The UK had them first but the US did them better!
There are many iconic television shows in the USA but it may surprise you to hear that some of these iconic shows were adaptations from the UK. While the British may have created the idea, we found five television shows that America did better. Check out these 5 TV shows that America improved upon.
5. Pop Idol vs American Idol
Many may consider “American Idol” to be the start of this decade’s TV talent competitions, but you’d be surprised to hear that it started with the U.K.’s original concept titled “Pop Idol.” “Pop Idol” premiered in 2001 and was short-lived as it was put on “hiatus” in 2003 due to the start of Britain’s “The X Factor.” This probably happened due to Simon Cowell being a host on both “Pop Idol” and “American Idol.”
“American Idol” became a national phenomenon and (sadly) has been one of the most popular U.S. TV shows to date. When compared to “Pop Idol,” “American Idol” was the clear winner with 14 seasons and 533 episodes. Some may say that Fox has been “beating a dead horse” by keeping the show alive for so long but the ratings remained consistent so it proved people were still watching.
4. Man About the House vs Three’s Company
“Man About the House” was a U.K. series that ran from 1973 to 1976 for 6 seasons with 39 episodes. It was ranked as 69th in a poll about Britain’s Best Sitcom and was also the basis for the more popular American TV series, “Three’s Company.”
Both series coincided on a plot that was controversial for the time. The idea of three single people living together consisting of two women and one man went against many conservative ideals during the 1970s in both the U.K. and the U.S. While the controversy may have driven the ratings for both shows, it’s John Ritter and Suzanne Summers who are remembered between the two shows. While the U.K. version would be considered a success, “Three’s Company” is known as essential and iconic television.
3. Steptoe and Son vs Sanford and Son
“Steptoe and Son” was a U.K. series that had two runs from 1962 to 1965 and from 1970 to 1974. It was the basis for the American hit TV show “Sanford and Son” which aired from 1972 to 1977. Both shows centered around a father and son salvage business and the conflicting relationship between the two. They also both touched on social issues based on the hard working yet low income status of both shows’ main characters.
While many areas of the shows coincide, “Sanford and Son” also tackled racial issues by making the father and son duo African American. There were few African American led TV shows at the time and “Sanford and Son” became iconic by pioneering this concept and also by introducing the world to the iconic Redd Foxx.
The British version of the show (“Steptoe and Son”) was definitely a success with its 8 seasons and 57 episodes but “Sanford and Son” is consistently regarded as the superior of the two. The American show ran for 6 seasons with 135 episodes and is still syndicated today. Not only was it a comedic success but also a staple in American television for racial progress.
2. House of Cards vs House of Cards
Both versions of “House of Cards” follow a similar premise. They both highlight one man’s journey for political leadership through a variety of corrupt and vindictive methods. Both have also received critical praise but unfortunately only one came out on top.
The British version of “House of Cards” was highly regarded by critics but the show unfortunately did not grasp the attention of audiences. It ran for only one season despite its praise but certainly paved the way for the hit Netflix series.
The U.S. release of “House of Cards” on Netflix was and continues to be a huge success. With iconic actor Kevin Spacey as the lead and iconic director David Fincher as executive producer, this show exudes quality. The characters are intriguing and the cinematography follows a familiar Fincher tone. Timing could be the reason why the British version of the show didn’t take off but with multiple award wins/nominations and high viewership, it’s obvious that the “House of Cards” American adaptation is the undisputed winner.
1. The Office vs The Office
Ricky Gervais gave us the foundation for the Steve Carell version of The Office that we know today. But while the Gervais series gave us the basis, it was the United States adaptation that flourished.
The U.K. version of the series definitely had its funny moments but the production quality was noticeably inferior to the U.S. version and did not create the same lasting appeal. The U.S. version had an appeal that many would consider to be timeless labeling it as one of the the greatest television series of all time.
The U.K. series had a surprisingly short run of 2 seasons with 12 episodes and 2 specials. The U.S. version on the other hand ran for 9 seasons with 201 episodes aired. That’s almost 17 times the amount of episodes in comparison to the U.K. series.
While the U.K. version of “The Office” may get the credit for the U.S. version, the United States ultimately proved that they could take that idea and make it better.