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American remakes not what they used to be

Television networks are out of ideas, and it appears they are looking for a few new ones across the pond.

A slew of new mid-season shows hit the air in January, and an overwhelming amount of them are remakes or adaptations of successful British shows.

SyFy recently debuted “Being Human,” a remake of a currently popular British show that even has a small cult following in America. “Being Human” centers on the exploits of a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost who all end up living in the same house. The remake is good, but still pales in comparison to the original material.

MTV is also trying its hand at adapting British shows with “Skins.” The British version follows a group of self-obsessed teenagers dealing with a multitude of controversial issues. While the British “Skins” could at times be very poignant, the American remake seems to abandon all sanity and cross the line into smut.

It's hard to hold this against the television networks. Creating a new show costs a great deal of money, and when one fails, they take a rather substantial hit. There has also been a great deal of success with some British remakes, most notably “The Office.”

The first episodes of both versions of “The Office” are incredible similar, sharing much of the same dialogue and scenes redone shot for shot. As the show progressed, the American office diverged more and more from the score material.

Only once the show separated itself from the original and cultivated its own style did the American version start to become popular.

“The Office” was not the first successful American adaption of a British show. Stealing ideas from Britain is a time-honored tradition for American networks. It goes back as far as the 1970s, when a British show called “Man About the House” was adapted and became the American show “Three's Company.”

There is nothing wrong with adapting ideas for American audiences, but the new versions need to tell their own stories and not simply recycle material. Better yet, the networks could simply air the original show in the first place, rather then devalue the original with a sub-par remake.

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