Remaking British TV

Speaking of tv, meanwhile, I checked out episode 1 of “Gracepoint,” FOX’s remake of “Broadchurch.” It was ok, but a lot of echoing of episode 1 of “Broadchurch.”

Also: I missed David Tennant in his Scottish accent; his flat American voice as Detective Emmett Carver wasn’t the same as Detective Inspector Alec Hardy.

Detective Ellie Miller, played by Anna Gunn (previously of “Breaking Bad”) echoed some of her original version (played by Olivia Colman). But, I’m really not yet sure about her as Ellie.

And the pain of the Solanos – well, it didn’t hit the same note as the Latimers in “Broadchurch.” I remembered how raw “Broadchurch” episode 1 was, so “Gracepoint” episode 1 just didn’t hit the same feelings for me so far – the sense of confusion, tragedy, and rage (even Ellie’s rage of not getting to be the lead of the investigation). I am curious to see how they’ll try to diverge from “Broadchurch,” since they have two more episodes of time to play with. (actor Nick Nolte – eh). So, it’s kind of hard to say how I feel about “Gracepoint” beyond saying, “eh.”

I think NPR’s critic Eric Deggans was right – someone who hasn’t seen “Broadchurch” might very well enjoy “Gracepoint.” As an “American” show, it felt higher quality than a lot of American crime shows and I did like seeing actor Michael Pena as the dad of the victim (definitely more for that feeling of American diversity and he’s turning into one of those character actors who keeps popping up).

The more I think about it, I’m starting not to “blame” FOX for wanting to try the remake of a really good show. And, anyway, as I said in a previous post, as a mystery series, “Broadchurch” was a little off the mark, and it wasn’t the best kind of mystery and wasn’t that unique – a more traditional British police detective like Inspector Lewis would have just as easily hate the media as Inspector Hardy and Sgt. Miller, but he would have solved the case in two hours and had more bodies piling up. My feelings about the first two episodes of “Broadchurch” weren’t that strong (I’ve seen other British detective shows that either took a weirder direction or wrapped things up far tighter – like for instance, the Inspector Lewis series), but it’s one of those shows where the journey got really gripping.  I’m really not sure how season 2 of “Broadchurch” will work, but I wonder if British shows are just weirder or more aggressive to go all in because of their shorter “seasons.”

It’s hard to say how American remakes of British shows do all that well – some adaptations do become successful (a whole bunch from the 1970’s, like “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” and even “Sanford and Son”; and of course, there is “The Office”). “Prime Suspect” didn’t do well (but apparently, according to tv critic Alan Sepinwall, it got better as the season went on, but I wasn’t watching it and I had wanted to like it). The hard part for any remake is how to stand up on your own, or are you just a remake? It remains to be seen how “Gracepoint” will do, but maybe it won’t be so bad… Eh.

On the other hand, it’s another season of “Inspector Lewis” on “Masterpiece Theatre”! Lewis is going to un-retire to help Hathaway, who somehow got promoted to becoming inspector instead of quitting the police force (oh, no – he’s going to become Inspector Morse – alcoholic, sad but for his music – whatever his brand of music is, since it was something that looked like folk pop rock or whatever), and has his own sergeant.

It still amazes me how the Inspector Morse and spawned spinoffs has exploited the landscape of Oxford, England, and managed to make it the capital murder of England (and how Morse, Lewis, etc., still arrest people).  Some stuff can’t be remade, because of its time and place – Oxford, 1980s to now, gave us the Morse and spinoffs; I don’t know if a show works as well without its setting (so, no, I don’t think I want an American version of Morse, even his 1960s version).

Ah, television…

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