Continuing their aversion to actual “Music Television,” MTV recently announced that THE INBETWEENERS will soon be joining an ever-expanding list of UK hits (Including: Showtime’s SHAMELESS, Syfy’s BEING HUMAN, MTV’s SKINS to name a few) to be adapted for American audiences. A move, that while not unexpected, got this TV Addict thinking: Wouldn’t it be neat if we could talk to an actual UK television addict to find out what’s in the pipeline? Enter a real-life Londoner with a passion for American TV Nawfal Faizullah, who through the magic that is the internet was kind enough to pen a preview as to what British shows North American audiences should expect to see on their small screens next.
What’s it about: THE INBETWEENERS follows the lives of four socially incept suburban teenagers as they attempt to make their way through high school.
Why it will work: MTV certainly thinks so, having already announced a 12 episode pickup, produced by ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT writer Brad Copeland, alongside original series creators Damon Beesley and Iain Morris. Brad Copeland not only wrote some of the best episodes of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, including the episode in which Gob agrees to be placed in prison so that he can stage an escape, but was also a writer for NEWSRADIO and MY NAME IS EARL, while Damon Beesley and Iain Morris were involved in HBO’S fantastic FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS prior to creating THE INBETWEENERS
When THE INBETWEENERS first launched in the UK is was frequently compared to the much hyped SKINS, which had already aired its critically acclaimed first and second season on the same network. But while SKINS featured a hyper-sexualized portrayal of teenage life, with even star Nicholas Hoult describing the series as existing within a “heightened” reality, THE INBETWEENERS was instead praised for its more accurate portrayal of adolescence, with the characters frequently failing in their quest to take part in “adult” activities and be seen as “proper adults”. By focusing on the humor of mundane every day life, THE INBETWEENERS is far removed from the world of GOSSIP GIRL and 90210, instead more closely resembling NBC’s THE OFFICE, which was praised early in its run for the relatable humour found from working in an office environment. With great writers and a promising cast, including Zack Pearlman from THE VIRGINITY HIT, THE INBETWEENERS could succeed for MTV where SKINS failed.
What’s it about: Another series featuring teenagers, this time with superpowers! MISFITS revolves around a group of teenaged delinquents ordered to perform community service. After a mysterious electrical storm awards the group with superpowers, ranging from invisibility to mind reading, they are forced to not only deal with their new found power, but also discover that they are not the only ones who have been given special abilities.
Why it will work: While networks have had little success with superhero-centric shows this season, THE CAPE and NO ORDINARY FAMILY both failing to attract an audience, the first season of NBC’s HEROES proved that this genre could be successful on television if done right. MISFITS is a perfect example of this. What made HEROES so enjoyable during its first season was the sense of joy and excitement felt but most of the characters when gaining their powers, a feeling that greatly diminished as the series began to get weighed down by its mythology and character angst.
MISFITS does not involve a battle between good vs. evil, the characters have not been tasked with saving the world, and the angst has been kept to a minimum. Instead, the delinquent teenagers have fun with their powers, even when battling other super-powered villains, and it is the fun and silliness of the series that really comes though. The series can be dark, with characters dying frequently, but it is also funny, exciting, superbly written, and with the right cast this could be a huge hit in America.
What’s it about: HUSTLE follows a group of con artists who specialize in daring and intricate long cons.
Why it will work: Although AMC already co-produced the third and fourth season of HUSTLE with the BBC, an American remake of the series would be a perfect fit for CBS or the USA Network. Much like the majority of CBS’ line up, HUSTLE is extremely procedural, with each episode revolving around a new long con for the gang to participate in. Part of the fun with HUSTLE is the satisfaction in seeing these elaborate cons come together, with the series taking a great deal of effort in not only the intricacies of the plans, but also the feeling that those being conned deserve being tricked in such a way. The team adhere to the rule “you can’t cheat an honest man”, instead finding a mark that is already involved in illegal activities and then using their greed against them. In this way HUSTLE should be able to avoid the problems many found with FOX’s LONE STAR earlier this season, with the audience taking pleasure in seeing greedy men being conned out of their money instead of sympathizing with them.
While HUSTLE introduces a new con each week, it is the characters and their interactions with each other that is the real focus of the series. Much like CBS’ popular NCIS franchise, which succeeds because of the relationship between Gibbs and his team or Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J in NCSI:LA, the reason why audiences will come back to HUSTLE each week is to watch how the relationships with the characters in the team develop, with series producer Simon Crawford Collins describing the interactions within the group as making the plot-lines “almost irrelevant”.
Nawfal Faizullah is a contributing writer to The TV Addict. He lives in London, has a passion for American television, and dreams about one day crash landing on the island from LOST. Contact Nawfal at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter (@mightynaf).