Goodbye Free Agents, Hello Suburban Shootout?


Goodbye, Free Agents

The news this week out of Hollywood of the cancellation of the U.S. remake of the Channel 4 comedy, Free Agents, sadly, was not unexpected. I guess, however, in the grand scheme of American commercial television remakes of British comedies, it should be considered a mild success. After all, it did make it through four episodes. If I remember correctly, NBC’s remake of Coupling lasted only three episodes before it left the air. Not even a last ditch Twitter campaign by the great Hank Azaria could save the series from its’ early dismissal. It really never stood a chance, partly due to the fact that it was throw to the wolves to survive up against both The X Factor and Survivor.

If you get a chance, seek out the British version which stars Stephen Mangan (Green Wing, Episodes, Dirk Gently), Sharon Horgan and Anthony Head (Buffy, Manchild). With no knock towards Azaria and co-star, Kathryn Hahn, the British version is just plain funnier. Could the series have survived on a premium cable outlet like HBO or Showtime, maybe. It’s sad to think that the elimination of the decidedly bluer humor that is more prevalent in the UK version could be the reason for the cancellation. Given the storyline that revolves around two emotionally unstable talent agents who seem to be both comforted and disgusted with each other in and out of the bedroom, it certainly is a possibility.

Hello, Suburban Shootout

You’d think rival ABC would learn from the recent NBC news. Unfortunately not, as word is that the network has put in development a possible remake of the satirical black British comedy that centers around a woman who leaves London with her policeman husband in search of the idyllic country life. She soon discovers there are two rival gangs of housewives, who turn to weaponry and intimidation as a way of dealing with crime and antisocial behavior in the community of Little Stempington.

Unfortunately, the combination of weaponry and intimidation leads to extortion, racketeering, coercion and threats to local businesses and residents of the town, not quite Joyce’s idea of the quiet country life. The original Suburban Shootout was really well-done. Unfortunately, subsequent seasons became co-productions with American television partners and it jumped the shark pretty quick.

Even though Suburban Shootout was always referred to as the British Desperate Housewives, it will not fill ABC’s huge Desperate Housewives void. Just ask NBC.