Top 5 worst US TV remakes

Posted Filed under

Based on the classic 1970s action series, ABC’s new Charlie’s Angels reboot launches on E4 soon.

Produced by Charlie’s Angels movie star Drew Barrymore and Smallville co-creators Al Gough and Miles Millar, the cast includes Annie Ilonzeh (Melrose Place) as Kate, Minka Kelly (The Roommate) as Eve and Rachael Taylor (Transformers) as Abby, while Ramon Rodriguez (The Wire) will play their handler, Bosley.

Folllowing the news that the show has been cancelled already after only four episodes, here we take a look back at some of the other unsuccessful US remakes that have made their way onto our screens…

Flash Gordon (2007-2008)

It counts, because it’s a telly remake of a much-loved film serial and much-loved movie – and it stank to high heaven. SyFy managed to take all the camp fun out of those predecessors by attempting to take Flash Gordon seriously and misplacing all the stuff we liked about it in the first place.

So instead of the brilliant idea of Mongo entering Earth’s orbit to cause havoc, we get a bleedin’ Stargate-style wormhole, a Zarkov who’s the offspring of a motel mattress and the bloke who sings in Hot Chip, an Emperor Ming who wouldn’t merit minor villain status on Babylon 5 and a Flash and Dale who make Sam Jones and Melody Anderson look like Bogart and Bacall. Horrible.

Life on Mars (2008-2009)

This should have worked. If the British parent was a love letter to The Sweeney, Special Branch and other thick-ear cop shows of the 1970s, then the transatlantic offspring could have been an homage to Kojak, Starsky and Hutch and The Streets of San Francisco, with an added dash of Quantum Leap.

And with seasoned telly person David E Kelley behind it, surely you have a sure-fire hit! Well, no. The writing was on the wall from the busted pilot and a fear of the premise that us Brits ‘got’ so well ran throughout. Then there’s that ending that rips off a subplot from Doctor Who’s ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ and smacks either of being knocked up in a rush or simply taking the piss. If only Harvey Keitel had adopted his Bad Lieutenant persona then it might have lived.

Bionic Woman (2007)

The search for the ‘next Buffy’ was long and arduous and so unsuccessful that they’re even now talking about simply doing Buffy again with different people (noooo). That search hit its lowest point with this tripe, which was basically a standard teen drama with high-tech inserts that even made the original’s bionic dog look like a good idea.

In fact, the original wasn’t even that great, with only childhood crush Lindsay Wagner to commend it. And who did they cast in her place? Misery-faced Zoe Slater from EastEnders (Michelle Ryan), whose performance misreads ‘human with bionic implants’ as ‘robotic’.

Fawlty Towers (various)

This is the one that the Americans refuse to give up on. Let’s hear it for Betty White’s Chateau Snavely, Bea Arthur’s Amanda’s and John Larroquette’s Payne, all of which failed miserably and all of which no TV executive learned anything from.

Fawlty Towers is quintessential English farce and untranslatable; The Office made the switch because its environment is universal. Now, when’s the next version coming out?

The Prisoner (2009)

Again, our stateside pals failed to comprehend a premise that no other country could have realised – hell, no other person but Patrick McGoohan could have done The Prisoner – but they went and did it anyway.

AMC got some things right, such as the casting of Ian McKellen as Number Two, but then spoiled it all by having charisma vacuum Jim Caviezel as Number Six and attempting to provide answers that the original never intended to give.

Do you agree? Let us know your worst US TV remake below…

> Buy the Charlie’s Angels movies boxset on Amazon.

Watch the trailer for the new Charlie’s Angels remake…