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05th May 2021

The US Office crowned the best-ever remake of a UK show, according to study

Charlie Herbert

Bears. Beets. Best-ever US remake.

A new study has crowned The US Office as the best cross-Atlantic remake of a British television show.

Along with awarding the classic comedy this title, the research from satellite TV platform Freesat found that this was an exception to the rule though, with just 29% of US shows receiving better ratings than their UK originals.

The study analysed 132 US remakes of British shows from a whole host of genres, finding that 64% received lower ratings than the original British versions.

This was replicated when shows went the other way though. Out of 40 British remakes of American programmes, only 32% managed to get better ratings than their US counterparts.

Along with the US Office, the other shows that made a successful trip across the Atlantic to America were House of Cards, Shameless, The People’s Couch (US Gogglebox) and Whose Line Is It Anyway.

The worst American remakes were Spaced, Viva Laughlin (originally Blackpool), The Minister of Divine (who knew there was an American version of The Vicar of Dibley?!), I’m A Celebrity, and of course, the absolute classic dreadful US remake of The Inbetweeners.

The research found that the best-received UK remakes of American shows were The Murder Game (originally Murder in Small Town X), Saturday Live (originally Saturday Night Live), So You Think You Can Dance, Finders Keepers, and Celebrity Soup.

Meanwhile the flops that failed to make it in the UK were Married for Life (originally Married With Kids) Days Like These (originally That 70s Show), The Brighton Belles (originally The Golden Girls), Loved by You (originally Mad About You), and Geordie Shore (originally Jersey Shore).

And if you a) don’t recognise half of those TV shows or b) had no idea that they had trans-Atlantic remakes, then that really tells you all you need to know about their success.

Speaking about the findings, Alistair Thom, CEO at Freesat, said: “There’s no doubt that there is a clear trend for established UK shows to be remade for American audiences, and this shows no signs of changing. In the wake of the pandemic, people around the world watch more TV than ever before and there’s a continual demand for new content.

“As telly experts, we are well versed in the age-old debate of which is better when it comes to the original vs the remake of UK and US shows, so we were thrilled to be able to dig down into some numbers to work out which side comes out triumphant once and for all.

“Most importantly, we are pleased to be able to bring the majority of shows which performed best in this research to UK homes via Freesat.”

Absolutely no surprise to see the US Office coming out on top of this one. Whilst the largely pointless debate about whether it is better than Ricky Gervais’s original will rage on for years to come, it is the shining example of a show being adapted to a new audience and then becoming successful in its own right.

Here’s to declaring bankruptcy, running away from responsibilities, pretzel day, the turn tables, Michael Scarn and the prison dementors.