On time.com today, I’ve got a roundup review of this fall’s bevy of imported/remade series from overseas showing up on American TV. (A shorter version should be in next week’s print TIME.) I also look a little bit at the general trickiness of adapting shows for the States:
That brings us to the major challenge of Americanizing many of these shows, which is not so much cultural as structural. Like our restaurant portions and children, we make our TV bigger in the States. Where an overseas series may run a dozen or so episodes in its entire life, an American show will air 22 or more a season. So plots must be stretched out and subplots multiplied. This is not automatically bad; the American version of The Office fleshed out a stronger supporting cast, made its central character more multifaceted and found its own voice. Other adaptations find that once they run out of source material, they’ve got nothing.
Short version: Hold out some hope for Life on Mars and The Ex List. Stay far, far away from Eleventh Hour and, especially, Kath and Kim.