8Ball Tees – Our Favourite American TV Remakes
This week in film sees the US release of The Inbetweeners Movie, over a year after the film’s initial success in UK cinemas. While our American cousins will get to see our misfit boys from Blighty as we did will the humour get lost in American-English translation?
Of course, if it does then US TV execs are giving it another shot with a brand new remake of the original series for US audiences. Although how much of the original series will be replicated remains to be seen… can they really remake ‘that’ day trip to Thorpe Park in, say, Disney World?
So let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ‘should be erased from living memory for ever’ (aka. ugly) of US remakes…
The Office: An American Workplace
One of the biggest remakes to hit US screens was when Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant took a lowly paper company from Slough with an eccentric and unconventional manager and morphed it into a lowly paper company from Scranton with an eccentric and unconventional manager. While the first series is almost a shot-for-shot, line-by-line remake, the second series onwards really finds it feet and comes out with some classic lines and is almost unrecognisable from its UK brethren.
A brand new cast were hired for the pilot although this clip of it shows that while many of the same dialogue and characters are still in place, the delivery of it all just seems way too off from the quick-witted original.
The IT Crowd
As with Spaced, The IT Crowd pilot was almost a carbon copy of the original, and Richard Ayoade even appeared in the ill fated first episode along with Joel McHale (of the brilliant Community) as Roy. Little bits of The IT Crowd’s almost surreal British humour try to sneak through, but it just doesn’t have the same likeability as the original. This wasn’t just a case of turning it on and off again to fix it…
Like with The IT Crowd, the US bigwigs in charge of the Red Dwarf remake tried to go with familiarity when casting the remake by having Robert Llewellyn return as Kryten… although Chris Barrie was said to refuse the chance to appear to avoid any connection with it. Thankfully though the series wasn’t picked up. I mean, could you imagine Lister in a New York Jets tee and not his London Jets t-shirt?
Finally we reach one of the newer remakes of our beloved UK shows to make it across the pond. When the trailer for the new series came out it’s fair to say that the response was mixed… as in a mix between poor and terrible. For us, it screams Superbad and other clichéd American frat-boy comedies but have a look yourself and see what you think!