Zaphod isn’t really a character you’re supposed to like, you sort of love to hate him or laugh at him. He’s a typical arrogant egomaniacal dumbbell who does whatever he wants to every waking moment. I must admit, Sam Rockwell’s performance really grew on me. When he’s dodging the Vogons laser ammo like a stoned rock star I just crack up every time. Because he really is American he can just be more convincingly cocky, if that makes any sense. It fits how I perceive the character anyhow. I sort of dislike Wing-Davey’s performance in some ways. I shouldn’t because he is the original, but I can’t get past the phony American accent. It just puts me off. Having said that I think he’s better on the dialogue than Rockwell. His experience in radio gives him a confidence that works. And I just ignore the spare head in the ‘81 production because of it’s time. I actually get a kick out of it because it’s a mark of how British television could have the worst special effects ever but you ignore it because the rest of the programme is so great. Having said that, the '81 head was actually fairly sophisticated for it’s day. The 2005 CGI head was alright. It was funny how it just popped up, but I prefer the crappy animatronic head because it’s physically there.
So, both Zaphods are good really. My criticism usually dies off when I consider the good parts of an actor’s performance. If I could combine Wing-Davey and Rockwell into one actor for this role I would.