American Or British? Which Version Of These TV Shows Is Better?
America sure does love to take British television shows and make them their own, and it has happened quite a bit, although not always successfully. But now that HBO took the British show “Criminal Justice” and turned it into the fantastic “The Night Of,” we thought we would look at other shows that have touched base with Brits before being taken by the Americans, and finally decide which version is better. Winner gets bragging rights and that’s all because we can’t afford anything else.
Brits’ version: Created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and premiering in 2001, this version lasted a total of 14 episodes, but was almost canceled off the bat. After it found its footing it helped kick off an international franchise.
American version: Kicking off in 2005, this version also started off kind of flimsy before really taking off and becoming one of the most hilarious and successful shows of the 2000s.
Winner: The U.S. version. Even Gervais couldn’t top the brilliance of Steve Carrell, as the American version was much more fast-paced and featured classic gags and moments such as the incredible fire “drill” scene.
Brits’ version: The highly controversial, but successful show started off in 2007 before ending in 2013. The show featured strong writing and acting, and took on issues that teenagers deal with, as each episode focused on a different character. Also, Hannah Murray was in it (AKA Gilly from “Game of Thrones”).
American version: Canceled after one season, this tamer version still ruffled some feathers, and the low ratings were enough for MTV to pull the plug on it and create more room for “Jersey Shore” reruns.
Winner: British version and it’s not even close. The U.S. version included some really bad acting and writing, and never really hit it off with the American audience. Or any audience at all.
Brits’ version: “Broadchurch” premiered in 2013 and is currently airing its finally season. The crime drama show stars the very popular David Tennant (former Dr. Who), and includes fantastic acting, and allows the audience to play along in this whodunit.
American version: Tennant also starred in the U.S. version, titled “Gracepoint,” but he didn’t have to stick around very long as this was just a 10 episode limited series. Oh, and Anna Gun from “Breaking Bad” was in it. Positive: she’s a tad less annoying in this show.
Winner: The Brits win this one, but not by a huge margin. “Broadchurch” does feature a better cast as a whole, and the performances are much more emotional and believable. “Gracepoint” just seemed a little empty, and it was difficult to completely become engrossed in this story, but that again can be blamed on the acting.
Brits’ version: Not many folks know this, but “Shameless” is originally a British show, and a very popular one. It started in 2004 and aired until 2013, getting extremely favorable reviews.
American version: William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum lead the red, white and blue “Shameless.” The show began to air in 2011, and has become more and more popular with every passing season on Showtime.
Winner: The American version. It’s much darker and grimmer, which is to be expected with a family living close to poverty. The Brits’ version is more humor filled, but the Americans take this one. But honestly it’s only because we get to watch Rossum.
Brits’ version: This 2008 British sitcom only ran for three seasons, but it hit its mark with the audience, as it showcased four teenagers dealing with suburban life. It also spawned two films as well.
American version: It failed with “Skins,” but MTV once again tried their hand at a British show, as their version of “The Inbetweeners” aired in 2012 but was quickly canceled after one season due to low ratings.
Winner: Obvious choice here; the Brits take it. Their version was much more acclaimed, and they squeezed two films out of it. Not too bad at all.
“House of Cards”
Brits’ version: Yep. This was actually a British show first. And it occurred way back in 1990, as Ian Richardson played Francis Urquhart. Only ran for four episodes, but that was enough for it to become massively popular and successful with critics and viewers, and it’s still talked about as one of the best British TV shows.
American version: It took 23 years since the original aired but Netflix remade this show with Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood. “House of Cards” will be airing its fifth season next year, and it continues to be one of Netflix’s most successful shows.
Winner: Americans. Both are acclaimed, but Spacey’s “House of Cards” became the first online-only show to reel in Emmy Awards, including 33 Primetime Emmy nominations.
“Pop Idol”/”American Idol”
Brits’ version: Starting in 2001, “Pop Idol” would only last two seasons, but that was enough for it to become a massive international franchise, thus leaving its mark.
American version: While it ran for 15 seasons, at one point becoming the most watched show on television, it’s really the first few seasons with the original three judges (Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell) when we really got to see what a gem it truly was.
Winner: America. Come on, it gave us Kelly Clarkson, “Seacrest out!” and Willam Freaking Hung. There’s no contest.
Brits’ version: Created in 2004 by Simon Cowell, the singing competition ran for 12 seasons, with a 13th season ready to air this August. The original judging panel included Sharon Osbourne.
American version: Only lasted three seasons, with ratings plummeting with every passing season. Also seems like we had had our fill of singing competitions, with “American Idol” also on its last legs.
Winner: The Brits win this one easily. It’s still going strong, and those English folks love it.
Brits’ version: Airing in 2008 and lasting for five seasons, the show followed a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf, as they tried to get along with humans. The series had its ups and down, for sure, but had a strong cult following.
American version: Syfy picked up this remake, and it lasted four seasons. It quickly become one of the network’s most viewed shows before getting axed.
Winner: It’s close, but the American version wins by a tad. Major casting changes in the British version really left a bad taste in the audience’s mouth, and it was tough to recover.
“Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares”/ “Kitchen Nightmares”
Brits’ version: Chef Gordon Ramsay comes to help failing English restaurants and just yells at them.
American version: Chef Gordon Ramsay comes to help failing American restaurants and just yells at them.
Winner: Tie. When Ramsay yells and curses at people we all win.