Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thoughts on the American Remakes of Shameless, Skins & Being Human

So what is up with the trend this midseason of remaking British shows for American audiences? First we got the Showtime's version of Shameless, which I thought was pretty good. Though for that show, I only saw the first of its eight seasons and I wasn't really that emotionally invested in it in the first place. Plus Showtime, like HBO, is known for quality so I'm actually looking forward to seeing where they take this show. It's also really good to see Emmy Rossum and Justin Chatwin in a project that's not totally heinous and I totally buy their chemistry. Fun fact: James McAvoy met his wife in this show playing the characters that Justin and Emmy are playing now. I think my one complaint was that it felt a little too British to me, which probably makes sense since they pretty much copied the British pilot scene by scene.

The same could be said for MTV's version of Skins except with bad acting and a much more palpable sense of redundancy. Like Shameless, the premiere of MTV's Skin was pretty much a photocopy of the British premiere and even more so than Shameless, I couldn't stop comparing the two versions. And while I'm intrigued enough about the characters in Shameless to see where this American version will take them, I can't say the same thing about the bland characters/actors of MTV's Skins. I guess I shouldn't have been that surprised since there is absolutely nothing good being created on MTV the past few years. I may check in on the show for fits and giggles, but I think it'll be a wiser decision to not even acknowledge its existence.

Finally, there's SyFy's Being Human and this was the one remake that I was most worried about. Unlike Shameless and Skins, which I watched and liked, I fell head over heels in love this show. It made my top ten for two years in a row. It was also the one remake out of the three that was the most confusing to me as to why they even decided to green-light it. Shameless is in its 8th season while Skins is in its 5th with the cast for both, especially Skins, having changed so much since its first season that an American remake doesn't seem such a crazy idea. Additionally, The overuse of drugs/sex in those two shows also probably makes it less possible for them to just air in the United States without some heavy censorship. Being Human, on the other hand, is only in its third season and the principal cast have remained the same. Plus other than being awesomely gruesome, there really wouldn't be that many things to censor save for a butt shot here or there. Plus it just seems like sci-fi/fantasy audiences are more accepting of international imports. I mean Doctor Who anyone?

With all of that said, I expected the worst with SyFy's remake and the best thing I can say about it was that they didn't completely and utterly screw it up. Now don't get me wrong, this version PALES IN COMPARISON and you should immediately find a way to get a hold of the original and I still find the decision to remake it patently ridiculous. But the one thing it did do, which I admire a bit, and something that Showtime's Shameless and MTV's Skins didn't do was to attempt in giving itself its own voice. And for better or worse, I think they did. With that said, there's just a lot of things that didn't sit right with me. One of the things that made the original work was the chemistry between the three leads and unfortunately the actors in SyFy's version don't have it. A few other little things are a bit annoying such as Aiden, the vampire, looking like the stereotyical vampire that someone who reads Twilight might find interesting or Josh, the werewolf, who was the heart in the original, acting like a whiny emo kid complaining about the fact that they are monsters and how awful it all is. He's downright unpleasant at some points which is something I never thought about the character in the original. Sally, the ghost, is actually pretty okay, but at the moment she's a bit at odds with the other two which is not gelling with me. I'm hoping the proactive changes they made in the pilot is a hint that they are not afraid to break new ground for this American version. If only for that, I'll continute watching. Of course, I again implore anyone to watch the original, which actually has its third season premiere TONIGHT.

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