New shows, same old story in television world

03:10, May 14 2014

It was shaping up as a good week in television world.

ABC, NBC and Fox have released trailers for their new shows online sending the pundits into a frenzy, predicting what's going to succeed and fail.

Don't listen to them. Or me, for that matter. A three-minute look at a possibly 24-part season tells you as much as the first three seconds of an All Blacks test match.

But rather than share my excitement at the prospect of Gotham (which looks like it could be amazing if a little trite for my liking) or my joy at seeing Cristin Milioti back on the screen in the good-natured A to Z it was another trailer which took all my attention.

It may be a familiar story if you've just started watching Broadchurch on New Zealand television this week. Or, like most people it appears, found a way to watch it just after it aired in the UK.

It's because it was the trailer the US remake of the show, retitled Gracepoint for those for whom Broadchurch wasn't sufficiently vague enough a name.


I watched Broadchurch courtesy of my trusty VPN connection and a belief that artificial technological barriers in today's world are better broken.

And it was pretty good. David Tennant is a great actor, and Olivia Colman is always wonderful. I could even forgive some of the dialogue in the later stages being so bloody obvious that an arrow on screen pointing to the killer wouldn't have been as much of a spoiler.

The US market isn't particularly new for British shows so you would think it would be a simple matter of securing the broadcast rights for Broadchurch.

But no, that's far too easy for Fox - they decided it had to be remade for the US audience.

Why? I can guess given some of the dumbed down stuff we see in the US. It usually goes something like this:

Oh look, let's repeat that bit we showed just two minutes ago in case people have forgotten. And let's zoom in on the dagger half hiding in his hand just to show we know he's the bad guy, even though we called him Baddie McMurderer. Then let's show it again.

Extreme, yes, but that's what it feels like sometimes.

What makes the decision even weirder is they've employed David Tennant to play the same role in Gracepoint. Except this time, wait for it... he has an American accent!

Your mind just exploded, right?

From the rest of the trailer it looks like it could be a straight paint-by-numbers remake. Characters, scenes, even dialogue seemed familiar and therefore there is very little there to warrant me, or anyone else who has seen it, watching it.

If I develop a sudden brain injury which rules out medium to long term memory enabling me to forget who the murderer is, why wouldn't I just watch the original version?

And this kind of remake has worked so well in the past. Who could forget the Gus van Sant remake of Psycho with Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche in it?

So while I'm occasionally (okay, a lot) down on our own broadcasters at least they're showing the British version over here. And wouldn't waste money remaking something which was more than good enough to entertain.

Note: I reserve the right to criticise our broadcasters if one of them decides to pick up the remake!