Sunday, 19 December 2010

Do you know what makes me angry?

I mean really REALLY seethingly pissed off? Makes me sick to my stomach? American remakes of british television shows.

Yeah you read that properly.

I've just read that there's a possibility of  Misfits being remade for american audiences and it makes me want to cry, throw up and punch a random american person. Not necessarily in that order. Misfits is one of my favourite shows at the moment, not only is it (in my mind) named after one of my favourite bands, but it's about a group of, for want of a better word, chavs. Yeah chav culture annoys me but these chavs have character depth which is more than the ones I actually know have. Anyway, these chavs are all on community service when they get hit by a storm and get super powers. Lets see what wikepedia has to say about it...

"Misfits follows five early-20s delinquents on community service in Wertham who are caught outside during a thunder storm and acquire special powers. Kelly gains the ability to read the thoughts of others, Curtis can rewind time when experiencing an immense sense of regret, Alisha sends people into a sexual frenzy when they touch her skin, and Simon can become invisible. Seemingly left unaffected is smart alec Nathan who, in the final episode of the first series, discovers he is immortal."

Yeah that about sums it up.  It's an awesome show and the one liners and over-blown yet seemingly plausible sitations always have me on the edge of my seat with my hands over my mouth stiffling down giggles or shock. The episode I watched last night had me almost in tears for example. Britiain doesn't have a lot going for it anymore, most of the world can see what a hellhole it's turning into, especially the way it's becoming a police state, yet the one thing that shines out like a beacon is british writing, especially on shows like this. Brits have a way of creating characters that the audience can really identify with. We can understand how they feel when an undesirable situation comes along, we can laugh with them and we cry with them.

Misfits isn't the only show that may be getting a makeover however. Another british classic Being Human is apparently being remade, this show, about a ghost, a vampire (the good old fashion blood drinking murderous kind, not the shiny emo fairy kind) and a werewolf are all trying to live normal lives in suburbia without being discovered, is another example of fantastic british writing. I have followed this show since the begining and I am eagerly awaiting the 3rd series, especially after the ending of the 2nd. Both of these shows, if done right, could be a hit in america and possibly be more successful than they have been over here, however if done wrong, they could end up like the remake of Life On Mars, which apparently bombed abysmally. To be honest I was thrilled when it didn't work, the entire concept of Life on Mars was far too british to ever succeed. We seem to forget that although we speak the same language and we share a lot of the same brands, America and Britain are two very different places with very different cultures and writing a story about a chav with superpowers may not be understood over there as it is over here, thats not to say that the americans wont get it or that they're not smart, I'm just saying that a chav is a british invention and we understand entirely what they are and how they behave. I just don't think that it will carry over well. The failing that Life On Mars had was that it was also too british. The character of Gene Hunt, for example, was a typical mancunian 70's copper. In the first series it's shown how he takes bribes, drinks on the job and isn't afraid of "roughing up" a suspect for information. His character changes throughout Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes (the final 3 series which were set in the 80's) and he stops taking bribes, stops drinking on the job... you see the other side of him and you see his insecurities and you (particularly if you're female) fall a little bit in love with him. This is a fantastic example of british writing at it's best. The show didn't go over well in america because they have a different kind of law enforcement over there. To use more shows as an example, where we had The Sweeney, they had Starskey and Hutch. Very different.

Ocasionally you'll get a british show remade for american audiences that turns out to be a hit. The Office was never that popular over here but it seems to have really taken off over in the states and the few bits I've seen with Steve Carrel in it have actually been quite amusing. However office humour IS something that can be carried over, chav culture and old fashion policing however, cannot. I am also worrying about another show that I love, The Inbetweeners.

The Inbetweeners follows the life of posh teenager Will, and three of his non-posh friends, Simon, Jay and Neil, as they learn (by experience mostly) about actions and consequences, life and love. It's cringe making, it's uncomfortable and it's funny as hell. I'm having trouble working out how that can be taken over the pond without losing any of it's core Inbetweeners-ness.

I know I should be optimistic about these shows being remade for America but it just gets to me that they have to be remade at all! I mean surely America has enough tv shows to be getting on with, they don't need any of ours! They don't need to keep remaking everything as it comes out for us, they grabbed and destroyed good films like Death At A Funeral and Let The Right One In and there was no need to. Let The Right One In was a 2008/2009 film and didn't need to be remade so quickly. I mean yeah ok, it had subtitles but surely thats not a bad thing?

In my opinion these shows should be shown in America as they are. No remakes. If we can get the american sense of humour (Friends, Big Bang Theory, My Name Is Earl...) then surely they can get our sense of humour? By remaking everything it makes us assume that americans are stupid, dumb or worse. It does no favours to anyone. I know that the majority of America is intelligent, I know that they're not all god fearing hillbillies who cant hold down jobs and sit on the lawn all day eating alligator meat and polishing their shotguns. I know this, but the current craze of remaking every damned film or tv show that Britian or even Europe makes is starting to make me doubt what I know. So come on america, prove me wrong.

And now I have one thing left to say.

America, keep your hands off my television.