How Five Classic U.S. TV Shows Would Work If They Were Set In Britain

Glee: UK

Glee: UK

Fox has announced that it is making a new 12-episode season of 24, starring Keifer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, the runny-aroundiest federal agent in the FBI. Only this time he’s going to be running around in London. Which may require some kind of raincoat, or an umbrella for the slower chase sequences.

Which begs the question: how would other classic American TV shows fare if they took a sudden seasonal vacation to Britain?

Well, using just our imaginations, let’s see, shall we?

Little House on the Prairie
In which the Ingolls family make it to England in the 1870s, only to find their skills as farming folk are unwanted. There’s a grand migration out of the countryside and into the Victorian factories of the industrial revolution, and before long, the entire family has descended into Dickensian degradation and misery, working 18 hour days just to earn enough to feed one child a week, without any chance of them raising the steamboat fare back home, or even the money to write to anyone in Walnut Grove for assistance. Subsequent seasons are renamed Corner Of A Tiny Flat In A Slum.

Glee
We are no longer in a photogenic high school in Lima, Ohio, but a grotty comprehensive in Coventry. The perky members of the glee club do not have slushees thrown in their faces because the slushee machine only lasted one lunchtime before being stolen and sold for chip money. But they do spend a certain amount of time cutting chewing gum out of each other’s hair. There is no budget for the glee club, and no cheerleaders, so everyone sits around in street clothes. And Mr Schuster didn’t last more than a week in post before local toughs bullied him out, wearing the waistband of his underpants as a hat, with Sue Sylvester meeting the same fate a week later. Oh and they don’t call it glee club, it’s country dancing. And no one goes.

CSI: Taunton
In which a team of hard-bitten forensics experts solve fiendishly complex crimes in the heart of a slightly nondescript town in the West Country. Who was sick outside of the kebab shop? Who kicked over the bollards in the precinct? Who defaced the “Welcome to Swindon” sign with a spray-painted cartoon of male genitalia? Using the very latest in scientific techniques* the team eventually hunt down the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

* In 1975

The Gilmore Girls
Instead of living in a quirky small town filled with lovably eccentric characters, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore would find themselves in Kent or Surrey, one of the old England home counties, living in a village in which Lorelai’s marital status makes her a figure of suspicion. And her ability to talk fast and smart on any subject would soon be outstripped by her sniffy neighbours, all of whom attended the top universities of England. Thus they would attain the status of village idiots, even cute-as-a-button Rory, who winds up behind the counter of the local petrol station, being condescended to by hoity madams that make her own grandmother look like Sharon Osbourne.

Elementary
“Hello, I’m Sherlock Holmes,”
“But that’s preposterous, for I am Sherlock Holmes! And this is my good friend Dr. Watson.”
“She’s not Watson! She’s a girl!”
“As you well know, women make perfectly capable doctors…”
“Capable? How dare you!”
“Keep out of this, Joan, I’m trying to talk to this bizarre individual who appears to be in the middle of an identity crisis”
“The only crisis around here is the one that is about to happen to your face, my friend”
“I, SIR, AM NO FRIEND OF YOURS!”
“Shall I just put the kettle on?”
“SHUT UP, MRS HUDSON!”

And here are five that have already been made, sort of:

The Big Bang Theory  = The IT Crowd

Scrubs = Green Wing

Community = Fresh Meat

The Daily Show = Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe

Magnum P.I. = Bergerac

Note: any similarities between these television shows has only been pointed out with light-hearted intent. Any actual similarities between these shows is clearly coincidental please don’t sue us please don’t sue us please don’t sue us.

See more: 
Five U.S. TV Shows That Have A Surprising UK Fanbase
New For 2013: ‘British Man Vs. Food’
Five Bizarre Things About British Television
Ben Stiller Recreates Classic British Kids TV Show ‘Rentaghost’

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

See more posts by Fraser McAlpine