If you’re a fan of the show The Office, you are clearly aware that the program you’ve enjoyed on NBC for many years was an American reinterpretation of the British sitcom of the same name. This is not an unusual situation. Many successful sitcoms in one country get re-interpreted and re-cast for overseas distribution.
But here’s the thing. It’s not often that you can see both the original and the re-interpretation in your own country, unless you’ve invested in a VPN or something.
A few weeks ago, I blogged about the upcoming CBS sitcom Ghosts, in which a couple renovates an old house – and then, in sitcom fashion, discover that one of them can actually communicate with the spirits that haunt the house.
Sitcom trailer below.
I mean, it’s cute and all, and I did muse about he whole “living person communicates with ghost” which essentially makes up Repetitive Sitcom Rule #15. Got it.
One of my blog readers alerted me that Ghosts was actually a remake of a British sitcom of the same name.
And although this clip says it airs on BBC, guess what – with a little searching, I found that the three seasons of the British version of Ghosts are on HBO Max in America.
And boy oh boy, is there a lot of cutting and pasting in this series.
Let’s see. Interracial couple inherits a house? Check.
House is filled with spirits and apparitions, many of whom actually died on the property? Check.
Is there a ghost that represents a hedonistic political figure – one that, for some reason, isn’t wearing pants? Check.
Is there a haughty dowager-like matron that is a direct ancestor to the living woman who can communicate with the ghosts? Check.
DO BOTH SITCOMS FEATURE A FREAKIN’ BOY SCOUT LEADER GHOST WITH AN ARROW THROUGH HIS NECK? Check.
There are some adjustments in the apparitions between the show’s two iterations; caveman (BBC) versus Viking (CBS); poetic nobleman (BBC) versus foppy Revolutionary War general (CBS), but you get the picture.
So far, I’ve sat through three CBS episodes of Ghosts, and two BBC / HBO Max editions of the show. It still is a bit jarring, bouncing from one show to the other; noticing recycled dialogue and recycled characters, but in doing so, I’m discovering a new angle to watching this series. Not just the storylines themselves, but the interpretations dedicated to each market.
I mean, what if they made a Canadian version of Ghosts? Let’s see … interracial couple inherit house in St. George de Beauce, Quebec, which is filled with the ghosts of fur trappers, a pantsless Parti Quebecois leader, a toothless hockey player, and a Boy Scout leader with an arrow through his neck.
There has to be an Australian version of this show, because then we could have … interracial couple inherits a house in Albany (Western Australia, mind you), which is filled with the ghosts of several former colonial prisoners, an Aunty Jack cosplayer, and a Boy Scout leader with an arrow through his neck.
Then again, why limit it to regions? Let’s do the Game of Thrones version of Ghosts – a couple of commoners inherit a castle in King’s Landing – which is haunted by the spirits of several Lannisters, a couple of concubines from Highgarden, a Dothraki warlord, and a Boy Scout leader from the free city of Braavos with an arrow through his neck. Valar Morghulis. Which I think is Bravassi for “Be Prepared,” or “Winter is Coming,” or something along those lines.
Trust me, I need to get all my goofy jokes out on this series right now, seeing as this show is probably destined for one season and a shuffle-off to Paramount+ or some other locale.
Just sayin’ is all…
And worst case scenario – if the CBS version gets cancelled, just port over the BBC / HBO Max version and continue the series. Outside of me … I doubt anyone will really notice the cast change.
I mean, both shows have a Boy Scout leader with a freakin’ arrow through his neck, so there’s that. 😀
One other difference between the British Ghosts and the CBS version. Rose McIver.
Problem is, as much as Rose is an attraction, there’s too many of the titular spirits for me to remain interested.
#1 Rule of TV & Movie Production: never pay for a new idea when you can just copy an old one for free.
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