Posted by: Robin | March 6, 2008

An Incidental Rant

Last night I had the TV on while I worked on inputting my edits (up to p. 240, btw), and turned on the new show New Amsterdam. The lead actor, playing a New York cop, is Danish. The female lead, also playing a New York cop, is British. The other two recent series I’ve checked out are Eli Stone and Cashmere Mafia. The lead character in Eli Stone is a San Francisco lawyer being played by a Brit, his fiancee is played by a Canadian, and his sidekick young lawyer was born and grew up in Argentina. (The supporting cast is largely made up of veteran American actors.) In Cashmere Mafia we had a Brit, an Australian and two native New Yorkers playing four high-powered American professional women in New York City. Out of curiosity I’ve started checking out actors in shows and movies on imbd.com. More than once I’ve thought this one has to be American, only to discover otherwise.

Combined, the ratio of American lead actors to non-Amercan lead actors in these three series is pretty representative of what’s happened during the 2007-08 TV season. It’s discouraging, and I don’t get it. Normally I’m more global in my thinking than national, and I’m widely known to be an anglophile, but this trend seems to be verging on the ridiculous. I can’t believe that the current ratio of Americans in series’ leads is indicative of our talent pool. Having a daughter who is an actor plugging away to become a working actor probably makes me overly sensitive, but a few entertainment columnists mentioned the same thing early in the season. Our actors deserve better agents, if nothing else. I refuse to believe it is a matter of talent and skill.

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