Equal time: Failed British re-makes of American telly


If you been with Tellyspotting as a P1 since day one or if you have joined the conversation at any point over the course of the last three years you are probably acutely aware of my lack of tolerance for poorly done American television remakes of British television output. This holds true mostly in the comedy and drama genres as one can’t really argue with the American versions of the likes of Antiques Roadshow or any of the unscripted reality re-makes such as Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, etc. They are what they are…

That said, it never dawned on me that when the tables are turned, the track record is not much different when you look at UK attempts to re-make American situation comedies that were considered quite popular from an audience standpoint. Here are a four examples I found to easily illustrate my point….

Days Like These (That 70’s Show in the U.S.)
 

 
The Fosters (Good Times in the U.S.) with a young Lenny Henry!
 

 
Married for Life (Married with Children) with Downton Abbey‘s Hugh Bonneville!
 

 
The Brighton Belles (Golden Girls in the U.S.) with Wendy Craig from Butterflies!
 

 
I rest my case. I’m sure there have been exceptions to the rule just as there have been with American re-makes of British television but other than Law and Order UK, I haven’t found any.

  • As an American who enjoys British TV more than our own, it’s a shame that the good shows here are not exported. Shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Homeland are limited run shows, hence they are quality. It’s also sad, that sitcoms seem to be what is exported. Most of those are barely watchable when new, let alone when stale. Interesting article. Keep up the fine work.

    • did He say ”Splonge”?

      Similarly, I am locked in on classic Brit-coms far more than the classic or current ”Am-coms”. Perhaps its more difficult for the British to ”spruce up” American sit-coms in order to entertain their audiences than it is for the American writers to ”dumb down” those Brit-coms so their audiences can comprehend it.

  • Rich H.

    As an American who enjoys British TV more than our own, it’s a shame that the good shows here are not exported. Shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Homeland are limited run shows, hence they are quality. It’s also sad, that sitcoms seem to be what is exported. Most of those are barely watchable when new, let alone when stale. Interesting article. Keep up the fine work.