician air but somewhat world weary too, the same "tail end of Empire" quality that Giles has for instance. He's also a "gentleman amateur" and a bit batty. That aside it's hard to put into words, he just feels very British as a character to me (in the same way that cowboys feel quintessentially American). Even the TARDIS' "big smallness" feels British in a way that's also hard to express (clearly i'm doing a great job here ;).

Ultimately I guess I just see it as, why bother using someone who has a flawed British accent (which will take at least one viewer - namely me - and probably more than that out of the show) when you can just use a Brit ? It's not as if we're at a loss for talented actors and i've never really held the belief that every role would be better played by a Whedonverse actor so why shoe-horn someone in ?

[ edited by Saje on 2011-06-26 18:02 ]
0: Something new and surprising and delightful, please.
I would suggest Mos Def, but I almost wonder if Ford Prefect to the Doctor isn't a downgrade (sorry, I love Ford) :)
There are some things you just don't change, and one of those is the Doctor's Brit-ness! Another is the taste of Pepsi, as proven by Pepsi Max. A third is IE8 to IE9, as I'm discovering today...

I can't see any good reason to cast a non-Brit as the Doctor, to be honest. As Saje mentioned above, there are no end of talented actors over here who would be absolutely perfect for the part. I'm still hoping that they can find a way to have John Simm take over when Matt Smith calls it a day. Some sort of twisted joint regeneration kinda thing, causing the Doctor and the Master to take on each other's form. You get Simm as the Doctor and as a bonus you get a Matt Smith shaped Master for as long as he wants the role. All kinds of good!

Alternatively? Idris Elba.
Every season and every companion it seems like the same thing: the Doctor's companion is a woman with a Safe but Boring Fiance/Boyfriend back home, she falls in love with the Doctor and needs to choose between him and her old life.

This is an argument I've heard previously, but I just don't see how it tracks. It only really describes Rose. Martha falls in love with the Doctor, but she doesn't have anyone waiting for her back home; Donna is woman but neither falls in love with the Doctor nor has a "Safe but Boring Fiance/Boyfriend" back home and Amy has never loved the Doctor and now has a kickass husband who is also a Companion. *Shrugs*

My pick for next Doctor... Hugh Laurie.
@Like With Pie
You clearly haven't been watching recently then. There's a male companion in the tardis now. Who, while safe, isn't boring.
ETA: Or safe.

[ edited by GreatMuppetyOdin on 2011-06-26 20:56 ]
What Saje said: the Doctor is quintessentially British and there are tons of amazing British actors, so why would you look for an American? I mean, sure, he's an alien--but Hobbits are from another universe, and no one would cast Americans as Hobbits--Or, um, nevermind. :-p

(I am American, BTW, and in my experience Brits do convincing American accents much more often than the reverse. I mean, I've just assumed certain actors were American until I found out otherwise--Anna Friel in Pushing Daisies, for instance--whereas often I've seen someone doing British, and thought it sounded awful.)

Also, while I *love* Doctor Who, I don't really want Joss doing anything with it. I'd much rather have Moffat running the show, Neil Gaiman writing another episode somewhere down the road, and His Purpleness creating something new and shiny and unexpected.
Hobbits aren't from another universe, erendis. At least, no more than Doctor Who is, in the fictional sense.

Middle-earth is the distant past of this world, as far as Tolkien was concerned anyway. If you were to attempt to translate the maps of that time to present day, the Shire would fall roughly where the United Kingdom is today (or more accurately, a little further west) so the accents chosen for the Hobbits are pretty much correct, based on Tolkien's intentions.
Doctor Who really isn't something I'm all that interested in, either -- I don't think it would find much more of an American audience than it already has anyway. The Doctor is far too passive, IMO, as a protagonist. He just sort of lets the situation come to him and then talks his way through it more often than not, and I'm not sure that would play for a 11 rating/14 share type of target on American network TV, and the only reason to bother at all would be to aim higher than SyFy, where you can... already watch the original.

