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The American Remakes of British TV: Why Do They Keep Doing It?

E. "Doc" Smithbyline‚ Feb. 01‚ 2013

The American TV industry's attempt to duplicate the success of many of England's greatest TV shows by remaking them has met with less than stellar results. "The Office" is about the best of the lot and a rare exception. NBC's "Prime Suspect", and ABC's "Life on Mars" didn't fare well. Hollywood's recent version of "State of Play", met a similar fate. CBS has ventured into the world of Sherlock Holmes with "Elementary", (even recasting Watson as a woman), but honestly, the BBC's "Sherlock" is the best contemporary TV Holmes made to date, and their "Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" with the late Jeremy Brett were masterpieces. Now comes Netflix's "House of Cards", a remake of the classic BBC series starring the late Ian Richardson as the evil Sir Francis Urquhart, aka "F.U."

Now I love Kevin Spacey, and Robin Wright, but once you've seen the BBC's original trilogy including, "To Play the King" and "The Final Cut", you know it's going to be difficult to pull this off. The intrigue, the inner workings of Parliament, the uniquely British music and filming, the era in which it took place, and some of England's best actors and actresses made it a classic. Translating it to America, the White House, the State Department, and recreating the characters is simple enough, but are there no original stories out there to be told, or will we continue to see a trend of these films, films that are often shadows of the originals?