Friday, 2 August 2013

Fox remaking ITV's BROADCHURCH

Friday, 2 August 2013

The murder-mystery drama Broadchurch was a huge hit for ITV earlier this year (peaking with 8.9 million viewers for the finale), which didn't escape the attention of Fox bosses over in the US. They're lining up an American remake for 2014/15, in partnership with its British production company Kudos, with the premiere written by series creator Chris Chibnall (who will also serve as executive-producer).

Quite why nobody's realised Broadchurch has few elements of actual originality is anyone's guess, because I can't see Fox getting into legal trouble if they simply made their own 'crime drama about two detectives solving a murder in a small town'. Just change the names and you're home and dry, surely. Isn't Broadchurch itself just a remake of The Killing, with better weather? Or Twin Peaks, with less crazy?

The news again makes me wonder why US TV's always so quick to remake English-language shows; not least because it would be ludicrous if UK TV had the same mentality and always remade US shows instead of simply broadcast them. I guess it boils down to the power of American culture around the world, as global audiences are highly attuned to almost everything about US life and even understand most of the references. The same wouldn't be true of Americans trying to get their head around some of the UK's culture, colloquialisms, accents, and sense of geography. These were the main reason Syfy gave for remaking Being Human, not including the chance to increase production values.

So, Broadchurch is heading across the pond. It's at least promising they're involving the British creative team, but there are some rather obvious problems a US version will encounter. I already find it slightly crazy ITV are pressing ahead with a second series (given how the murder was solved and the show's title suggests you can't leave the confines of that town), but an American version may be asked to last five to seven years. Does this immediately mean the murder will take two seasons to solve? Will they retitle it, so they can focus on a different murder every year or so? Or will they blunder into problems in a theoretical second or third season because of avoidably short-sighted thinking? Update: as highlighted in a comment below, Fox are wisely angling for a limited series run.

If you're American, you can maybe spoil yourself early by simply watching the original on BBC America.