I wasn't kidding about Joss attacking the "Weather Warden" series -- I think it would lend itself at least as well to television as the Sookie Stackhouse novels did, it's got a female protagonist who I think is in no small part inspired by Buffy's persona if not her mythology, and it's got a very telegenic supernatural hook (controlling the elements, sexy and superpowerful Djinn). That series is a quite enjoyable light read and I would love for it to be TV or movie at some point, and Joss would be an ideal guy to do it.
@Kaan, I suppose that's true, but I still feel like there's not enough diversity within his companions. Even if their romantic interests are all unique, they're all still female humans, without many significant other companions (although I suppose Rory is on the show now). But I agree Hugh Laurie would make an awesome Doctor.

@GreatMuppetyOdin: That's true, I haven't been watching it recently. Perhaps I should pick it up again.
It's been partially said already, but the reason why an American accent tends to be easier to fake than a British one is because of how much larger and more diverse (despite what you might think) the American Accent* pool is compared to its British* counterpart.

In short, the American native population is much more likely to overlook American accent abnormalities (especially in diverse groups like the show business community) because the probability of two random Americans having the same regional accent is so much lower compared to a place like Great Britain where the regional accents are fewer, but consequently better known to most of the native population.

I'd also add that imitating regional American accents to the point of convincing native speakers (eg. Pittsburghian, my theoretical native tongue) is just as hard to pull off as doing the same for most any British one.

ETA: Americans also tend to make far fewer assumptions about there being an inherent relationship between social class and local dialect then their British counterparts (which, come to think of it, is probably the main reason why Brits tend to be crankier about these kinds of things.) To most Americans the only thing dialect really tells you is where someone probably grew up. To most Brits it usually means a whole lot more than that...



* Click if your a sucker... ;)

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2011-06-27 05:28 ]
Arcane, depends on when you asked Tolkien ... sometimes he said it was the distant past of this world, sometimes he suggested it was a different world entirely (which IMO makes more sense, but that's just me).

And that's a good point, brinderwalt ... the generic American accent tends to be convincing b/c there are so many variations, whereas when anyone--American, British, Australian--tries to do a Georgia or Alabama accent, it tends to strike me as completely ridiculous and over the top. (I'm from Georgia, near the Alabama border.)

ETA: Read this over and realized that I've somewhere wandered light years away from the actual topic. So, um, cheers to Joss, and may all his future projects prosper!

[ edited by erendis on 2011-06-27 05:28 ]
Regarding Tolkien - strictly speaking there is actually no basis whatsoever for identifying Hobbits (or anyone else in the LotR universe for that matter) as having British accents, regardless of whether it's supposed to be a past or parallel universe, since no one there actually speaks English in the first place.
It always seems to me that British and Australian actors playing Americans on American shows have totally convincing accents, but when they play Americans on British shows, their accents are dreadful. Like the blonde CIA agent on Spooks. Eeesh.
My only point about Hobbits was that I personally prefer for them to be played by British actors, because I think that there's a lot that's quintessentially British about Hobbit culture, society, mores, and even speech patterns--despite the fact that Hobbits are in no way actually British and, of course, don't actually speak English.

But I wasn't trying to start a Tolkien debate! I was just trying to make a parallel to Doctor Who ... The Doctor is in many ways very very British--despite the fact that he's not from the Earth at all, and of course doesn't speak English as a native language--and therefore I like the fact that the producers seem committed to sticking with British actors for the role.

I didn't at all mean to send us off into a long discussion of Tolkien stuff (didn't even realize there were this many Tolkien fans on Whedonesque, though I guess that shouldn't come as much of a surprise :-).
Agreed on the Tolkien point brinderwalt, although since he was British I don't find it a horrible assumption to make. I'd just say, it's also not a necessary assumption to make in general. Although I actually would find anything other different forms of British accents a strange choice personally.

I found it somewhat odd that Game of Thrones chose to use accents, although since GRRM himself is an executive producer, I think we have to go with authorial intent there. Plus, he was using the War of the Roses as reference. Plus it's fought between the Lannisters (red) and the Starks (white). Ok, nevermind.

I think people just assume British accents whenever you start mentioning Kingdoms. Or Romans for some inexplicable reason.

