Who Did It Better: Original or Remake?

By: 04.21.11  •  61 Comments

Editor’s Note: Warming Glow is not responsible for any riots caused the author’s preference for the Velvet Underground over the Beatles.

It’s no secret that America rules the cultural landscape. In sports, we’re the best (sorry cricket, but the NFL owns). In music, we’re the best (I’ll take the Velvet Underground over the Beatles any day). In remaking TV shows from other countries, we’re…well, we’re decent there. But it’s not like other countries have done much justice to our shows, either. Below are ten examples of shows made by one country and remade by another, and who did it better.

Original: ‘Forbrydelsen’ (Denmark) vs. Remake: ‘The Killing’ (US)

When I heard that AMC was going to be re-making “Forbrydelsen,” which translates to “The Crime” in Danish, I was incredibly excited. The original is creepy, slow-moving but not boring, and suspenseful throughout — all characteristics you could also use for AMC’s (and TV’s) best show, “Breaking Bad”. And so far through four episodes, AMC seems to have yet another Must Watch show (let’s just forget “Rubicon”, OK?) and one that’s slightly superior to the original, mostly because Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman make for a stronger duo than Sofie Gråbøl and Søren Malling (although both ladies know how to wear the hell out of ugly sweaters).

Winner: ‘The Killing’ (AMC)

Original: ‘The Office’ (UK) vs. Remake: ‘The Office’ (US)

The way we Americans think of “The Simpsons” is the way Brits look at the original “Office”—and for once, their hyperbolic ways are right (I still haven’t quite forgiven NME for naming the Artic Monkeys’ Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not as one of the five greatest British albums of all-time). Created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the BBC show was 14 episodes of perfection, which is why it was such a huge (and, frankly, predictable) risk for NBC to remake the show for American audiences. But after a shaky start that had the show trying to remain loyal to the source material while simultaneously fleshing out characters that weren’t featured players in the UK, Steve Carell’s “Office” can occasionally be great (see: “Scott’s Tots”) but is currently only the fourth-best sitcom on NBC Thursday nights. It falls short of the original.

Winner: The Office (BBC)

Original: ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ (UK) vs. Remake: ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ (US)

Choosing between the two versions is like choosing the better “Mystery Science Theater 3000” host, Joel or Mike (for the record, it’s Mike). Really, it comes down to whether you can stomach Drew Carey, or if you really like Clive Anderson. I, for one, can mostly pretend Carey’s not there—unless Colin or Ryan are making fun of him, as seen here—so it’ll be easy to pretend his upcoming “Improv-a-Ganza” never happened. Anyways, a lot of the British jokes went over my head when I used to watch the BBC’s “Whose Line,” which is the main reason I prefer our version—well, that, and the eye candy that is Laura Hall.

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