American Remakes of British Television: Transformations and Mistranslations

Overview

Ever since Norman Lear remade the BBC series Till Death Us Do Part into All in the Family, American remakes of British television shows have become part of the American cultural fabric. Indeed, some of the programs currently said to exemplify American tastes and attitudes, from reality programs like American Idol and What Not to Wear to the mock-documentary approach of The Office, are adaptations of successful British shows. Carlen Lavigne and Heather Marcovitch's American Remakes of British Television: ...

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American Remakes of British Television: Transformations and Mistranslations

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Overview

Ever since Norman Lear remade the BBC series Till Death Us Do Part into All in the Family, American remakes of British television shows have become part of the American cultural fabric. Indeed, some of the programs currently said to exemplify American tastes and attitudes, from reality programs like American Idol and What Not to Wear to the mock-documentary approach of The Office, are adaptations of successful British shows. Carlen Lavigne and Heather Marcovitch's American Remakes of British Television: Transformations and Mistranslations is a multidisciplinary collection of essays that focuses on questions raised when a foreign show is adapted for the American market. What does it mean to remake a television program? What does the process of "Americanization" entail? What might the success or failure of a remade series tell us about the differences between American and British producers and audiences? This volume examines British-to-American television remakes from 1971 to the present. The American remakes in this volume do not share a common genre, format, or even level of critical or popular acclaim. What these programs do have in common, however, is the sense that something in the original has been significantly changed in order to make the program appealing or accessible to American audiences. The contributors display a multitude of perspectives in their essays. British-to-American television remakes as a whole are explained in terms of the market forces and international trade that make these productions financially desirable. Sanford and Son is examined in terms of race and class issues. Essays on Life on Mars and Doctor Who stress television's role in shaping collective cultural memories. An essay on Queer as Folk explores the romance genre and also talks about differences in national sexual politics. An examination of The Office discusses how the American remake actually endorses the bureaucracy that the British original satiri

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Editorial Reviews

June M. Madeley
This multidisciplinary collection of essays highlights some successful transformations and some mistranslations in television programming remade from British originals for American audiences. The case studies offer a timely interrogation of transnational popular culture with resonance beyond the televisual.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739146729
  • Publisher: Lexington Books
  • Publication date: 3/31/2011
  • Pages: 258
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Carlen Lavigne is a professor of communications at Red Deer College in Alberta, Canada. Heather Marcovitch is a professor of English at Red Deer College in Alberta, Canada.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction Carlen Lavigne Heather Marcovitch ix

I Methods and Mechanics

1 British Television in the American Marketplace Jeanette Steemers 1

2 No Contest: American Idol and the Culture of Competition Daniel Downes 17

3 Americanization, Hollywoodization, or English-Language Market Variation? Comparing British and American Versions of Cracker Albert Moran 35

4 A Hollywood Gamble: Blackpool, Viva Laughlin, and the Failed Mechanics of Americanization Carlen Lavigne 55

II Personal and Political

5 Public Education: What Not To Wear in the United Kingdom and the United States Jennifer Andrews Priscilla L. Walton 75

6 "Making Do" vs. "Making Anew": What Not to Wear in Britain and America Lisa Emmerton 99

7 "There's nowt as Queer as Folk": British and American Televisual Approaches to the Politics of Homosexuality Silvia Barlaam 117

8 Friend, Boss, and Entertainer? The Embattled Self as a Guiding Theme in the British and American Productions of The Office Janet J. Boseovski Stuart Marcovitch 143

III Text and Context

9 Memory and the 1996 American Remake of Doctor Who Karen Hellekson 159

10 Memories of Mars: Life on Mars and the Discursive Practices of Memory Heather Marcovitch 173

11 Translating the Hyperreal (Or How the The Office Came to America, Made Us Laugh, and Tricked Us into Accepting Hegemonic Bureaucracy) Paul Booth Brian Ekdale 193

12 Come On Over! The African Americanization of Steptoe and Son James W. Martens 211

Index 227

About the Contributors 235

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