[ edited by azzers on 2011-06-27 06:22 ]
Doctor Who is brilliant, beyond brilliant, especially this past season 6, and if anyone gave up in season 4 I challenge you to toss the rest of that and start again with season 5. It is amazing, beyond amazing. Neil Gaiman guest wrote an episode of season 6 and I am absolutely absolutely all for Joss writing an episode. Moffat will edit anyway, but I can't imagine Joss being incapable of writing an amazing episode of fantasy family-friendly TV with basically NO RULES. It would be beyond stellar. He does not need to run Doctor Who, as for now Moffat is doing a ridiculously good job, but I would like a Joss episode.
Like the blonde CIA agent on Spooks. Eeesh.

She's not British jcs (she's Irish) so... we still rule ! Albeit not in any meaningful way ;).

(your point's valid though - I guess it has to be easier when you're living and working among the accent you're imitating ?)

It's been partially said already, but the reason why an American accent tends to be easier to fake than a British one is because of how much larger and more diverse (despite what you might think) the American Accent* pool is compared to its British* counterpart.

Not sure about the numbers but i'd be really interested in some links (to a more reliable source than tvtropes.org ;) to support that brinderwalt since that'd be my first instinct (given how big the US is and how many different types of people have settled there) but i've been told by people more qualified than me (i.e. qualified in any way ;) that the numbers of distinct regional dialects are comparable, implausible as that sounds to me. Curious as to how many distinct regional accents you recognise in e.g. England, without googling/tropesing (I wouldn't expect non-Brits to be able to tell many different Scottish or Welsh accents apart, most English folk can't even do that) ?

(as I say above, I suspect you're nearer the mark when you say "To most Americans the only thing dialect really tells you is where someone probably grew up. To most Brits it usually means a whole lot more than that..." - our ear may be more attuned because over here it has important social implications and maybe because of the smaller area we tend to hear more different accents "live" ?)

It's certainly true though that there's no such thing as an American accent, anymore than there's an English accent, there isn't even any such thing as a northern English accent (and there's certainly no British accent, until I spoke to more non-UKers the concept didn't even really occur to me). And yet we know what we mean when we say all of those things.

Plus, he was using the War of the Roses as reference. Plus it's fought between the Lannisters (red) and the Starks (white). Ok, nevermind.

Yeah I just assumed Westeros is a highly fictionalised, geographically tweaked version of historical Britain. War of the Roses aside, you have the wall separating the cold, wintry north from the south and what's beyond seen as a wild land (Hadrian's wall), you have the seat of power far down in the south (London) with southerners considered more refined and less forthright, you have seven distinct "kingdoms" which are somewhat uneasily united (the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy of Mercia, East Anglia, Wessex etc. or you could map it less exactly to Scotland, England and Wales), you have a foreign enemy across a narrow sea (the English Channel) etc. so the accents made perfect sense to me (the northerners have what we recognise as a northern English accent, the southerners are, well, southern - if the White Walkers are very scary people rather than something fantastical and we ever hear one talk I wouldn't be amazed if they have Scottish accents). Also, without northerners in film/TV how would Sean Bean feed his family ;) ?

I think people just assume British accents whenever you start mentioning Kingdoms. Or Romans for some inexplicable reason.

I think it's partly the aristocratic association (because by and large when non-UKers talk about "a British accent" they actually mean a middle/upper-class south-eastern English accent i.e. how the ruling classes spoke/speak, like Giles) and partly the "old world" aspect* and again, there's also the imperialism reference (and probably a healthy dose of contingency based on the history of cinema - in the past Brits tended to play classical roles more, probably due to a kind of snobbery about Shakespearean training and that's become ingrained).



* Clearly neither the English accent nor the American accent existed back then, it's just the American accent didn't exist by longer ;)
I'm apparently a sucker. ;)

I suppose another link other than tv tropes would have more legitimacy, like, say something academical. But I thought FWIW, that the American one was pretty damn accurate, actually. Out of the 32 (or maybe 34? -it's too early for math) listed American accents, I have either lived in a region/city or spent a bit of time in 16 of them due to relatives. (Wow. I had no idea. Americans really do move around a lot.) IMO (not a linguist), both the descriptions of the accents and the associated perceived stereotypes was dead on.

