Americans Doing British TV

Five Instances Where US Remakes of British Shows Weren’t Such a Bad Idea

In case you haven’t heard the news, fan favorite Doc Martin is being adapted for American television. Believe me. I can imagine your collective grumbling and indignant protests as I write this post.

I guess we’re supposed to feel hope for this venture because the project is in the hands of Marta Kauffman, one of the co-creators of Friends. We know she can write a phenomenally popular American sitcom. Unfortunately that doesn’t convince me that she can achieve the elusive feat of turning a quintessentially quirky British dramedy into something typical US viewers will embrace. (You and I are not in the aforementioned demographic, by the way.)

Every time I turn on my computer these days it seems that a pilot has been commissioned by Hollywood execs in hopes that it will translate to big ratings just because it’s been successful in the UK. If this scenario sounds familiar it may be because the Showtime series Episodes mocks this very trend.

An American Version of ‘Doc Martin’ is Apparently Happening

For some reason, American networks can’t seem to get enough of making their own versions of popular British programs. Recent examples include FOX’s Broadchurch remake Gracepoint, HBO’s Getting On, MTV’s attempts at re-doing The Inbetweeners and Skins, and several others. A US version of The IT Crowd was rumored to be happening for the longest time. An American Luther is in the works, apparently.

So, it probably shouldn’t come as that big of a surprise that someone’s finally decided to take a swing at one of the most popular Britcoms on-air currently. But, it’s official: Marta Kauffman, one of the co-creators behind mega-hit US sitcom Friends has decided to have a go at making an American version of Doc Martin, the British hit that chronicles the adventures of a curmudgeonly London doctor who sets up a practice in the quaint and quirky small town of Portwenn.

Yes, really. That wasn’t a typo. An American Doc Martin could legitimately be a thing on our TV screens within the next year or so.

A US Remake of ‘The IT Crowd’ in the Works For Some Reason

For some reason that I will never understand, American television networks seem to regularly go through this weird phase where they think ratings success is waiting for them just around the corner….if only they can find the perfect British TV show to remake for their primetime schedule.

Yes, this keeps happening, year in and year out – FOX’s new Thursday drama for this season is called Gracepoint and is a remake of the British hit Broadchurch – and it doesn’t matter seem to matter how many of these US spins on British series don’t do well in the ratings (US versions of Coupling and Skins), or never even make it out of the pilot stage, come to that (looking at you, recent US attempts at Gavin and Stacey and Only Fools and Horses). The networks are going to keep swinging anyway – chasing the elusive magic that makes particular British series popular among American audiences.

Next in line for the remake treatment? Popular Channel 4 comedy series The IT Crowd. Yes, sadly, according to Deadline, someone at NBC seems to think that creating American versions of Moss, Roy and Jen is a great idea, so much so that they’ve given this new series a put pilot commitment, meaning that the revival will air, at least in some limited capacity.

Period Crime Drama ‘Peaky Blinders’ Comes to Netflix

It would seem that Netflix is becoming quite the home for British television in America these days – after the online streaming service brought contemporary crime dramas The Fall and Happy Valley across the pond, the site has now moved on to more a bit of period crime fare.

Netflix has locked down exclusive rights as the US distributor for the popular British drama Peaky Blinders, a six-part factually-inspired series that follows the story of the Shelby family in Birmingham in 1919. These were the leaders of the violent Peaky Blinders gang, whose members were notorious for sewing razor blades into their hats – which also happens to be where their nickname comes from.

Created by Steven Knight, the drama stars Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill, Helen McCrory and Annabelle Wallis. Watch a trailer for the first season’s Netflix debut below

American Maggie Gyllenhaal Does Her Best British Accent in ‘The Honourable Woman’ This July

BBC Two political thriller The Honourable Woman will be making its way to America later this month, where we’ll all get to see the very American Maggie Gyllenhaal give us her best attempt at a British accent. American ladies doing British drama seems to be quite the thing now, what with actresses like Gillian Anderson and Elisabeth Moss crossing the pond to headline various dramas (The Fall and Top of the Lake, respectively).

In this eight-part drama, Gyllenhaal stars as Nessa Stein, and the Academy Award nominee is joined by an all-star cast that includes The Shadow Line’s Stephen Rea, Doctor Who’s Lindsay Duncan, The White Queen’s Janet McTeer, Broadchurch’s Andrew Buchan, The IT Crowd’s Katherine Parkinson and many more.