Network Issues

The land of the free and the home of quite a few good people. People who are intelligent, well read, witty, sarcastic and maybe more knowledgeable about cultures different to their own than I am.

Yes the land of Apple Pie and the cheeseburger. The United States of America. Loved and loathed in equal measure throughout the world. Where do other cultures get an impression of America? Well before the invention of the interweb that answer was undoubtably TV and Movies. The american police man to the rest of the world was a cross between Kojak and Dave Starsky. The american barman, Woody from Cheers. Every cabbie was somewhere between Andy Kaufman and Robert De Niro.

But where does America get it’s impression of the rest of the world? England for example. Pre-Gervais the Americans appeared to think that we were all either Hugh Grant or John Lennon the influence of film and music. But what about TV? Well this side of BBC America UK TV doesn’t get shown. Shows that are successful here, get re-made and Americanised for that market. “Steptoe and Son”, became “Sanford and Son”, “Til death do us part” became “All in the Family” more recently “Life on Mars” became a US TV car crash that bared no resemblance to the wonderful UK series.

News today that CBS are planning a modern take on Sherlock Holmes. Well to quote Steven Mofatt.

Why do American TV execs feel the need to remake? Looking at this short list of shows that have gone the other way the only things we appear to remake are quiz shows, which makes sense because who wants to see Yolanda from NYC win $100,000 when you are having a brew in Peckham. We don’t remake Cheers and stick a guy called Barry Malone who used to be a fast bowler for Kent in charge of a east end pub. We show the original. (Incidentally where the hell is the rest of the series for DVD release in the UK)

UK network execs seem to believe that UK audiences have the intelligence to be aware of and translate any Americanisms in these shows. They also know that. getting real for a second, to buy a show is cheaper than re-making UK Cheers or a UK ER or a UK Family Guy but it would lose something. Just as another wonderful Mofatt creation “Coupling” lost all the subtlety in the ill fated US network run. A UK “Friends” it was not. Note to US TV execs.. at the very least please leave Doctor Who alone, you made a mess last time.

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