Monday, January 10, 2011

4 TV Shows getting a US Remake in 2011 and Why They Could Fail

The UK to US translation has not always gone well. The idea behind it is many US executives have run out of ideas and have a lot of money and instead of spending time on market research, looking through original ideas, they come to the conclusion of not being stupid and not taking a risk by saying, well it plays over there (Britain) and if it doesn't play over here (The best country in the world), well it ain't my fault. So let's have a look at the 2011 schedule and see what's gonna be a big bit of floppy bollocks or a tall strong tower of might and freedom.

Soon to be sponsored by Viagra


This hilarious comedy series has been running in the UK for a few years now and centers on the life of Frank, a fairly shithouse father-figure and all round unlikeable bloke. His sons and daughters are a group of ne'er do wellers, thieves, liars and a baby. The mother of said brats has acute agoraphobia, which is incredibly harrowing to watch her development as a mother character and also conquering her fears and finally Frank's neighbours who equally have the traits and personalities of being generally annoying, crap, shitty or all 3.
The US adaptation just started recently on Showtime and stars William H. Macy in the lead role and is set in a similar impoverish community, much like that of the run down Chatsworth council estate area, Chicago's West Square is known for the poor conditions Frank's family (UK). Poverty is also a huge US issue, especially after the financial crisis of 2008, and how it ties into the show (US) is quite enjoyable to see the residents finding hilarious ways to bounce back from it.
Why it could work?
The show's translation is similar to that of The Office, of being able to Americanise the actual content but still keep the traits universally sound.
Casting Macy was probably one of the biggest draws for me as he is able to play the strong fearless badass (although I've never seen him utilised as such) and the down-on-his-and-everyone-else's-luck guy hanging outside a bar.
Showtime, like HBO, is a network I genuinely trust in the US, as they often rarely do things half-assed and are hosts to one of the best reality/doco shows on TV, Bullshit.
Why it couldn't work?
They cut out the mum. Definitely the most interesting and intriguing character (at least for me) in the show that isn't a complete shit or bastard (or in using the feminine definer, bitch)
US children are shits. The UK kids aren't so bad, they have this slightly enjoyable charm that they're making mistakes or simply unaware of the world aruond them, but US kids are just fucking annoying brats who's delivery is either whining and annoying, or a dawww aww shucks kind of an affair where they clearly know what they're up to but won't tell you until it's too late.
Overall, the series could do well, but I'm not holding my breath.

The UK Series is on hiatus or ended, I don't really know (or care) because I gave up midway through Season 2 and never looked back. I did catch a few episodes of Series 3 and 4, but ultimately it was the same old stuff, just with fresher younger faces that had gave me this creeping suspicion that even though I'd barely hit my 20's, that I was old and rat-faced and hadn't lived my life to the fullest.
The series revolves around a full series (which is what 'seasons' or a-group-of-episodes-which-often-comes-out-in-a-year-or-designated-time-period, although not appropriately in this context) of characters that have their usual teenage problems and dramas, such as drinking, partying, getting in trouble, pregnancy, international incidents (and by incidents I mean doing it with someone not British) and of course, drugs.
Why it could work?
MTV is handling the property and with the success of live action shows such as, The Hard Times of RJ Berger (a personal guilty pleasure of mine from last year, think of like a teen version of Hung, but without prostitution and definitely not serious) and Popzilla (another guilty pleasure), MTV could possibly be heading back to it's heyday of good (NON-REALITY BULLSHIT) original programming....or they could bring back Daria (I got a wicked concept for a revamp)
Why it couldn't work?
It's MTV and I'm amazed they just haven't used the cast of their reality shows to fill the spots of the cast members. Seriously, go to their current schedule and look at all of the shows on there. Rarely will there be a spot not filled with a reality show title dealing with not being either pregnant (16 & Pregnant), having weight issues (I Used To Be Fat), dealing with adolescence (When I was 17) or being a complete prick.
Despite having the trappings of being an enjoyable show (at least for the first season/series) and having a UK audience of mainly 30-year-olds, MTV will probably drop this for a reality show spin-off, Ronnie and Sammi's wedding.
I'd tell him his hat looks shit...if he couldn't kill me with just waggling his ears.

Being Human, in the UK, was one of the first popular supernatural shows in the wake of the Twilight craze, Heroes and of course, the CW's Supernatural. The UK drama centers around a werewolf, a vampire and a ghost and what sounds like a hilarious premise for an 80's sitcom, unfolds into being a quite interesting and sweet dramatic look on what it means human (seewhatididthar.jpg)
The US series being handled by the SyFy channel, and if you just read that as the siffy channel, I don't blame you, it's looks fucking stupid, and from the look of a few promotional posters and banners it looks like it's trying to make itself either the new True Blood or the new Twilight, either way, we'll probably see it have vampires fucking...eventually.
Why It Could Work?
Despite the incredibly odd and fucked up rebranding, the sci-fi channel often has a good hold on properties, both international and at home. They known their stuff and often have a good mark on what geeks want (other than boobs and possibly a girlfriend) and will go after their core demographic of weepy, dramatic, tortured souls aesthetic.
Why It Couldn't Work?
They could really bollocks this up in three ways, but mainly to do with character. And by the looks of the e-banners they already have.
1. The Vampire is gonna be sexy-as-fuck one minute and deeply depressed the second. Basically being a manifestation with someone who has bi-polar and not a representation for rape and social scrutiny like it's meant to freaking be.
2. The Wolfman is gonna be similar to the above but has his breaking out either every night or whenever is convenient to the plot. In the case of I ever turning into a werewolf, I'd make sure I got a calender, watch or personal moon device, to tell me whenever there was a full moon and basically make some sort of vault I could look myself in with a voice-activated look of me saying something calm like, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo.
3. The Ghost is gonna be an emo. Oh no, I'm dead, what does it all mean, Oh God, why won't anyone talk to me, why did this series bomb on the second season in the UK, oh noes.
Again, this series could do well, but overall, I think a lot of the Britishness (totes a word) will have to be scrapped for a few pop culture references here, some new storylines there and a roof made of shit.

Not so much as a remake as a skip across the pond, but Torchwood (the Dr. Who spin-off) is gonna have Bill Paxton make an appearance and if he does get some serious dude tonguing action on, I believe a very large portion of the audience will turn off, as will some people who just read that. The show centers around Jack Harkness, an immortal figure who has a group of people who consistently save the world and who are nothing like the Scooby Doo gang for people who love the idea of an apocalypse. The world could easily be prepared for Torchwood's American embrace, I mean it worked for Doctor Who, right?
Oh...right? And it was handled by FOX too?

Why It Could Work?
But mainly the show works around so many US cliches and big budget appeal that it's failure could simply come down to marketing and nothing more. The campy and fun nature of the show, as well as the gratuitious fucking and violence is perfect for US audiences.

Why It Couldn't Work?
They hate the gays? I dunno, I'm not even a fan of Torchwood and I really don't think of how this could fail if they keep to the script they've been running with for a few years.
And now here's a list of shows that have already been or I hope not are getting a UK to US remake:
IT Crowd
Not Going Out
Black Books
15 Storey's High
Peep Show
How Not To Live Your Live
Hyper Drive
Modern Toss
and last and certainly not least, Misfits, if a yank exec ever touches that show I will punch him in the face so hard he will be tossed backwards into a glass cabinet full of all the souls he's taken.
Also, I'm aware I'm Australian and have been using British euphemisms, words and cultural points...I don't really have a defence, I'm just acknowledging it.

1 comment:

  1. on the other hand really looking forward to episodes which will hopefully make fun of all this shit