It’s safe to say most of us were surprised to tune into the US Office a few years back and discover it was… actually really good.
We thought Ricky Gervais’s David Brent could never be topped, but Steve Carell made the main role his own, and the US version of the BBC hit has been a huge success.
However… this isn’t always the case with US remakes. In fact, the famous British sense of humour rarely translates well over in the states, and most remakes fail to last longer than a season at best.
The Office aside, the majority turn out to be unmitigated disasters, and it begs the question – why bother remaking them at all when the originals are so good?
Remind yourself of the worst US remakes of UK shows below:
Just look at how bad the trailer for The Inbetweeners remake is. Go on, look.
The brilliant teen comedy became E4’s greatest ever success when it arrived in 2008, but the US remake turned it purely into an American Pie style gross-out comedy and totally ruined it. It was cancelled after one season, obviously.
The IT Crowd
UK viewers were surprised to see Richard Ayoade had returned for the US remake of The IT Crowd, but less surprised to see that the pilot for the show was unsuccessful and was never turned into a series. Community star Joel McHale also appeared in the pilot, and judging by the clip above, it was almost remade frame for frame – so what’s the point?
Take the most famous British comedy of the last 50 years and remake it in the US – what could possibly go wrong? 1973 US series The Real Guard took Captain Mainwaring and the gang and reimagined them as members of an American Civil Defense unit. As you can imagine, it was really, really, really bad.
Coming of age comedy drama Skins proved a huge hit in the UK, and the remake proved a huge flop over in the US. TV fans in the States never got on board with the remake of the Channel 4 favourite, and it was cancelled after just one unsuccessful season.
Bea Arthur’s ill-advised show Amanda’s By The Sea took the classic John Cleese comedy and moved it from Torquay to the States. It also completely misunderstood the appeal of the original, and removed all the interesting idiosyncrasies in favour of broader comic chops. The really staggering thing is, some television exec in the US actually thought this would be a good idea.