The other night we were watching television and I hear a promo for “Walker, Texas Ranger.”
We have an over the air antenna which provides about 40 opportunities to watch “Walker, Texas Ranger” a day so I thought little about it. But this time, the music was different. Then I looked at the screen.
Some young actor who has been chasing ghosts on a show called “Supernatural” comes riding up on a horse wearing a badge and was supposed to be Walker, Texas Ranger.
Oh boy, now they’ve remade this one.
American television no longer seems capable of writing an original script. The kicker for me was when they brought back what they called “Magnum P.I.” a couple of seasons ago.
For me, that was much like an all girl group singing George Jones (which I have unfortunately heard in person) – it just did not need to happen. And they made Higgins a woman?
Thankfully, ChargeTV, WCTI-12’s third channel on my over air antenna, offers a few times a night to watch actual “Magnum P.I.” episodes and not Magnum Lite as I call it.
American television seems to be struggling for a new idea. For decades writers have ripped off British television for a number of the shows that became hits.
No offense to the great Norman Lear, but both “Sanford and Son” and “All in the Family” were adapted from British hits.
“Sanford and Son” was based on the U.K. comedy “Steptoe and Son” which aired in 1962. “All in the Family” was based on “Till Death Do Us Part” which first aired in 1966.
“Three’s Company” was closely derived from the U.K.’s “Man About the House”. According to some television historians, the two shows even shared some dialogue.
My Dad spent much of his Air Force service years in England. When I was a kid, he introduced me to classic British comedies such as “Fawlty Towers” with the amazing John Cleese.
In 1999, John Larroquette starred in a cruel adaptation of the Cleese classic called “Payne.” Let’s just say I am not sure how it went nine episodes.
It’s not just comedies we have stolen from BBC TV.
Shows like “Antiques Roadshow” came from across the pond. The U.K. series has been running on the BBC since 1979. Our American version has been on since 1997.
“Cash Cab” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” are also retakes from our allies. “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” began as a BBC radio series.
“Trading Spaces” and “Dancing With the Stars” – straight out of the U.K.
Dear Hollywood, I beg of you. Please seek out writers capable of original thoughts. There are creative writing courses available online.
Thadd White is Editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance and can be reached via email at email@example.com.