Oh yeah, there was a thread topic floating around somewhere... Um, so the "Top Ten Things Joss Should Do Post-Avengers":

1. Take a nap.
2. Take another nap.
3. Go dig a hole to China with the kids.
4. Take another nap.
5. Read a book for fun. In the shade of a tree. (Open eyes optional.)
6. Leave the kids at their aunt and uncle's and spend a long weekend with Kai.
7. Take a nap
8. Spend at least two hours eating one meal of terribly tasty food and talking to fun people while sitting down.
9. Sit in the most comfortable chair he can find and digest. (Open eyes optional.)
10. Take a breath and have a look around at the world.
I've just started reading the Game and Thrones and immediately saw the king as Edward the 4th, his hated Queen and her family as the Woodvilles and his trusted friend as Edward's brother, Richard.

And (on topic) I'll vote for a long rest, a trip to NYC to see a few musicals then Goners.
IMO (not a linguist), both the descriptions of the accents and the associated perceived stereotypes was dead on.

OK, you've made a sucker out of me too BreathesStory (well half a sucker, I read the British one ;) and it's pretty decent but not granular enough (and has a slightly anglo-centric feel too, as you'd expect since most Brits - the most likely/authoritative commenters - are English). Welsh accents from the north and south sound different even to me for instance and my Welsh mates can often tell where other Welsh folk are from quite specifically BUT i'd bet they sound pretty similar to most English people, hence the comment about there not being an acknowledged difference. Likewise, an Edinburgh accent is different enough to a more westerly Scottish accent (even compensating for class, which makes a big difference - middle-class Steven Moffat and "working" class Rab C Nesbitt being from about 5 miles apart as the crow flies) to be noticeable, Orcadians sound different to mainlanders (and different again to Shetlanders), a Newcastle accent can be told apart from a Sunderland accent, Dorset (and certainly Devon) sound different to Hampshire, there's no mention made of East Midlands accents and yet to me (having lived here for getting on 18 years) they're quite distinctive (certainly re: dialect) and so on.

(an academic project to list all distinct regional dialects of both countries would define what it means by accent/dialect and make a formal attempt to be comprehensive so better in that sense. Not necessarily more accurate though)

On topic, clearly Joss should make an academic study of the accents of Britain and America, there may be a gap in the market ;).
I remember reading once that all regional accents were disappearing because of Television. I am very glad it isn't so.
I was on a bus in Somerset one spring while a farmer talked to a friend he hadn't seen in a very long time. He said he had applied for a job for the winter months but he warnt pucked. Although I had never heard either word before, what they meant was immediately clear and I resolved to add the word "pucked" to my vocabulary.
Slightly on topic, during one of the Dollhouse commentaries, Jed and Maurissa talked about Enver choosing a Northern Italian accent for one of his "doll assignments" but ending with something between southern Italy and the Olive Garden. So even restaurants have their own dialects these days!
It's true, sometimes i've been to McDonald's and the staff seemed to communicate entirely in a language composed of surly grunts ;).

(google tells me Olive Garden's an Italian restaurant chain, are they one of those "theme" places that makes their staff "speaka dee Italian" or something ? Or is it just a general observation/joke ? Betting on the latter since the former sounds like a litigation paradise of racist stereotypes)

Re: regional accents disappearing, not sure it'll ever happen completely BUT i'm also not that sanguine that no homogenisation's taking place. As a f'rinstance, I saw some kids on a news report from Scotland a few months back talking about lochs but almost all of them said it without the fricative 'ch', more like 'lock', just as - horror of horrors - the English say it ;). Joking aside it made me slightly sad to see some of the edges of our distinctiveness smoothed off, presumably as a result of a lot of non-Scottish TV/film viewing (no bad thing in itself of course, parochialism's arguably a worse failing).
Saje I was under the impression that the vernacular coloring for Loch was [x] as in Bach rather than what westerners usually mean by ch ([tʃ]*
as in chip) - or am I just miss/over-interpreting here?


