Leave the British (Television) Alone

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Recently I saw a long preview commercial of NBC’s [The Office], which premieres in March. The original version, which you can watch on [BBCAmerica] or on [DVD], is a very hilarious comedy, with uncomfortable comments and silences being an important part of its charm. I don’t think the American version can compare, but I am just basing this on what I saw in the commercial. Then again, there is past evidence that translating shows from BBCAmerica hasn’t worked before:

  • [Coupling] is a smartly written comedy about a couple and their friends. Sexual frankness is part of the reason for it’s success, and it’s lack of frankness might have been why it failed in translating in it’s American version on [NBC]. Other people’s comments on the [Coupling differences].
  • [What Not To Wear] is a much better show than it’s [TLC] counterpart. On BBCAmerica it is a half-hour show with two women helping out those who are inept when it comes to fashion/style. On TLC it is an excruciating hour of annoying hosts trying to help others. As you can tell I’m not a fan of the TLC hosts. They just don’t have personality and lack the same frankness that the BBC hosts do. I know there are only a few shows of the BBC version, but it is a much better show overall.
  • [Changing Rooms] had a change of titles when it made it’s way across the Atlantic. Over here its American counterpart is called [Trading Spaces]. Trading Spaces is the most successful translation of the BBC shows I’ve mentioned. Some of the designers I enjoy (Vern and Genevieve), but again the BBC version has a better overall feel to me.