Remakes - Queer As Folk to Three's Company

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Queer As Folk
Original UK Series: Queer As Folk (1999 mini-series, plus follow-up special). Gay life in Manchester as seen by writer Russell T. Davies (The Grand) exploded onto British screens on Channel 4 with howls of protest about the content (including an underage boy being seduced by the studly lead). But critics eventually backed off as they got to know the characters.

American Remake: Showtime has taken the series and set it in Pittsburgh, with episodes beginning in December 2000.

Comments: They turned the Vince character's love of Doctor Whointo an obsession with comic book superheroes. The series last for five seasons on Showtime (even though Russell T. Davies disavowed it) and even created a spin-off of sorts for lesbians, The L Word.

Original UK Series: The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976-79). Leonard Rossiter starred as Reggie Perrin, a married man who decides to fake his own suicide and start over in this BBC comedy series.

American Remake: The late Richard Mulligan starred in a short-lived 1983 series.

Comments: The original is a classic, fondly remember in both countries. A sequel series (without the deceased Rossiter), The Legacy of Reginald Perrin in 1996, updated the characters.

The Ropers
Original UK Series: George and Mildred (1976-79). A spin-off of Man About The House, about a bickering married couple.

American Remake: The Ropers was a spin-off of Three's Company and ran for two seasons, 1979-80. It starred Norman Fell and Audra Lindley.

Comments: There's certainly a degree of synchronicity that both Man About The House and Three's Company (remakes of the same series) both spawned similar spin-offs.

Sanford and Son
Original UK Series: Steptoe and Son (1962-74). Junkmen Albert Steptoe (Wilfrid Brambell) and his long-suffering son Harold (Harry H. Corbett) was one of the longest-running comedies ever on the BBC, beginning in the black-and-white era right through the introduction of color.

American Remake: Sanford and Son was developed by Norman Lear (following his success with All In The Family) as a black vehicle for Redd Foxx. It ran on NBC for five highly-rated seasons 1972-77.

Comments: While not quite as successful as All In The Family, Lear's conceit of using down-and-out black characters living in the Watts area of Los Angeles was an inspired reworking of the Steptoe's working class origins. Nevertheless, the British original stands the test of time as one of the great British comedies.

Original UK Series: Created by Paul Abbott based on his youth, the comedy/drama series is set on the fictional Chatsworth Estate in Manchester and centers around the Gallagher and McGuire families and friends. Starting in 2004, it has run seven seasons so far on Channel 4.

American Remake: John Wells (ER) and Abbott adapted the series for Showtime beginning in January 2011 and changed the setting to Chicago.  William H. Macy was cast as Frank Gallagher.

Comments: Abbott is a consulting producer on the remake which hews fairly closely to his original scripts (again, begging the question, "Why not just show the original version?").

Original UK Series: Channel Four produced this series in 2011 that starred Rhys Thomas, Kayvan Novak and a pre-Game of Thrones Richard Madden as three closely knit paramedics doing the night shift in Leeds.

American Remake: Denis Leary produced this for USA (as a complement to his Rescue Me) set in Chicago and starring Michael Mosley, Kevin Daniels, and Kevin Bigley. It premiered in March 2014.

Comments: I'm surprised USA would run a series that goes against their usual "light and bright" style of programming (the UK version was set almost always at night). But cable is a good place for a slightly raunchy series that is more about character than action.

Original UK Series: The E4 teen drama has run for five years and replaces its cast every two years to avoid "old student syndrome."

American Remake: MTV began the remake in January 2011.

Comments: The original is a cult favorite in Britain, the American remake got mixed reviews to begin with.

Stand By Your Man
Original UK Series: Birds of a Feather (1989-98). Pauline Quirk and Linda Robson played sisters married to convicted criminals both serving time.

American Remake: Ran on FOX in 1992.

Comments: The FOX audience didn't get it and it lasted less than a season.

That Was The Week That Was
Original UK Series: BBC satirical series (1962-66) that was referred to as "TW3" with David Frost which became an instant Saturday night institution. Continued as Not So Much A Programme...More A Way Of Life in its final year.

American Remake: NBC picked up the format which ran from 1963-65. David Frost appeared, as well as Alan Alda, Henry Morgan, Buck Henry, and guests such as Woody Allen.

Comments: Not as influential as the British original, nevertheless it gave American audiences live topical humor each week.

Three’s A Crowd
Original UK Series: Robin's Nest (1977-81). In this sequel to Man About The House, a young couple buy a restaurant in London together despite the disapproval of the girl's father.

American Remake: Ran one season on ABC in 1984. John Ritter starred in his "Jack Tripper" role in this spin-off to Three's Company.

Comments: The US version (unlike the original) couldn't recapture the charm of its parent series.

Three's Company
Original UK Series: Man About The House (1973-76). A randy young man becomes roommates with two lovely girls, although under the watchful eye of his landlords.

American Remake: Three's Company (1977-84). One of the big success stories of remade series, which made big stars of John Ritter and Suzanne Somers, and two spin-offs Three's A Crowd and The Ropers.

Comments: Three's Company is no doubt the low-brow moment of 1970s television, but there is no denying its huge popularity at the time.

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