American Broadchurch: Can Fox Pull Off Something So Very British?
"Outrage!" cry thousands of diehard fans.
It sounds like a treat for US viewers – Broadchurch is coming to the good ol’ US of A. But then you hear the catch – it’s not just that the show is now airing stateside (which it is and American audiences are no doubt appreciative) but Fox is also making an all-American version – presumably not named Broadchurch for obvious reasons.
Those, who remember MTV’s (at best) hilarious attempt at an American adaptation of Skins should be cringing right now. And people, who have mercifully been spared, can probably see just why this is such a bad idea. And yes, we can already hear you, oh Anglophile TV enthusiast, with your Doctor Who mug full of tea and your disgruntled cries “But what about Downton Abbey?” Let’s not forget that Downton, which, admittedly, is just breaking out of its “cult hit” phase in the US and going into the “legit success” category, is not a remake. Yes, we concede that apparently very, very British shows can find an audience stateside, but still – it doesn’t seem likely.
What is Broadchurch without Tennant?
For one, the adaptation won’t have David Tennant or Olivia Coleman. Majority of audience – American or otherwise – lost right there. But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Fox managed to find actors, who were not only as talented and charismatic, but also as big a hit with fans as Tennant and Coleman, both of whom had starred in dozens of quality productions before Broadchurch.
Even so, besides being a crime drama (everybody loves one of those) what makes this particular show so watchable? When you get down to the details, it all becomes very… British. It’s set in a small town, with the kind of dynamics you just don’t see on American TV. There’s the atmosphere, also very very unadaptable. Then there’s the weather – all clouds and grayish hues. We won’t get into that one, because both sides tend to be a bit touchy about the subject, but you can guess the verdict – the show’s atmosphere just doesn’t lend itself to adaptation. Unless the Fox team intends to have American characters strutting around in cardigans and clutching out-of-place cups of tea, this will just turn into another crime drama, albeit a witty one.
Or Colman for that matter?