Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Dear lazy US networks: leave my telly

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I love British television. I would never come out and say I'm an Anglophile, because I'm not pretentious or ridiculous (mostly). But you get the picture. Every night, Netflix feeds my insatiable need for dark British humor. Give me "The Mighty Boosh," "IT Crowd" and" Snuff Box" any day. However, there seems to be an unsettling trend of U.S. producers "Americanizing" overseas shows. And sometimes there are scary results. I'm talking Gary Busey scary.

Bleeding Cool recently reported that CBS is working on getting an U.S. version of BBC's "Sherlock" green-lit, which they will aptly call "Elementary." I'm calling shenanigans. Yeah, that's right. If you haven't seen "Sherlock" you are missing out. Benedict Cumberbatch as the modern-day Sherlock is full of snark and charm. And no American actor could do the character more justice.

However, not all American adaptations are horrible. David Fincher's "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" is a prime example of how to produce a foreign film for American audiences. It still featured the Swedish culture and maintained most of the main character's nationalities - it just presented it in a way that was more crisp and dynamic. I would argue that I actually prefer it to the Swedish version of the film, mostly thanks to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' glorious musical score and Rooney Mara's performance (and tattooing abilities).

Back in 2011, MTV attempted to bring E4's "Skins" to American audiences. And it was a hot mess, but definitely

not in a good way. The show is built around a group of very dysfunctional and out-of-touch teenagers - so basically a rough night for the Lohan family. But, whereas the U.K. version was actually quite compelling, MTV's version had as much depth as an episode of "America's Next Top Model." It was a blessing it did not get renewed for a second season.

A shining example of how to adapt an overseas show for American audiences is "The Office." I've been deeply devoted to this NBC comedy ever since it premiered in 2005. However, anyone that has seen both the American and U.K. versions of "The Office" will tell you they are severely different. And that's a good thing.

Whereas Ricky Gervais' comedy for the overseas version is more dry and candid, the writers of the American version (most of whom were cast members) really capitalized on Steve Carrell's knack for the absolutely ridiculous. It worked, up until Carrell left ... but this is still a bitter subject for me.... Moving on.

So how do you make a successful Americanized adaptation? Know your audience. I cringe in fear just thinking of the day when U.S. producers attempt to massacre "Dr. Who." Few things make me more dizzy with happiness than seeing David Tennant in Converse sneakers as my favorite Time Lord. The same as tacos, comic books and "HocusPocus" - "Dr. Who" is sacred to me and should not be touched. Why? Because mass American audiences would not understand the humor (or the supreme greatness).

So please, Mr. Hot-Shot American producers who lack original ideas for producing television shows, if you're going to adapt something, do it right. Oh, leave "Dr. Who" alone.

Shelley Holmgren is a senior journalism major.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Holmgren, Shelley (2012-02-07). Dear lazy US networks: leave my telly. The Daily Eastern News .
  • MLA 7th ed.: Holmgren, Shelley. "Dear lazy US networks: leave my telly." The Daily Eastern News [add city] 2012-02-07. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Holmgren, Shelley. "Dear lazy US networks: leave my telly." The Daily Eastern News, edition, sec., 2012-02-07
  • Turabian: Holmgren, Shelley. "Dear lazy US networks: leave my telly." The Daily Eastern News, 2012-02-07, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Dear lazy US networks: leave my telly | url= | work=The Daily Eastern News | pages= | date=2012-02-07 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=2 April 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Dear lazy US networks: leave my telly | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=2 April 2023}}</ref>