Thursday 21 November 2019

House of Payne: The US remakes That Flopped

MTV's 'Skins USA'.
MTV's 'Skins USA'.
A scene from 'Gracepoint', the US remake of 'Broadchurch'.
The cast of the US version of 'Life On Mars'.
A scene from 'Payne', the US version of 'Fawlty Towers'.

Broadchurch

Part of the charm of the original was its creepy setting along England's Devon Coast. Relocated to northern California, with original star David Tenant along for the ride, the American remake - rechristened Gracepoint - felt like a wan retread, though its final twist arguably closed the story on a more satisfyingly bleak note.

Life On Mars

A love letter to seventies Britain, it surely wasn't a surprise that the BBC drama should come unstuck transplanted to New York. From the underwhelming to the ridiculous, Life On Mars USA's single season finished on a ludicrous note, as it was revealed the central character was in hibernation aboard a spaceship bound for, you guessed it, Mars.

Skins

A tale of chavs and chancers, there was little shock when a sanitised American tilt at the Channel 4 smash "didn't connect" - as network MTV put it - with US viewers.

Fawlty Towers

Another distinctly British show that fell to pieces wrenched from its original setting. A disaster from the beginning, only eight episodes of Payne - as the remake was called - ever aired. It was cancelled within a month and is unavailable on DVD. YouTube footage confirms we are not missing anything ("my eyes they bleed" observed one commentator).

Cold Feet

The Seattle-located remake of the Manchester couples drama was pulled from the airwaves after setting a record for the lowest ratings ever in NBC's plum Friday night 10pm slot.

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