Top 10 Worst American TV Remakes

Written by Aaron Cameron They say lightning never strikes twice, and we have the list of shows to prove it. Join http:// WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 worst American TV remakes. For this list, we’re looking at successful shows originally made outside the United States which were reworked for American audiences and which failed miserably because they didn’t respect what made the foreign version special and expected a quick cash in. Special thanks to our users killer_penguin88, Eduardo Ferreira, brighteyes00 and Davie Campbell for submitting the idea through our suggestions Tool at WatchMojo.comSuggest
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Written by Aaron Cameron

Top 10 Worst American TV Remakes


They say lightning never strikes twice, and we have the list of shows to prove it. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 worst American TV remakes.

For this list, we’re looking at successful shows originally made outside the United States which were reworked for American audiences and which failed miserably because they didn’t respect what made the foreign version special and expected a quick cash in.

#10: “Men Behaving Badly” (1996-97)

You can’t completely blame this on Rob Schneider, but feel free to. Originally an ITV series about politically incorrect flatmates, this show lost the counter-cultural spark that made it work when it moved from slummy South London to middle America. No longer a show championing the macho ‘boys will be boys’ attitude, it instead became a run-of-the-mill sitcom about a couple of couch potatoes. Up against ratings juggernauts like “The Simpsons,” “Men” struggled and eventually crashed and burned six episodes into its already shortened second season.

#9: “Red Dwarf” (1992)

A cult favorite sci-fi show, “Red Dwarf” was destined for success across the pond. However, rehashed jokes and footage from the original appeared phony, and the show lost its characteristic cultural diversity. Despite additions like Jane Leeves and Terry Farrell, and the retention of original series actor Robert Llewellyn, casting was also disappointing. And, producers were unable to find a John Belushi-style likable slob to play Lister; so they were forced to make do with Craig Bierko. After two separate pilots, the American take was shelved.

#8: “Kath & Kim” (2008-09)

Hailed as possibly the “worst remake ever,” this retread of the Aussie hit about a dysfunctional mother-daughter duo hemorrhaged ratings, with viewership dropping drastically within the first few episodes. Despite being produced by the same creative team as the original, fans of the down under version complained that the Molly Shannon and Selma Blair-led cast fell short of their Aussie counterparts in terms both of character and chemistry. New viewers picked up on the lack of jokes and the distinct absence of humor, and it was dropped after 17-episodes.

#7: “Skins” (2011)

Although filmed in Canada and featuring some Canadian talent, this MTV-funded, ten episode remake was intended for American audiences from the start. Beginning with a shot-for-shot redo of the U.K. series’ pilot, “Skins U.S.” made half an effort to find its own footing; but the constant censorship and toning down of the drinking, drugging, and sexing left it spayed and neutered compared to the UK import. When it did step up and try to be racy it drew accusations of child porn, and that’s never a good thing.

#6: “The IT Crowd” (2007)

It may’ve been a shot-for-shot, mostly word-for-word remake of Graham Linehan’s well-loved original about geeky IT professionals; but this U.S. pilot failed to impress anyone, geek or not, and failed to even see the light of day until 2012. Sure, it gained points by keeping Richard Ayoade as Moss, but creators missed the mark by casting Joel McHale, whose smug confidence was just not the right fit for Roy. Fortunately network brass gave the project the thumbs down; creating a new, better timeline where “Community” exists.

#5: “Spaced” (2008)

After the massive success “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” digging out the classic series that started it all only made sense. While buzz for the remake banked on the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright connection, the trio had no involvement or input. Not to mention, Pegg’s co-star and “Spaced” co-creator Jessica Stevenson was never even mentioned. Had the pilot been picked up, the characters’ uncommented drug usage and Mike’s gun obsession would have been majorly nerfed, while outsider references to American movies would’ve also fallen flat.

#4: “The Inbetweeners” (2012)

Both were shows about awkwardly transitioning into manhood, but only one succeeded. What’s to blame? Toned down, cleaned up dialogue and questionable character development decisions: New Will was too together; brain-dead but harmless Neil became generic stoner guy; and sex-obsessed, conniving Jay was reinvented as a dollar-store Jonah Hill. Their total lack of chemistry didn’t win fans either, as the boys didn’t come off as friends so much as four guys reluctantly exchanging dialogue. After 12-episodes of not fitting in with viewers, it finally gave up and went away.

#3: “Coupling” (2003)

On paper this U.S. redo about a bunch of single 30-somethings looked like the perfect replacement for the outgoing “Friends.” Written by Steven Moffat of “Sherlock” and “Doctor Who” fame, the original scripts were used nearly word-for-word; but the sexually charged humor made it too racy for American primetime. Meanwhile, some NBC affiliates refused to broadcast it for religious reasons and BBC America added insult to injury by showing original episodes immediately after the remake during its six-episode run to prove its supremacy over its stilted American equivalent.

#2: “The Prisoner” (2009)

Though it was created as a dual effort between British channel ITV and American cable network AMC, this miniseries remake of the Patrick McGoohan classic didn’t please anyone. The story of a man who awakens trapped in an enigmatic but idyllic village, it didn’t connect with audiences and washed out almost completely with critics – even with geek-king Ian McKellen. While the original was praised for its wit, sci-fi elements and intrigue, the remake seemed way too into itself and lacked both a sense of humor and a sense of wonder.

Before we unveil our top pick here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Free Agents” (2011)
- “Top Gear USA” (2010-)
- “Life on Mars” (2008-09)
- “Cold Feet” (1999)

#1: “Payne” (1999)

Several remakes of this BBC classic were attempted, all of which featured formidable TV talent and all of which failed miserably [Chateau Snavely, Amanda’s, Over the Top]. “Payne” is one such offender, wherein John Larroquette portrays Basil Fawlty stand-in, Royal Payne. By this time, the format, jokes, and characters felt overdone and worn out, while the show also lacked the timing, physical humor and comedic rage of its predecessor. Even with the blessing of John Cleese and his promise to appear on the show, it went unwatched and joined the choir invisible after airing nine-episodes.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your least favorite American remake? For more brilliant Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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