Friday, 10 June 2011

American MISFITS remake still possible...

Friday, 10 June 2011

The possibility of a US remake of E4's fantastic superhero drama Misfits has never been popular with fans of the show. While the USA is the birthplace of the comic-book superhero, Misfits was by its very nature a fresh spin on the American tropes of the genre. A raucous, violent, profane, anarchic take on the simple premise of young offenders being given super-powers after a freak storm.

However, the likelihood of a US remake took a step forward today, according to Misfits' executive producer Murray Ferguson:

"There has been interest in America about making an American version. We so far haven't made any decisions on that. We're obviously interested but if we do do that we want to make sure that we retain all the essential, key ingredients of the show that make it successful over here while recognizing that if it's for an American audience it might have to be slightly different culturally."

"We are going to go and talk next month in LA to a couple of key people that we think would be good partners and who are very keen to do it with us. Hopefully it will work out. I'm optimistic -- we'll see. I think [MTV's remake of] Skins had very specific issues in America which relate to that show and not to ours. I think we just have to be aware of the cultural differences and make sure we can make a show that we're happy with."
Is it possible that America could make a good Misfits remake? Actually, I think it is. It just might depend where it's aired. If a cable network (HBO, Showtime, AMC, Starz) bought the remake rights, we could at least be somewhat assured it would keep its tone and raw sensibility. Although it would still be American at heart, and what's refreshing about Misfits is how un-American it is. You can't help thinking that even a 13-episode US cable version of Misfits would still have that indefinable weakness, rather like how Syfy's Being Human remake was perfectly enjoyable, but comparatively shallow and dull.

Sometimes it's the comparatively minuscule budget of UK shows that aides the writing and creates a show's uniqueness, because there's no way you can rely on special effects to cover any problems. It all has to come from the plots and the characters, there's no escaping that focus because of a production's limitations. I'm not saying American writers don't write with plot and character central in their mind, but they're also aware there's a budget available to do big action set-pieces, and many network's demand that kind of thing so it's easier to promote.

But does anyone disagree and think, quite understandably, that a US version could be brilliant because the characters would be given things the UK version doesn't bother with: like families to interact with, more visually-stimulating powers (flying?), or the ability to leave the immediate neighbourhood and venture into the big wide world? All are valid reasons why I could understand someone being excited about the possibilities of a US version.

What do you think? Is this still a bad idea, or are you warming to the prospect of an American Misfits?

P.S. The original E4 show is apparently going to be made available in the US for the first time, legally, via Hulu. Stay tuned to hear if that happens, and when the episodes will be available to watch Stateside. Update: Misfits is being released as a Hulu exclusive on 20 June.