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Must All British TV Series Be Adapted?: FOX Plans US Version of "Spaced"

Yet another entry from the annals of what in the hell are they thinking: FOX has given a put pilot commitment to an American version of.... wait for it... Spaced.

While, yes, The Office proved that you can successfully adapt a British television format for US television, it seems that no one was paying much attention to the recent crop of botched attempts like Viva Laughlin, The Thick of It, and The IT Crowd. Hell, does no one remember Coupling?

What you're seeing right now is my jaw spinning out of control on the floor. If there's one series that really shouldn't ever be messed with and transformed into a US comedy, it's Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson's brilliantly mordant series Spaced, which ran for two seasons beginning in 1999 on the UK's Channel 4.

The series was an early pairing between actor/co-writer Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright, who would go on together to bring us such feature films as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Spaced, which aired Stateside on cabler BBC America, has a deceptively simple premise: a pair of young sad sack slackers, Tim and Daisy, move into together in what appears like the perfect apartment, but with one hitch: their doddering landlady Marsha will only rent them the flat if they pose as an actual romantic couple. Hilarity ensues.

The setup is in fact a convenient excuse to bring two of the most woefully underemployed and charming slackers together under one roof, along with the cast of quirky characters, and a plethora of Generation X pop culture references, circa 1999. As I've previously discussed, the sight gag alone of Tim and Daisy transforming themselves unwittingly into Scooby Doo's Shaggy and Velma is alone worth the price of admission.

Which is what makes me so sad. Spaced on its own, as it exists, is as close to television perfection as you can get over the course of 14 hilarious, absurd, and touchingly funny episodes. The fact that it's survived nearly ten years without an attempted American version has made me hopeful that it would never be tampered with by US networks.

Alas.

FOX has hired former Will & Grace writer Adam Barr to adapt the series. He'll executive produce the pilot, along with McG and Robert Green. Warner Bros. Television, Wonderland Sound & Vision, and Granada are all behind this pilot adaptation.

Personally, I love Spaced and think that Pegg, Stevenson, and Wright's series is absolutely sublime but as for any Americans looking to catch a glimpse of this witty and hilarious series, you'd do much better to try and catch the original.

Comments

Eric said…
I don't disagree with your opinion on Spaced, but do we know for a fact that "The IT Crowd" was a failure? As far as I know, they never filmed it.
Jace Lacob said…
The pilot for the US version of The It Crowd was filmed and, having seen it, I can say that it was a stinker... Ouch.
Anonymous said…
No, no, no, no, no! Why do they keep doing this?
Anonymous said…
oh....no. No, no, no!
Bfarn said…
NOOOOOO! They be stealin' my Spaced!

I agree completely that they will botch this. And I happen to like McG. But they're gonna turn this into some sort of edgy bullshit, with, I don't know.... Seth Green, and some hot chick, and a laugh track, and I will be sad.
Yet another wonderful British comedy that will be lost in translation when brought over to the US. We may speak the same language but, aside from a few gems (such as "The Office") when we drag these brilliant British shows across the pond they inevitably arrive on our shores cold and soggy.
Anonymous said…
You just know it's going to be bad......

Leave SPACED alone you morons.

Tim & Diasy 4ever.
Bill said…
Initially I wasn't entirely opposed to the idea. Plenty of adapted british shows have worked just fine (Golden Girls and All in the Family were too, right?), they seem to have about the same success rate as original shows... most suck, but you never know. And maybe free cash for some creative guys who deserve it.

But apparently Simon & Edgar are not only not involved and have no financial interest, but it sounded like they didn't even know about it until it hit the trades.
Anonymous said…
I don't think so. I didn't watch British Tv series.
spacedadict said…
being british i was shocked to find out there is going to be a us version of spaced because i love it so much think the us version would be no were near as good as the british version i just hope that it doesnt stink.
tv reviews said…
They really should stop doing that. It worked out great for some TV shows like The Office but that is no guarantee for anything else.

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