Monday, October 15, 2007

Lost in Translation

It's not a new phenomenon. For many years, American producers have taken brilliant British television shows and attempted to translate them for American audiences.

Sometimes, they succeed. "The Office" is probably one of the better success stories. Sometimes they fail ("The Kumars", "Coupling"). But there are two very high profile projects out there waiting in the wings. One we won't see for awhile. BBC America showed "Life on Mars" last year, and now David E. Kelley is creating the American version of that show.

But right now, there's a new experiment. And I want it to succeed very much. But it probably won't, because what American television producers and executives are afraid. I'm sure they wanted to fully embrace the look and feel of "Viva, Blackpool" with their new show "Viva, Laughlin". Right now, based on what I've seen, they are chickening out.

Why don't you decide for yourself?

First, watch this promo from CBS for "Viva Laughlin", which previews this Thursday at 10 PM.

Now, the original. Granted, the CBS clip is short, but you tell me which one is more interesting to watch.

They definitely changed the story for the usage of the song too. Makes it tough to compare, I know...but try.


Anonymous said...

Viva Laughlin

What it’s about: Based on a BBC series called Blackpool, Viva Laughlin is about a guy who opens a brand new casino in a smaller city in Nevada. Did I mention that this is a musical?

What’s good: Oh sweet Lord, how I love this show. If you’d told me that CBS was going to put on an Americanized remake of an interesting but not great Brit-drama and that the characters would spontaneously start singing, I wouldn’ve told you that sounded like certain disaster. To have it turn out to be the best network show of the season (or at least my personal favorite – by a very wide margin – is damn near miraculous.

It’s important to note for the skeptical (though this might not allay any reservations) that the songs are not original compositions, but pop tunes spanning the last 40 or 50 years. “Viva Las Vegas” and Blondie’s “One Way or Another” are some notable ones. The characters don’t lip synch or merely sing…they sing along with the original track, so you can hear both at once…an interesting and confident stylistic choice.

Cast is also great. Lloyd Owen, a british actor with a long career behind him plays the lead, and he’s got just the right amount of smarmy confidence and, when the story calls for it, abject fear. And, somehow, they got Hugh Jackman (Wolverine from Oklahoma!) to play the bad guy! Melanie Griffith makes an appearance as well as a sort of washed-up femme fatale.

Viva Laughlin is totally ridiculous and extremely fun to watch. It reminded me a lot of the early seasons of Nip/Tuck, only without the mean-streak and pretentious aspirations. Oh, and with singing.

What’s not so good: Hell, I don’t know. I just really, really love this show.

Will it be a hit? FOR SURE !!!!!!
Viva Laughlin Preview - New Series From CBS

I know what I like, and I like this Show !!!

You decide if you like Viva Laughlin:

copy and paste or double click on these links:

New Clip on Viva Laughlin:

VIVA LAUGHLIN, the new mystery drama with music, will have a special preview on Thursday, Oct. 18 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) following CSI before moving to its regular Sunday (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) time period on Oct. 21 to take advantage of a two week window in the schedule without football overruns.

Thursday, Oct. 18
10:00-11:00 PM VIVA LAUGHLIN (Special Preview)

Sunday, Oct. 21
8:00-9:00 PM VIVA LAUGHLIN (Time Period Premiere)

k.h. said...

Looks like you've been attacked by a CBS marketer! Ah well.

I agree with you, the Brit version was more fun to watch... but check it out on Thursday anyway, because my boyfriend's in it. (Playing Hugh Jackman's pit boss.)

Shawna said...

Message to marketers: Please restrain your desire to use lots of exclamation points to indicate how EXCITING!!! a show is. Really, you aren't helping yourself.

I'm going to let the comment stand, simply for the link. But this is a warning: if you want me to post links to shows, email the blog. I'll be deleting any other comments like this as spam.

Anonymous said...

Gotta agree with your assessment of which is more interesting! I hope Laughlin is better than it looks. I'm gun shy of all Brit to US shows after the terrible RED DWARF..but I'll give it a go...I love music in shows, so hopefully it will be good! I'd watch Hugh Jackman brush his teeth so truly looking forward to seeing him.

k.h. said...

Now that I've re-read it... this is the single least skillful piece of "conversational" spam I've ever seen. How would this average anonymous person have even SEEN the show?