(RE)MADE IN AMERICA
The American entertainment media was abuzz this week with the news that MTV is planning a remake of Skins for American television. Meanwhile, rumors persist about an American remake of the Victorian-era miniseries Tipping the Velvet starring Beyoncé, despite no evidence to support either the project or the casting choice; Alan Ball has the rights to an American version of the long-running British prison drama Bad Girls (although it’s on the back-burner right now); and Lifetime developed an American version of Mistresses starring Holly Marie Combs, among others, but it never made it past pilot stage.
Opinions vary as to whether these and other British series even should be American-ized. There are examples to support both sides: on the "yes" side, we have The Office and Queer as Folk. On the "no" side we have Coupling and almost every other British series we’ve attempted to remake in the U.S.
So I thought I would put it to a vote — which British series with lesbian/bi characters do you most want to see made in America, and which would you definitely not?
Update: There seems to be some confusion in the comments. I’m not suggesting there should be American remakes of any British shows, or that there’s anything wrong with the British versions (quite the contrary). Debating the merits of remaking international shows is a separate issue. I’m just curious about your preferences given the reality that remakes are inevitable, because that’s what American TV creators and filmmakers do (see: Ugly Betty, Skins, Footloose, Dirty Dancing, etc.). [/update]
Here are some of the pros and cons of the Americanizing the shows I mentioned above, plus a few others I threw in the mix. Cast your vote at the bottom of the page!
Why it should be remade: The long-running drama about men in prison, Oz, was very successful here, but there’s never been a similar series about women in prison.
Why it shouldn’t: Unless there’s a lot of sex or violence, it’s unlikely Americans will turn out in large numbers to watch a rich, subtle drama revolving around women dealing with serious issues like class, poverty, sexism and sexual assault. But if the sex and violence does get amped up for American audiences, the series will attract viewers for all the wrong reasons. And do we really need some of the only lesbians on TV to be in prison?
Why it should be remade: Gothic is in right now, and Hex fits that description perfectly. If the producers can retain the eerie atmosphere and edgy feel of the original series, along with the writing quality of the first season (the second season got a little off-track), they might be able to tap into both Twilight and Buffy fans, and that could be a winning combination.
Why it shouldn’t: If you don’t get the tone just right, you’re left with a cheese-fest that no one wants to watch, and there are enough other supernatural-type shows and movies in the works right now that it could get lost in the shuffle. Plus, there’s what happens to Thelma…
Why it should be remade: There aren’t enough dramas on TV exploring issues around infidelity in a serious, complicated way. And we can always use more shows with strong female leads!
Why it shouldn’t: There are already a million American shows that include storylines about women cheating on their significant others. Play it safe, and just have one of the Desperate housewives have a lesbian fling, instead.
Why it should be remade: Teens are eager for a grittier drama about their lives than American TV currently offers, which is one of the reasons the British version of Skins has become so popular with viewers around the world.
Why it shouldn’t: British TV is much more permissible than American TV when it comes to profanity, sex, and drugs, and this show is heavily laced with all three. It also takes a brutally honest approach to the lives of its characters. Take all that away from Skins, and you’re left with just another 90210.
Why it should be remade: Since South of Nowhere went off the air, American television is definitely lacking in teen lesbians/bisexuals.
Why it shouldn’t: the same reason Skins shouldn’t — American TV doesn’t do edgy well (unless it’s on Showtime or HBO, but they don’t have a large enough teen viewing audience to support this kind of show).
Why it should be remade: I can’t think of a single reason — it’s a miniseries set in England, and the frank sexuality (of the book and the series) would get edited down by American execs to scenes of lots of lesbian ladies hugging.
Why it shouldn’t: See above.
Now vote and let us know what you think in the comments.
Polls close Sunday night — click "view results" to the voting so far.
— by Sarah Warn