News broke yesterday that David Tennant has been cast in the US remake of hit ITV series Broadchurch. The first series of the UK version has technically already aired in the US on BBCAMERICA but soon after the huge ratings success of the ITV series US network Fox jumped at the chance to remake it for an American audience. Writer Chris Chibnall, who announced a second UK series recently, is working as an exec producer and has re-written his original scripts for the US audience.
I’m not surprised at all that Fox wants to remake Broadchurch. It was such a huge success, the buzz it created was impossible to miss and it’s an interesting story expertly told. What I am surprised about is the casting of David Tennant. Don’t get me wrong, I think Tennant is a great actor and he bought a great deal of gravitas to his role in the original, but part of me wonders why they’ve bothered remaking something and then use an original cast member. For a long time I’ve been frustrated by American remakes. I’m flummoxed as to why a network would plough so much money in a remake than show the original series they believed in so much.
We don’t remake their hits. Homeland, Breaking Bad, The Soprano’s have all been shown here without a single alteration. It baffles me why networks in the US don’t think their audiences would watch an original foreign series. The success of Downton Abbey on PBS proves there is an audience for British made television but for some reason the four major networks have never allotted any of their schedules to a UK import. It’s a mistake, a real mistake. If it follows the same rules as our original I’m certain the US remake of Broadchurch will do well for them, but for me the story is so universal it surely could’ve crossed the Atlantic without much confusion. At the end of the day the US television industry is worlds apart from ours, it’s utterly driven by ratings and money. If something isn’t an instant hit it is dropped like a stone and you never see it again. I just wish a network would have the guts to experiment a little and see whether a UK made show could garner the same audiences as their current heavy hitters.