The battle of the TV series: UK vs USA

[Laura Noakes | Deputy Editor]

There are plenty of successful shows here in the UK, and over in America. But what happens when we, or the USA, try to remake shows that are already successful?

1) The Office UK vs USA

The Office UK BBC
The Office UK (BBC)

The Office is one of those rare US/UK success stories. The UK original stared Ricky Gervais and Martin Freeman and ran for only two series before Gervais ended the show. It was heartwarmingly funny and seemed quintessentially British.

The Office US (NBC)
The Office US (NBC)

However, The Office US had the brilliant Steve Carell, who really made the character of Michael Scott his own as well as a host of other talented comedic actors. The Office US ran for 10 seasons and was a massive hit in both the UK and the US. And you can catch both series on Netflix if you want to see what all the fuss is about.

  1. Gavin and Stacey vs Us & Them
Gavin and Stacey (BBC)
Gavin and Stacey (BBC)

The original, very welsh, Gavin and Stacey was a runaway hit in the UK, spawning three series and a Christmas special. In fact, it was so popular that when the series came to an end, more than 12,000 people liked a Facebook page that demanded it be brought back to our television screens. The series starred Matthew Horne and Joanna Page as the long-distance lovers and how their relationship brought their families together.

Us & Them (FOX)
Us & Them (FOX)

So of course, there had to be a US remake. Re-titled Us & Them, it starred Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel as Gavin and Stacey. It doesn’t appear that much was changed from the UK original show, but we will never really know because Us & Them never got to air on TV – it was cancelled before it was even broadcast.

  1. The Voice US vs The Voice UK
The Voice US (NBC)
The Voice US (NBC)

The Voice US is a singing competition with a difference. Instead of judging competitors on their appearance, the judges can only hear their voice. If they like what they hear, they can turn around their chair. In the US, The Voice has been massive. The judging panel has featured Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Pharrell Williams and Usher, and millions regularly tune in to watch.

The Voice UK (BBC)
The Voice UK (BBC)

The Voice UK has not been a tremendous hit like its american counterpart. It’s competing against more established shows like The X Factor, and the judging panel seems to change every season. Yes, it’s still airing on BBC1 but can you name one of the winners of the past three series? I thought not.

  1. Broadchurch vs Gracepoint
Broadchurch (ITV)
Broadchurch (ITV)

Broadchurch was a massive hit for ITV. Starring Olivia Coleman and Doctor Who’s David Tennant, it followed the police investigation after a murder of an eleven year old boy. Suspenseful and mysterious, Broadchurch’s first season was a run-away success, with viewers desperate to know the identity of the murderer.

Gracepoint (FOX)
Gracepoint (FOX)

In the US, it was remade as Gracepoint. It followed largely the same plot, and even had David Tennant play the lead character again. Unfortunately, US audiences didn’t fall in love with Gracepoint the same way UK audiences fell in love with Broadchurch, and it was cancelled after one season.

  1. The Inbetweeners UK vs USA
The Inbetweeners (Channel 4)
The Inbetweeners (Channel 4)

The Inbetweeners was a massive hit in the UK, spanning three series and two movies. Following the very funny adventures of four teenage boys, it was unafraid to show the realities of life when you’ve not quite reached adulthood yet. It was puerile, witty, and sometimes quite heartwarming.

The Inbetweeners (MTV)
The Inbetweeners (MTV)

Cue US remake. Which was completely identical to the UK version. I am not kidding – sure there was some minor changes (bus wankers turned into bus turds) but apart from that it was exactly the same. There was some pretty brutal feedback from UK fans who were not happy with the US series, and MTV cancelled after one season. Yet another show that failed to capture both the US and the Uk’s hearts.

So all in all, it’s pretty safe to say that remakes of hit shows, either in the UK or the US don’t always work, Sure you’ll get some success stories, like The Office, but most re-makes of hit shows don’t go down that well. Maybe instead we should focus on creating more original TV, rather then re-making shows that are already a success story.

Who wins the TV battle?

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The battle of the TV series: UK vs USA