So last night we watched the first two episodes of Good Behavior. It's a fine show so far, if very dark (like, if you're comparing it to the other con artist show TNT's known for, Leverage, it's about as dark as that show was fun). But one thing that kept nagging at me during the entire episode is that Michelle Dockery speaks in the exact same voice that Hayley Atwell uses on Conviction (whose latest episode we'd literally just watched immediately prior to GB).
Since both actress are British and portraying American characters (but very different ones), it feels like this is either the new coached American accent, or there's some overlap in their training. And it's more than just an accent -- they speak with the same actual voice, with a sort of whiskey-soaked throatiness that's also not a part of either of their natural speaking styles. The closest comparison I could make is Michelle Monaghan in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Since Monaghan is from the Midwest, I could see that being the goal, maybe? Although Atwell's character is supposed to be upper crust East Coast, and Dockery's character is implied to be from Appalachia.
It's better than what I thought of as the previous accent, a sort of faltering New Jersey thing that only Hugh Laurie could actually pull off, but a lot of other actors tried and failed and sounded like they came from nowhere (the worst ever being Louise Lombard during her run on CSI).
- Dockery's accent slips less than Atlwell's does. I adore Atwell, but she cannot sustain the American accent for an extended period, and it's frustrating.
- That said, there's a sequence during the first episode in which Dockery's character puts on a cloyingly awful Southern accent that I assumed was meant to be awful, since that's usually the American accent British actors do best (see Liz Taylor, etc).
- Conviction, which has been canceled even if the network won't acknowledge it, is a better show than it has a right to be, and in a world where quality rules, it would have outlasted a lot of other new shows (although it's still monumentally flawed at times).
- While I'm really impressed by the first two episode of Good Behavior, I'm curious as to how well the show can keep things up. But Dockery's every bit as good here as she was playing Susan Sto Helit (and I hear she also had a good run on some other show, too).