The phrase, “the book was better,” is one of the most annoying things a person can say about a movie. An apple is not an orange and a movie is not a book. Most of the time I wonder if a person actually likes the book better or if a) they feel obligated to say that; or b) it was a self-fulfilling prophecy that they would like the book better. The main reason people have for liking books better is that movies cut things out or change things and people don’t like change. Just because the movie doesn’t have the scene where the mother bathes the son or some other “deeply meaningful” part of the book, it doesn’t mean the movie was somehow worse.
People romanticize things too much, just because something has always been someway doesn’t mean it’s the best or only way. The dirty truth is that I’m sure most of the time movie executives hate the names of novels and wish they could change them to something else but they know people who are suckers for the book will be subconsciously forced to see the movie. I’ve never seen The Hunger Games, but from what I hear it’s not good enough to be a success without the name recognition. Look at Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire. That is the most ridiculous full name for a movie ever. They wanted to call it Precious (a fine name for a movie) and they ended up adding that whole mess to the end of it so it would make a few extra million bucks.
If it makes a person feel better, they should always imagine movies based on books aren’t even based on anything. Enjoy the book and movie separately. Knowing the source material of a movie and being an ass about it will just ruin the experience. Don’t be an ass.
I digress, because as the title of this post will suggest, I have a different bone to pick. Right after, “the book was better,” in the list of annoying, pretentious clichés is the phrase, “I liked the British version.” This can usually be heard in conjunction with The Office but more recently with House of Cards. I can believe that some people might like the British version of The Office better than the American version though I’m not sure why people mention it other than to be condescending. People aren’t as serious when it comes to House of Cards because I have my doubts many people have actually seen both the American and British versions of that show.
Well anyways, it got me thinking about who has actually won this war of porting shows from one side of the pond to the other. My hypothesis was that the US probably has this down just from sheer quantity. I checked out the Wikipedia pages List of American television series based on British television series and List of British television series based on American television series for confirmation. So first, a sample of the competition, British shows that Americans re-made (with House of Cards added in since I guess it doesn’t count as a television series):
|One Foot in the Grave
|Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
||Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
|Whose Line Is It Anyway?
||Whose Line Is It Anyway?
|House of Cards
||House of Cards
There are some pretty good ones in there. It should be pointed out that Wikipedia acknowledges Cosby had “many differences,” but I do love the title of the British version, One Foot In The Grave. American Gladiators was pretty cool, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire was fun for a bit, and I really like both The Office and House of Cards. I put in American Idol because of its significance in pop culture but I don’t really find it all that interesting. Finally, there is Whose Line Is It Anyway which is probably just better seen in a person’s home country, for references or whatever.
Now the American shows with British re-makes:
|Win Ben Stein’s Money
||Win Beadle’s Money
|Wheel of Fortune
||Wheel of Fortune
|Who’s the Boss?
||The Upper Hand
|The Soup / Talk Soup
|That ’70s Show
||Days Like These
|Saturday Night Live
||Saturday Live/Friday Night Live
|The Price Is Right
||The Price Is Right
|Married… with Children
||Married For Life
|Law & Order
||Law & Order: UK
|The Golden Girls
||The Brighton Belles
First of all, the game shows: Win Ben Stein’s Money, Wheel of Fortune, The Price Is Right, Jeopardy, Family Feud, and even Double Dare? Seriously, Double Dare, that should end the debate right there.
Who’s the Boss might be the most intriguing show on the list. I love that it needed to be renamed The Upper Hand because, while that isn’t a great name on its own, that it was what they changed Who’s the Boss to makes it great. It makes sense how game shows or shows with a clear theme like The Office and House of Cards might be considered re-makes but what is so special about Who’s the Boss that it even has to be stated another show is a re-make of it?
Moving on, shows I enjoy: The Soup, That ’70s Show (which inexplicably could not be called “That ’70s Show” in the UK), Saturday Night Live, Married… with Children, Law & Order (though not great, very addicting). Plus another show I mention because of its place in pop culture, The Golden Girls.
So, yeah, America wins. I’d say, “Sorry, England” but I doubt they even care. It’s mostly just Americans who want to sound intellectual or something.