U.S. broadcast networks have struck again and will try to mine a bit of UK gold with the announcement that the Fox network has ordered a pilot of the British comedy sitcom, Gavin & Stacey. This will be the second attempt at a U.S. version with the first being the 2009 ill-fated ABC version. Ill-fated from the outset given that the first attempt was not to be written by its British creators, James Corden and Ruth Jones, but instead, the writing duties would be by U.S. sitcom writers of According to Jim.
The British romantic comedy, about Gavin (Mathew Horne), a boy from England, and Stacey, a girl from Wales (Joanna Page) who fall in love over the phone, focuses on the situations that arise when their relationship brings their two differing families together. The newest Fox incarnation almost makes me feel a bit like Lloyd Christmas when he says “…So you’re telling me there’s a chance” to Mary Swanson. There is a chance that this won’t fall into the bottomless barrel of failed U.S. remakes along with Life on Mars, Red Dwarf, The IT Crowd, Coupling, AbFab and Fawlty Towers to name a few. The reason is that creators and stars James Corden and Ruth Jones will serve as executive producers on the American project with Henry Normal, executive producer of the UK version, who will fulfil the same role on the Fox remake.
That said, I’ll be interested to see how this can possibly translate to a U.S. audience given that much of the series storyline centers around two individuals and their families who come from decidedly different parts the United Kingdom. Just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it if Gavin is from Chicago and Stacey is from neighboring Milwaukee. Having the UK creators involved will help but writing and casting are still the biggest reason that U.S. remakes have not succeeded in the past. It’s going to be really difficult to duplicate the greatness of Rob Brydon along with others in both families.
Time will tell whether or not Gavin & Stacey can make the leap across the pond along with other upcoming UK comedies scheduled for American network remakes such as Whites and Spy. For now, let’s leave it that I’m not betting the farm on any of them just yet. You?