MI5 – Do we really need an American version?


Spoiler Alert: For those of you that find yourself shying away from really fast rides at carnivals and fairs these days because of a weak stomach, please be advised you shouldn’t read any further.

On the heels of the news of an upcoming Top Gear USA and possible American versions of both Doctor Who and Torchwood comes this news from the ABC Television Network. I have now come to the realization that there are no new ideas out there in the world of broadcast television in America. Even the casual reader to this blog will know how I feel about the brilliant MI5 (Spooks in the UK). And, probably, you really know how I feel about attempts by American television producers to re-make British television series. Insert Life On Mars, Red Dwarf, Spaced, Coupling and Fawlty Towers here.

Simply put, for my money, there is not a better drama series on the air from sign-on to sign-off than MI5. Others in the neighborhood such as The Shield, are generally on cable television networks. Broadcast networks do good comedy. I’m open for anyone to convince me otherwise, but they just don’t get it right when it comes to drama.

For now, I will rest with the knowledge that season 9 of MI5 is currently in production and set for a late Fall premiere on the BBC with a mid-2011 broadcast on many public television stations nationwide.


  • Lisa C.

    No. Gracious! People here should just stop trying to replicate excellence.

  • Dylan S.

    Please, no! It’s going to be nowhere as awesome as the orignial

    • Dylan: Unfortunately, or fortunately, we have history on our side that says it doesn’t stand a chance of being anywhere near the level of the original.

  • edith

    Thanks KERA, without you airing, there are no great shows on the telly like MI-5, Waking the Dead, BBC Masterpiece and New Tricks. Will you be getting the Hustle? more Inspector Linley? more Fowley’s War?

    • Edith: Definitely Hustle in January 2011. Will check on Lynley, etc. and let you know.

  • Tex

    Haven’t we had this before? I thought “The Agency” was a pretty good show, until CBS canned it. If we must have ANOTHER spy show, why not bring that back?

  • John Freeman

    What is the show Life on Mars?

    • John: From the producers of MI5, it’s the story of a 21st century Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) who is hit by a car and wakes up in 1973 in the lower rank of Detective Inspector (DI). Story revolves our him not knowing if he has died, gone mad, in a coma or what as he tries to either wake up or get back to 2006. Was briefly re-made for American television this past year with Harvey Keitel but ran only one season and was cancelled. Hope you check it out.

  • Lynn

    Pleeeez NO! It would be as horrible as Being Human USA.

    • @Lynn: Fortunately, I have heard no more about this at this point. Did not see any of the Being Human USA series and have no interest. Have two episodes left to watch from season 3 of the UK Being Human. Can’t bring myself to watch as I know what happens, but also know it will be another year before season 4 comes out. Maybe I’ll watch one every six months to spread it out until S4 starts.

  • Kenegbert3rd

    A Yank nods in, if I may.  Now that SPOOKS has been retired, I applaud ABC-TV in the USA for not doing an American version.  When the best we can manage on this side of the Pond any longer is something like HOUSE, M.D. (not a bad show at all, just not top-notch like many Brit television programs such as NEW TRICKS, DOCTOR WHO, A HOUSE OF CARDS, COLLISION, TRAFFIK, PAGE EIGHT…) or FRINGE, I simply don’t think that there are writers who could hold up an American version.  I also wonder if there is an American audience large enough for a series as British as SPOOKS was.  At one point, for example, in one of the SPOOKS middle seasons, a Home Secretary mentions someone named ‘Burgess’; one would have to know that ‘Burgess’ was the surname of the MI6 officer who turned Kim Philby.  In an earlier season, we see the Harry Pearce character at a dog racing track in Walthamstow.  I can see many American viewers objecting to the seeming ‘cruelty’ of dog racing.  Last example: in a very early season an MI5 officer takes a man he’s guarding to Lords for a few cricket pitches.  Americans have no understanding of cricket. To make a SPOOKS  in the US you’d have to make it about the FBI or it would be too esoteric.  Equally, the short shelf life of the characters would grate on the American need to have all righted again by the last commercial.  Oh, yes, let’s not skip the occasional American CIA bad guy, which might not play well either!  No, let SPOOKS vanish into archive as one of the best television programs ever, and have done.  Kudos to KUDOS, the production company. Let’s see if their next program, NEMESIS, is as well-wrought.

  • Kenegbert3rd

    A Yank nods in, if I may.  Now that SPOOKS has been retired, I applaud ABC-TV in the USA for not doing an American version.  When the best we can manage on this side of the Pond any longer is something like HOUSE, M.D. (not a bad show at all, just not top-notch like many Brit television programs such as NEW TRICKS, DOCTOR WHO, A HOUSE OF CARDS, COLLISION, TRAFFIK, PAGE EIGHT…) or FRINGE, I simply don’t think that there are writers who could hold up an American version.  I also wonder if there is an American audience large enough for a series as British as SPOOKS was.  At one point, for example, in one of the SPOOKS middle seasons, a Home Secretary mentions someone named ‘Burgess’; one would have to know that ‘Burgess’ was the surname of the MI6 officer who turned Kim Philby.  In an earlier season, we see the Harry Pearce character at a dog racing track in Walthamstow.  I can see many American viewers objecting to the seeming ‘cruelty’ of dog racing.  Last example: in a very early season an MI5 officer takes a man he’s guarding to Lords for a few cricket pitches.  Americans have no understanding of cricket. To make a SPOOKS  in the US you’d have to make it about the FBI or it would be too esoteric.  Equally, the short shelf life of the characters would grate on the American need to have all righted again by the last commercial.  Oh, yes, let’s not skip the occasional American CIA bad guy, which might not play well either!  No, let SPOOKS vanish into archive as one of the best television programs ever, and have done.  Kudos to KUDOS, the production company. Let’s see if their next program, NEMESIS, is as well-wrought.