Skip To Content

    16 American TV And Movie Remakes That Were Huge Mistakes

    Not everything needs an American version.

    1. Kath and Kim

    ABC, NBC

    The iconic Australian sitcom created by and starring Jane Turner and Gina Riley, about a suburban mother/daughter duo, is, well, so extremely Australian it was hard to imagine how it would work in any other setting when news was announced there would be an American remake. Unsurprisingly, it didn't work at all, despite a great cast led by Molly Shannon and Selma Blair. While it lasted 17 episodes, it fell entirely flat.

    2. Red Dwarf

    BBC, NBC youtube.com

    The cult British sci-fi comedy about a rag-tag group of losers stranded in deep space had the American treatment back in the early '90s, with not one but two pilots being created β€” both of which were pretty abysmal, failing to capture the charm of the original. Too glossy and too, well, American.

    3. Spaced

    Fox, Channel 4

    Spaced is a wonderful British sitcom that started in 1999 and was created by and starred Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, and was directed by Edgar Wright. It's about two twentysomething strangers who pretend to be a couple in order to nab an apartment.

    Fox attempted to remake the show for American audiences in 2007, but despite the pilot being filmed, the show was canceled before it aired, partly because of the negative reaction from Wright, Pegg, and Stevenson, who felt Fox had displayed a lack of respect in their attempt to adapt their show.

    4. Gavin & Stacey

    BBC, Crackle

    Created by James Corden and Ruth Jones, the original Gavin and Stacey is a sweet and funny story of long-distance romance and cultures clashing between Gavin's Essex family and Stacey's Welsh loved ones.

    A couple of American remakes were attempted β€” and failed β€” before a "successful" one was produced in 2013, renamed Us & Them. Only six episodes were filmed, with the source of the heart and humor of the original getting lost in translation.

    5. Life on Mars

    BBC, ABC

    The US version of the British series about a modern cop who has an accident and wakes up in the '70s was never quite as strong as the original, but it was the finale that was truly the greatest mistake. Instead of the poignant and rather ambiguous ending the British series provided, the American version took the title and made it literal β€” with main character Sam waking up to find himself on a mission to Mars, with everything that's happened over the course of the show merely part of a simulation to pass the time in space. Truly one of the silliest and most frustrating plot twists of all time.

    6. The IT Crowd

    Channel 4, NBC

    Americans have tried to remake hit British workplace comedy The IT Crowd not once, not twice, but THREE times, with the most notable being the first, in which Joel McHale played the character that Chris O'Down originated. It never aired but the pilot was leaked online, and it shows the classic mistakes many American adaptations repeat β€” making everyone and everything shinier, prettier, and glossier; using the same plot and dialogue that doesn't translate well into a different culture; and totally missing the mark on any new material. Yikes.

    7. The Inbetweeners

    E4, MTV

    Yet another British comedy that didn't translate well to America. The original show is a raw, raunchy, relatable, hilarious and shocking exploration of life as an awkward teen boy. The American version tried to be those things and failed, with the most awkward thing being the unfunny jokes β€” despite the show having an incredible creative team attached in Brad Copeland as showrunner and Taika Waititi as director.

    8. Skins

    E4, MTV

    Like The Inbetweeners, Skins was adapted from an E4 show in the UK to an MTV show in the US. They took an exaggerated and raunchy but ultimately raw and heartfelt drama about teen life and made it less gritty, more hollow, and with several additional nonsensical plot choices. Sadly, the new cast was nowhere near on the same level as the original, either.

    9. Miranda

    BBC, Fox

    The British Miranda was created by and starred Miranda Hart and is very much driven by her own persona and sense of comedy β€” she is what makes the show great in many ways. When the US adapted the show into Call Me Kat and cast Mayam Bialik (who is very talented, but not working with the best material material), it lost a lot of what made the original special and ended up feeling more gimmicky and cheap.

    10. A Tale of Two Sisters

    B.O.M. Film Productions, Dreamworks

    A Tale of Two Sisters is a 2003 South Korean horror that was adapted into 2009's The Uninvited. They both focus on a girl who comes home from a mental institution, reunites with her sister, and tries to expose the evil things she believes her stepmother has done. But where the original is dark and creepy, with twists that feel surprising, the remake is simply not very scary or shocking.

    11. Broadchurch

    ITV, Fox

    Despite having the same writer, director, and one of the main stars carry over from Broadchurch to its US adaptation Gracepoint, the latter was a far inferior version of the story. So many UK-to-US remakes feel unnecessary, but this one perhaps more than any. It never stopped feeling like anything other than a poorer imitation of the original, rather than standing on any strengths of its own.

    12. The Eye

    Applause Pictures, Vertigo Entertainment

    The original The Eye is a terrifying Hong Kong/Singaporean horror about a young blind woman who gets a cornea transplant that restores her sight β€” and gives her the extra ability of being able to see shadowy figures that seemingly predict death. The remake has the exact same premise and follows many of the same story beats, but is just nowhere near as effective. It's more slick, less scary, and tacks on a cheesy ending that totally misses the potency of the original.

    13. Oldboy

    Show East, FilmDistrict

    The 2003 South Korean Oldboy, directed by Park Chan-wook, is an intense and incredible twisted tale of revenge, in which a man is imprisoned in a hotel room for 15 years and upon being released must figure out who did it to him, and why. The 2013 American remake, directed by Spike Lee, tells the same broad story β€” this time, he's imprisoned for 20 years β€” but veers away from some of the original's more gruesome moments, making it ultimately feel rather shallow and pointless.

    14. Taskmaster

    Comedy Central

    Taskmaster is a very funny British variety show in which a new group of comedians each season compete to win ridiculous "tasks" while mercilessly mocking themselves, sometimes each other, and most of all being mocked by host Greg Davies (when he's not mocking co-host and series creator Alex Horne). The American version, which was cancelled after one season, didn't really work β€” it seems the genius of the format relies on the self-deprecating humor of Brits rather than the competitive loudness of Americans. Instead of feeling like everyone was in on the joke and having fun, it seemed quite mean and miserable.

    15. Fever Pitch

    Channel 4 Films, 20th Century Fox

    First of all, let's just get the obvious out of the way: Jimmy Fallon is no Colin Firth. Even when Colin Firth is playing the anti-Darcy character that he does in this movie. Aside from that, the American version of Nick Hornby's ode to soccer and its fans changes things up to be about baseball, and replaces the realistic and nuanced exploration of relationship difficulties with gross-out humor and minimal charm.

    16. Il Mare

    Blue Cinema, Warner Bros

    Not many people seem to realize that The Lake House, the 2006 romance starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, is actually a remake of Korean movie Il Mare, which came out in 2000 and stars Jun Ji-hyun and Lee Jung-jae (who Western audiences are now most familiar with for playing Gi-hun in Squid Game). Like so many other titles on this list, the American version of the strange time-shifting romance is happier, glossier, and makes much less sense than the original.