It's often been said that "if it isn't broke, don't fix it." However, sometimes Hollywood needs a little creativity when coming up with ideas for shows. Therefore, it seeks inspiration from across the Atlantic -- the United Kingdom -- and, sometimes, in Australia. (The U.S. remake of Kath and Kim starring Molly Shannon and Selma Blair?) Unfortunately, when the U.S. television creators try to do this, it comes across as unoriginal. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule: The Office (original creator and star Ricky Gervais is involved in the U.S. version), Sanford and Son -- which was based off the hit BBC sitcom Steptoe and Son, All in the Family (the UK original is called Till Death Do Us Part) and even Three's Company.
Likewise, British television also borrows from U.S. television -- such as the recent remake of Law & Order. Still, there are some British sitcoms that should remain untouched.
Absolutely Fabulous Comedienne Jennifer Saunders is one of the funniest women in the history of television. Saunders stars as Edina Monsoon -- a self-absorbed, wild party-going, wealthy public relations agent and single mother of straitlaced Saffy Monsoon (played by Julia Sawalha). Patsy Stone (played by Joanna Lumley) is the drug-addicted, hard-partying best friend of Edina.
The U.S. version would be an absolute disaster mainly because, for starters, there is no way the humor would get past the FCC. Also, it would take away some of the biting British humor that makes the show great in the first place -- such as whenever Saffy insults Patsy and tells her that she looks "like a sad reject from Ready, Steady, Go." (a popular BBC live music show from the 1960s)
There have been many attempts to remake Absolutely Fabulous into a U.S. sitcom, including one created by Roseanne Barr and starring Carrie Fisher. Another remake was announced in 2008, this one starring 3rd Rock from the Sun's Kristen Johnston as Patsy Stone, but FOX decided to not commission a full series.
Spaced Spaced is about two friends, Tim Bisley and Daisy Steiner, who meet at a cafe and are on a search for a flat. However, the flat they want has one minor contractual caveat -- they must be a "professional couple." So Tim and Daisy come up with a plan: pretend to be a "professional couple."
However, what makes this sitcom interesting is that it uses the characters' imagination -- which makes it rather vivid. But it doesn't really translate well due to the references to American pop culture being done by the characters, who are London residents. (A prime example of this would be when Daisy refers to The Dukes of Hazzard.) Also, we have already had one rapid-fire dialogue show that uses pop culture references: Gilmore Girls. We do not need another.
There were talks of a remake in 2007, but the project was ultimately abandoned in 2008 due to negative reaction from both the fans and creators. Furthermore, according to The Guardian, the stars and creators of the show had even expressed their disapproval of a U.S. remake, including co-creator Jessica Hynes going as far as warning American viewers not to watch the U.S. version on her own blog.
The IT Crowd The IT Crowd is a show for the geek in all of us. It's about two IT workers, Roy Trenneman (played by Bridesmaids Chris O'Dowd) and Maurice Moss, and their new manager, the beautiful Jen Barber. One problem: Jen is computer-illiterate. The series follows her and the IT department as she tries to manage the department as well as the shenanigans of Roy and Maurice. Essentially, it's sort of like The Office meets The Big Bang Theory.
The show would not work for U.S. television, at least right now, because there are too many nerd-centric sitcoms (such as The Big Bang Theory, Community, etc.) already. It would saturate the market.
There have been talks of a U.S. remake for NBC as well as an actual pilot filmed. However, NBC canceled the project.
The Vicar of Dibley The Vicar of Dibley stars comedienne Dawn French as the Reverend Boadicea Geraldine Granger, the first female Church of England vicar in the fictional village of Dibley in Oxfordshire.
The Vicar of Dibley wouldn't translate well into a U.S. sitcom because it might be seen as a mockery of an aspect of life that some Americans cherish. One of the biggest worries would be the possibility that the writers might rely too heavily on stereotypes of churchgoers: the highly conservative evangelical, the sheltered child (or teenager) and more.
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According to the British newspaper The Daily Mail, in 2007, FOX was slated to air the pilot of an American remake of the show called The Minister of Divine, starring Kirstie Alley. However, they gave the character the background of a former rebellious woman-turned-minister in Georgia. The show wasn't picked up for the 2007-2008 season.
Red Dwarf Red Dwarf is a sci-fi comedy that takes place aboard the Red Dwarf mining spaceship. The gang includes a ragtag crew consisting of Dave Lister -- the last known human man (and self-professed great guitar player), who was previously held in stasis for only 3 million years; Arnold Rimmer -- Dave's old bunkmate and frequent target of other crew members' pranks; the Cat -- a humanoid descendent of Dave's old house cat Frankenstein, and more.
One of the best things about Red Dwarf is the humor. It's silly humor albeit with an ongoing story. Though there was an attempt to make a U.S. version of Red Dwarf starring Jan Levees (of Frasier fame) in 1992 for NBC, it was not picked up by the network despite numerous rewrites.
Red Dwarf shouldn't be remade into a U.S. sitcom because it already has a cult following in the United States. So what would be the point in remaking something that is already popular?