British Remakes

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.

HBO's Newest British Remake: An American Version of Comedy "Getting On"

Another American version of a British series is headed to a television near you – though this one actually looks kind of entertaining. Possibly because it’s from HBO, which has already had some success adapting a British comedy for American audiences in their Emmy-winning Veep, which is a somewhat roundabout remake of political satire The Thick of It. (Honestly, the two shows are so different it feels strange to call Veep a remake, though they share a creator. But it seems fair to say it’s at least “inspired by” the British series..)

Next up, HBO is producing an American version of Getting On, the popular BBC Four comedy series about nurses working in a geriatric extended care wing of a National Health Service hospital. The US version will be comprised of six half-hour episodes, and will be set in a down-at-the-heels extended care facility in Long Beach, California. The comedy will star Roseanne’s Laurie Metcalf alongside Alex Borstein, Niecy Nash and Mel Rodriguez.

Watch the trailer for HBO’s new comedy below.

More Casting News for American ‘Broadchurch’: ‘Gracepoint’ Lands Anna Gunn and Jacki Weaver in Key Roles

British mystery series Broadchurch was one of the most critically and commercially successful British series of 2013 – earning rave reviews from virtually everyone, or so it seemed. So it’s not entirely surprising that a US television network is jumping on the bandwagon to remake the show for American audiences. There are an awful lot of American remakes of British television programs languishing in the dustbin of history, after all – for every The Office that finds its own voice and success, there are a dozen US versions of things like Skins, Life on Mars, Gavin and Stacey, The Inbetweeners, Prime Suspect and others that were abject failures.

Nevertheless, the story of the Broadchurch remake is an interesting one. FOX is working with Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall to put together the US version – which now looks set to be called Gracepoint – and has already tapped Doctor Who star David Tennant to reprise his role as DI Alec Hardy from the original British series. Now comes news that further casting decisions have been made about the series and, honestly, they sound pretty promising.

Read on for more.

David Tennant to Reprise Role in American Remake of 'Broadchurch'

Mystery series Broadchurch was one of the most buzzed-about dramas of 2013 on both sides of the pond –earning rave reviews from critics and fans alike. Therefore, it probably shouldn’t surprise many people that an American television network has already jumped on the chance to make a US version of the series. FOX is currently working with Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall, to craft an American remake of the eight-part drama. Chibnall will serve as the series’ executive producer, as well as write its first episode.

And now the American remake has gotten a bit closer to its British roots – TV Guide announced last week that David Tennant, star of the UK version of the series, will be reprising his role as the tortured lead detective assigned to investigate a devastating murder in a small town. Tennant, who is best known for his turn as the Tenth Doctor on Doctor Who, received high praise for his portrayal of a tortured divorcee put in charge of the investigation into the murder of a young boy. It’s being reported that Tennant’s lead investigator character in this American production will be virtually the same as UK version DI Alec Hardy, However, Tennant will apparently be doing an American accent for the FOX production, which makes a certain amount of sense, but still seems kind of strange at the same time. No other casting has been announced yet, but the choice of Tennant makes everything very interesting right out of the gate.

The First Trailer for the US Remake of The Inbetweeners is Here

MTV is yet again attempting to remake a popular British teen series for American audiences. Their version of E4’s The Inbetweeners is set to premiere on August 20 and the first trailer for this adaptation has officially arrived.

You should all know that I’m very, very fond of the original Inbetweeners, so the thought of anyone messing with it sort of makes me upset. (If you’ve never seen it, the original is legitimately hilarious, even if you occasionally do need a strong stomach or high tolerance for profanity to get through an episode.) To put it bluntly, the initial trailer does not give me a lot of high hopes for the quality of this remake, and I fear we are about to add yet another series to the list of attempted “Americanized” British shows that didn’t work at all.

Cilck through to take a look at the new MTV trailer for yourself as well as watch a clip from the original series, and then let’s have a chat about this whole “remake” thing.

NBC Really, Really Wants You to Try Their Prime Suspect Remake

NBC is doubling down (tripling down?) on their new Prime Suspect. If you’ve been curious to try the American remake, next week is going to be your chance. With the early demise of several of their new Fall offerings, the network is lining up a big push for the police drama heading into November sweeps. Repeats of Prime Suspect will air on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night next week, leading into the series’ regular Thursday broadcast.

If you're a British TV fan - should you try it? Well, maybe. But not because you loved the British version.

In all honesty, NBC’s Prime Suspect isn’t a terrible show. Yes, it has some issues (the relentless portrayal of every man on the police force as an obnoxiously sexist ogre is especially tiresome.) But, it’s well-acted, well-produced, and if detective/procedural shows are your thing, you could do a lot worse. The problem is, is that it isn’t Prime Suspect. Calling this series by the same name is not only, well, incorrect, but offers viewers no clue about what this series is actually going to offer them. British TV fans are no more likely to enjoy this show than anyone else, and will probably be predisposed to a let down once they actually try it out.

More after the jump!