* Second character should look sort of like an elongated capital S.


Imo linguistics OTs are awesome! And would still be even if phonetics weren't one of my areas of professional expertise. :)

Lack of support for IPA characters in most fonts/interfaces, however, is definitely not awesome.


[ edited by brinderwalt on 2011-06-27 18:13 ]
Olive Garden is to Italian food as Taco Bell is to Mexican food. Based on Olive Garden TV ads and one visit to the chain, I think Lioness meant "not particularly authentic."
Joss should make a film about the future high-stakes corporate war between Olive Garden and Taco Bell - regardless of how we already know who wins.
A nightmare vision of the future indeed.

Saje I was under the impression that the vernacular coloring for Loch was [x] as in Bach rather than what westerners usually mean by ch ([tʃ]*
as in chip) - or am I just miss/over-interpreting here?


Yeah that's right brinderwalt, 'ch' as in Bach is how I and most Scots my age say it (which I guess raises the question of how you pronounce Bach ;) and which that report (with the Scottish kids "mis"pronouncing it) made me think might be on the way out. Maybe I used the wrong term above ? I thought that [x] sound in 'loch' was called the 'voiceless velar fricative' so not pronouncing it that way could be termed saying it "without the fricative 'ch'" (which is how the English, among others, pronounce it) ? But if the 'voiceless velar' part of that is essential or "fricative 'ch'" just isn't right and the way I put it ends up with totally the wrong meaning then I happily sit corrected (i'm - at best - an interested layman with linguistics though these OTs are among my faves too).
I'd love to see Joss doing some Shakespeare :,-)
Yeah that's right brinderwalt, 'ch' as in Bach is how I and most Scots my age say it (which I guess raises the question of how you pronounce Bach ;)

Why, as the Germans do of course! Durch die liebe alte ach-Laut [x] (aka the same way you Scots do it.) :)

Yeah, when you said without the fricative I took that to mean that the sound you were referring to as a reference point must be something formed with more than just a single fricative element to it, such as the affricative (aka stop-plosive fricative combo sound family) [tʃ] which happens to be commonly spelled as 'ch' in English - hence the slight confusion (it actually makes me envy people like the Russians whose languages have nearly a 1:1 ratio between unique sounds and how they are written down - eg. they actually have 'x' for [x] and 'ч' for [tʃ].)

If I'm not entirely mistaken the horror you experienced on your television set could also be described as the wholesale substitution of the good old voiceless velar fricative [x] with the insidious voiceless velar plosive [k] as in key. I've heard it often enough myself, and it's always painful to behold.



...you can all stop inversely-phonating on a voiceless uvular fricative (aka snooring) now.
the insidious voiceless velar plosive

Oh dear, now I'm frightened.

[ edited by jcs on 2011-06-28 03:32 ]
The worst part is, you never hear it coming, that insidious basterd.

(but yep, that's exactly what it is, 'k' as in 'key'. Now I have a name for mine enemy ;)

Yeah, when you said without the fricative I took that to mean that the sound you were referring to as a reference point must be something formed with more than just a single fricative element to it...

Aha, that makes perfect sense brinderwalt (so you thought I meant "without the fricative 'ch' [but still with some other fricative]" ?). Cool, good to know I was in the right bailiwick.

Sounds like the Russians have the right idea. We could do with a ground-up rewrite on English, too much cruft.

(is it just coincidence that some languages have that and others don't or is there some common thread connecting them, like a common ancestor or something ?)
"(is it just coincidence that some languages have that and others don't or is there some common thread connecting them, like a common ancestor or something ?)"

A perpetual, weather induced, post-nasal drip?
@erendis,

It's true that Tolkien was occasionally a little unclear in how he described the time and place that he considered to be the setting for his Middle-earth tales. However, I think there is enough evidence to suggest that he intended it to be very much a tale of Earth's ancient past, as suggested in this article from The Encyclopedia of Arda.

And I was quite surprised to see so many people getting involved with the Tolkien discussion as well. That said, given your username, I can't say that I'm all that shocked you mentioned him. ;)

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