Turn off the Lights

Which British Show Should Get Americanized Next?

Chances are you’ve seen The Office, or have sat watching American Idol, wondering why people even show up for auditions. Or, maybe you just happen to be an avid Top Gear fan. In any way, these, and many other shows wouldn’t have made it to your screen without their original British versions. The stream of British import knows its flops (most recently, we deserve a medal for getting through the Free Agents pilot) and sometimes the British version does quite well on its own (Downton Abbey broke records last month on PBS).

But with Being Human going strong on SyFy and Shameless earning a renewal from Showtime, it’s unlikely Hollywood will quit adapting British shows for the stateside audience. So here’s a feature dedicated to the shows that have yet to be touched by American hands, but have such appealing premises that it’s very likely. After all, banking on a concept that has proven its popularity is far more credible than an entirely new format.


Sure, America has got Guy Ritchie’s version of the world’s most famous detective every three years, but when the Holmes-inspired House checks out of office there’s certainly a vacant spot for a wise-cracking professional. If Hugh Laurie and shows like The Mentalist and Bones prove anything, it’s that America likes it’s procedurals with smart, dysfunctional leads. Plus, as the British version shows, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle might have limited his stories set on Baker Street, but there are plenty of ways to tap into Holmes’ antics and Watson’s loyalty. But of course, if America would embrace its own version of Britain’s literary hero, should it take place in modern day America or 19th century London? 

This yet-to-air Sky1 series follows Sinbad the Sailor as he flees his home town due to a curse, and is stuck at sea with a band of travelers. The UK series has 13 episodes, but America could probably do with a lot more. The last action adaptation of the sailor dates from the 90s, so it’s time to pump some fresh blood into it. And, as America is still somewhat hesitant against Middle-Eastern looking men, a well-known hero might be just what we need. Sky1 cast newcomer Elliot Knight in the lead and Lost’s Naveen Andrews as his nemesis. Perhaps, we could keep them and twist things around a bit? Or, what do you think of a Sinbad with mystical creatures in the Mississippi?

Love Life
BBC One’s show Love Life also has yet to air but there are plenty of possibilities when it comes to this one. Think “Love Actually” the series, as we follow five overlapping stories of romance and love. This concept allows a lot of freedom and, if done right, a long life. There’s the option to switch casts every so often or just have the stories stand alone. Blockbusters “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve” show that America likes the multi-character mosaic storytelling, so there might just be a chance a network picks this up ready for a Valentine’s Day 2013 release. 

LoDLine Of Duty
Of all the aforementioned projects, this one is most likely to make the crossing. Line Of Duty is a much anticipated new drama series for BBC Two that headlines Martin Compston as Detective Steve Arnott, who is transferred to an anti-corruption unit that has to investigate a popular and successful officer. The plot itself sounds smart enough and along the lines of Showtime’s smash hit, Homeland. Plus, it can give us an intriguing insight into modern day politics as The Chicago Code tried to do. What makes this show so viable for adaptation is that Content Television secured the international distribution rights just five days ago... 

So do any of these concepts sound interesting enough to you? Would you watch American versions of these shows, or would you rather stick with the UK’s take? Have you had enough of the seemingly futile attempts to adapt British shows, or are you ready for the next big thing?


Meet the Author

User not found.

Follow Us