Last week when I posted a viewers’ guide for the program Gavin & Stacey, I received a great comment about how a terrible American remake was made of that show. I had no idea! (Well, no one did, for the most part: it never aired on American TV.) So that got me thinking, how many terrible American remakes of British shows have there been?
A lot, it turns up. Because I am a lazy researcher, I almost always turn first to Wikipedia for these types of pop culture questions, and here is part of my answer: “List of American television series based on British television series.” In all fairness, though, that list is more comprehensive than it is judgmental. What else does the Interweb, more specifically YouTube, have to say on this subject?
Although, if you have plans to watch either the American or the British police dramas Life on Mars, you really shouldn’t watch that video. Spoilers! Mostly I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never seen the British versions of most of the shows listed in that video–I have got to watch Cold Feet one of these days. And might I just say…the very IDEA of The IT Crowd without Chris O’Dowd is just so, so wrong. Why even try to create Chris O’Dowd magic without Chris O’Dowd?
If you prefer your lists in, well, list form, there’s also this one from Wow24/7:
I was glad to see Shameless on that list, because I’ve seen Shameless on a lot of “Best American Remakes” lists, and I just don’t agree with that.
So the question remains: Why and how do the Americans get it so wrong? I tend to think it’s because Americans and Brits have widely divergent senses of humor. Also: I just don’t know that Americans can do “saucy” properly. (This would certainly explain why the awesome UK show Coupling didn’t translate to American.) What do you think?
p.s. The British The Office or the American The Office? They were so different as to actually seem like unrelated shows. Which one did you prefer and why?