American Remakes of British TV Showsby IMDb-Editors | last updated - 10 months ago
Some of the best US TV shows started life in the UK. Check out a selection of British shows that were adapted for American audiences, with mixed results. – Michael Rosser
This teen drama caused controversy when it launched in 2007 for its frank depiction of the lives of these racy youngsters. Running for 61 episodes across seven seasons, it launched the careers of actors including Dev Patel (Lion), Kaya Scodelario (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), and Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road), who had previously been seen in About a Boy.
MTV’s 2011 remake was canceled after 10 episodes as a result of falling ratings. Like the British original, the show portrayed minors indulging in a hedonistic lifestyle, sparking a call from the Parents Television Council to launch a federal investigation into the show. Several advertisers withdrew support in the wake of the scandal.
"The Office" (UK)
This groundbreaking comedy was a sleeper hit when it launched in 2001, only generating an audience when the first series was repeated. Running for just 14 episodes, it is now regarded as one of the best British sitcoms in television history and launched the careers of Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman ("Sherlock"), and Stephen Merchant (Logan) among others.
Armando Iannucci, creator of "The Thick of It," turned to HBO after a remake of his British show – also titled “The Thick of It" – failed to make it beyond pilot stage. "Veep," starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, has picked up 17 Primetime Emmy Awards since its debut in 2012. Iannucci stepped down as showrunner after four seasons.
Another classic comedy of the 1970s, Ronnie Barker starred as veteran convict ‘Fletch’ alongside new fish Godber, played by Richard Beckinsale (father of Kate Beckinsale). It ran for three seasons, comprising 20 episodes, from 1974 to 1977, and moved to the big screen with Porridge (aka Doing Time).
"On the Rocks" (US)
Rick Hurst starred as old con Cleaver, incurred in Alamesa minimum security prison, who takes a newcomer under his wing. It lasted just one season of 24 episodes from 1975 to 1976. Hurst would go on to play Cletus in "The Dukes of Hazzard" and took a starring role in another short-lived remake – "Fawlty Towers" adaptation "Amanda’s."
Robert Pastorelli took on the role of criminal psychologist Gerry 'Fitz' Fitzgerald in this remake, in which the original ‘cracker’ Robbie Coltrane appeared as a villain for one episode. The series, which ran for one season of 16 episodes from 1997 to 1998, also starred a young Josh Hartnett and – in the first episode, as seen here – Mariska Hargitay, who would go on to star in more than 400 episodes of "Law and Order: SVU."
"Ab Fab" (US)
Although the British version was known in the U.S., FOX commissioned a pilot based on "Absolutely Fabulous" in 2009, starring Kathryn Hahn ("Transparent"), Kristen Johnston ("3rd Rock from the Sun"), and Zosia Mamet ("Girls"). Despite the talented cast, the show never made it to series.
"This Life" (UK)
This critically acclaimed drama centered on five twentysomething law graduates embarking upon their careers while sharing a house in London. It ran for two seasons in 1997 and 1997, and included future "Walking Dead" star Andrew Lincoln. One notable aspect was its Britpop soundtrack, assembled by a then-unknown Ricky Gervais.