Friday, January 21, 2011

The US And Their Remakes

Or I was going to say - Jesus, America, Can't You Think For Yourselves? In the last fortnight the UK versions of these shows have been promoted/are back on screen and their American versions have also hit the airwaves, so what's done well?

Being Human: I was cautiously optimistic about this series. The cast looked great, the tone was promising and while the trailers were hardly breathtaking, I actually thought this would translate well with an American take. Guess what? I was kind of right. Not only has it done it extremely well for SyFy but I actually managed to sit through the entire first episode without constantly comparing it to the UK series. Some of the changes were nice - particularly the addition of a gay sister for Josh and the trio themselves - Aidan, Josh and Sally were all likeable. I might not be as emotionally invested in them yet as much as I am with Mitchell, George, Annie and Nina but if this series keeps up to the high standards of the opening episode, I could be. And Bishop is certainly a great villain. Marcus, not so much.

Shameless: For Irish viewers, this starts on RTE2, 9.55pm from January 27th (amazing, considering that channel's inability to air the UK version up to date) and after watching the pilot, it lacks the charm of the UK version. The casting's good, but William H. Macy really does have his work cut out because he's the weakest of the bunch but the storylines in the opener don't play out as compellingly as the UK series and the anarchaic spirit isn't as felt in it either. The acting's fine though, so hopefully it'll improve as it progresses and it must be decent enough if both Joan Cusack and Alison Janney are playing the Sheila and Monica roles in this one.

Skins: I really wanted to like this one and I partially didn't mind it, but it seems that this one will definitely get the axe if the Parents Television Council get their way. Bryan Elsley has done his damndest to try and make this work, but the acting's bloody patchy at best. None of the male cast members are particularly good and Tony is a rather unconvincing ringmaster in this one. Tea so far has the most potential as a character and I'm looking forward to her episode but overall, the UK version is starting next week with Generation 3 and chances are, that will be much better to watch.

So, predictions - Being Human is likely to get a second year but both Shameless and Skins have hardly wowed with ratings and the controversy with the latter could actually do it a lot of harm. Also MTV have their own version of The Inbetweeners due for later in the year and I have a feeling that someone will try to tackle Misfits within the next year as well. Oh, America - when will you ever learn?


Paul Kelly said...

My main gripe is that Skins US seems nothing more than a scene for scene remake of the UK show with some altered dialogue. At least Being Human had the courage to take the framework and then do it's own thing. What's the point of Skins US if it's just the same show as Skins UK with all the cultural references removed? I enjoyed it... but that was because I enjoyed episode one of the original series. It was like watching a repeat drunk.

shawnlunn2002 said...

From what I've been reading, Bryan Elsley does intend to deviate from the UK series but not at first. Both the Tony and Chris are supposed to be exactly what we got with the UK versions but Tea and everyone elses are different apparently. Then again if the PTC get their own way, this show might not be on the air long enough to do it's own thing but I do get where you're coming from.

Being Human was definitely the strongest US remake so far and here's hoping it continues to impress.

Paul Kelly said...

I find it puzzling that the PTC are complaining at all. The show has hardly any swearing in it, when there is it's bleeped out, and there's no nudity. I know it's MTV but come on America! They'd likely shit their pants if they saw Misfits or The Inbetweeners.

shawnlunn2002 said...

They're just a bunch of overreacting zealots. Never mind MTV's version of Skins, they'd lose the plot if they ever saw the UK one.

I am dreading to see who will give Misfits a US makeover.

Paul Kelly said...

If Skins US bombs I can't see MTV going ahead with their remake of The Inbetweeners. So I'm not holding out much hope for Misfits US. I'm not sure MTV is the right home for this kind of stuff.