E - hellofilmstudent@gmail.com
T- @FilmSSpace

Sunday, 6 February 2011

TV Battle Feature: The Brits Vs The Yanks

Hey people! Today I'm interested to know what you all think about some of the new USA shows that our based on our very own British programmes. For example, there are now American versions of Skins, Being Human and soon, The X Factor. Now I think the
USA version of The X Factor will be a great success and worth a watch, especially if Will Smith, Christina Aguilera, Cheryl Cole, Simon Cowell and many other rumoured names are a part of the show, but will it stay true to our version? Or will it become OTT and what I like to call 'Over-Americanized' like when our Pop Idol became American Idol?

Now form the trailers for the American Skins and Being Human I can tell they have stayed fairly true to our original story, characters and themes which is reassuring. However, in that case why not just watch our version? Are our dialects that hard to understand? Are our sayings that different? The UK version of Being Human has aired on BBC America so we are out there but it seems that an American remake of the show has been made anyway. Surely the idea of Being Human didn't need an American accent to emphasise it's theme? Then again, I think some American people (not all - disclaimer!) think being an American is something entirely different from being any other human being. Do we not all eat? Do we not all poo? Do we not all fear being shred apart by a wild wolf or massacred to death by a deadly vampire? Ok, well there are some Twi-Hards for example who would love to be massacred by a deadly vampire but you get the point. Does this mean we will see a French version of Being Human? Perhaps an Indian version? Because clearly, some Americans can't relate to the British ideals of this theme, or there wouldn't be a demand for the USA remake.

Let's look at Skins. Our version explores the most damaging views of British teens today. It's all teen issues laced with a negative over indulgent use of sex, drugs and alcohol is it not? Surely an exploration of American teens at their worst can't be that different to Britsh teens at our worst? Are we really that different?

So why are the American TV companies so keen to create these USA copies of our British shows? We don't remake a London Kensington version of Gossip Girl, 90210 or Melrose Place. Although perhaps this is more due to our countries differences in class divides? With no understanding of politics I'm not one to comment. Maybe I'm wrong. Would we like to see an exact version of these shows spoken in The Queen's English? Personally, I'd love to see a show with similar ideas as these rich teen American dramas, but I wouldn't like to see a simple remake. I would hope our British writers could come up with something more unique than just changing the programme's title zip code from 90210 to SW7.

Now admittedly we have taken inspiration from American shows, but we tend to create something entirely new with the concept, opposed to just a British version of the same show. Now there are some exceptions such as So You Think You Can Dance for example, and I do not deny this, but look at some of our own original shows that simply used inspiration from American shows, opposed to outright copying them. There's Spooks which is similar to 24, Mistresses which was similar to Desperate Housewives and Lip Service which is being enjoyed by fans of The L Word. I never watch these shows and think that character is Jack Bauer, that character is Susan Meyer and that character is Shane Mcutchen, although admittedly Frankie's haricut was a close copy to the fictional lesbian icon. Now maybe our characters haven't become quite as iconic, and our shows aren't quite as big and famous, but at least they are our shows, our ideas, our characters and our plots.

I guess the real issue is are we to blame for selling our shows abroad or are The States to blame for copying our ideas instead of simply being inspired by them? Or do you think no one is to blame and having multiple versions of the same programmes is a good idea? Personally, I would always rather watch an original show than a copy but let's see how hot these new American characters are before I decide whether or not to sell my TV soul...

No comments:

Post a Comment