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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

No. No no no no no no no. no.

Gossip Girl Creator Josh Schwartz Is Officially Threatening to Remake E4′s Misfits in America

File this under Things That Must Be Stopped Immediately: Josh Schwartz, creator of shows including The O.C.CW‘s Gossip Girl, and NBC‘s Chuck, has apparently finalized plans to work with Misfits creator Howard Overman to develop an American version of the show. If you’ve ever seen the show, which airs on the E4 channel in the UK, you’d already know how horrible an idea this is. If you haven’t, well, you know how well American remakes of British TV shows usually go. Are there exceptions? Absolutely. Will Misfits be one of them? Only if they can use that really dirty c-word. And let’s see … nope. We still cannot do that here. Great.

This is what has happened so far and what the plan is: Schwartz will team up with Overman to work out a first draft of a pilot. This will be completed by the end of this year or the beginning of next year, at which point, they will begin shopping it around to networks. No word on who will write this script, what the format will be (the original is an hour long), or what networks they’ll be courting, but if this does make it to network TV, it’s going to be a shadow of its original self. And that’s terrible.

Yes, British shows have been remade into American shows and found success — The Office, SyFy‘s Being Human, Three’s Company, numerous reality and game shows. But for every one of these imports that is a success, there is Coupling, Free Agents, Viva Laughlin! (based on Blackpool), AbFab, As If … you get the idea. (Also coming soon: the American Inbetweeners.) Generally speaking, shows that are very dependent on the culture of the U.K. (and its liberal nature) feature humor that is lost in translation when the American version is written. (Can you even imagine America trying to make its own Doctor Who? And no, I am not comparing Misfits to Doctor Who, but still. Still.)

If Josh Schwartz was going to be making a show using only the most bare-bones elements of Misfits without actually calling it “Misfits,” that might not be such an issue. The premise of delinquent young adults gaining superpowers during a freakish storm is very appealing — making superheroes out of the last people we’d expect or want to become superheroes. The show has found huge success on Hulu, ranking as one of the site’s most streamed shows and accumulating about 9 million views since this past summer. But Schwartz wants to make an American Misfits, a show that is so definitively British. Overman was asked last year about his feelings on moving the show to an American setting, and he is skeptical about it:

“… The idea was always to do a very British take on the superhero genre… and would that translate back to America? I don’t know.”

I don’t know either. It sounds totally redundant. Or like we’re trying to laugh at a joke that’s being made about us that we don’t get is being made about us, or that we don’t recognize as a joke. Either Overman had a major change of heart, or they offered him a great deal of money. I’m guessing it was the latter.

Here is why this is such a bad idea:

Misfits has drawn comparisons to Skins — another British show that America tried to copy, but didn’t succeed — for its gritty depiction of teen sex. And we know how well America responds to any sex on TV, let alone that of the teen variety. Simply put, the sexuality and nudity that is a rather significant part of the show (a part that has made it so well-known for being so raw) would never fly on American television, especially not on network TV. That, plus the language, would render it premium cable territory only.

It’s easy to see why adapting Misfits would be so attractive. As I said, the premise is interesting; it’s even been compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer for its combination of sci-fi/horror and sharp wit. Across the pond, the show has won the BAFTA for best drama series, and it’s been so successful at developing characters who are incredibly flawed (even unlikeable) but still sympathetic and entertaining to watch.

But when stripped of its most stark, unforgiving, and racy elements, it just won’t be Misfits anymore. Describing the show to those who haven’t seen it, New York Magazine says to “Think the good, first season of Heroes with Buffy-esque snark and a similar Scooby-ish gang.” But as great as that sounds (and it’s a pretty accurate description), they’re forgetting something about what set Misfits apart: its unapologetic raunchiness.

If Josh Schwartz wants to make a show loosely based on Misfits about a bunch of working class teen superheroes who barely even want to be superheroes or don’t know how to use their powers for unselfish reasons, then that would be fine. That could even be great. But it can’t be Misfits. Because it is nothing without a character like ultra-chav Kelly Bailey, whose Derby accent needs subtitles, and Nathan Young, who can barely breathe without saying the word “cunt.” (We don’t even have chavs. You know what we have? These things.)

No, really: Watch this scene, which I’ll warn you is very graphic and pretty much everything about it is NSFW, and tell me how in the name of sweet sassy molassy they’re going to water this down for American television while maintaining everything that’s uniquely demented about it:

I rest my case.

(New York Magazine via AV Club)

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  • Anders


  • Jocelyn Dugan

    If American television was allowed to use the word “cunt” I’d probably be a lot less aggressive on my commute to work.

  • Talia

    I had only heard of this show before, but never seen it. That clip was pretty hilarious. I hope America does keep their dirty mitts off it.

  • Julianne McCartney

    You really gotta watch “Misfits” if i you haven’t seen it. It’s all around amazing. Go watch it! QUICKLY BEFORE IT’S RUINED BY A REMAKE.

  • Komiyan

    Oh god, imagine an American-accented Kelly..

    No, neither can I. And that NY magazine description is dreadful, it’s not similar to Buffy at all, unless I missed the one where Xander had sex with a granny and kept a dead woman in a freezer for weeks.

  • Kifre

    NO! Bad producer! Just find an American channel on which to air the original!

  • Stephen Dudley McPherson

    It won’t work. Plus they’ll probably get really attractive people to star in it, not the pretty average looking lot in the original.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    That scene was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.  SOOO CHILDFREE am I.

  • thelovelyjazmin

    Xander probably would have done that, though. That’s the sad part.

  • Holly Dean – Young

    Is this just going to be teenage Alphas?

    Misfits was on at the same time as Heroes in England so to be honest I always figured that Misfits had been americanised already! The way both dealt with their teenaged ‘powered’ characters was an accuate reflection of cultural differences.

    I have to agree that Misfits won’t translate to America – it is deliberately created to be like that as America already has a rich superhero history. Misfits has to be rough and ready because otherwise it is the slick and polish of Marvel/DC adaption (Smallville being a good example of how teenage superheros would be presented in America – it works in that enviroment but would seem ‘cheesy’ in Britain).

    Saying that the Chronicles movie trailers looks good and that seems to be american misfits in movie form.

  • geoff kl

    can someone please ask overman what made him change his mind about allowing for an american version

    cant be money, its a spec script

    what makes the show great is that it is a purely brit take on an american creation

    also, expanding it beyond, lets say 14 epis, would kill the show…would turn into  freak of the week show

  • geoff kl

    wanna talk stupid?

    not one american cable channel asked to buy the show…so it got put on hulu

    9 mil viewers per epi

    hollywood is filled with retards

  • Lindsay Eckert

    NOOOOOOOO!!!!!  I’m FROM America and even I think that would be an absolute travesty. 

    The worst part about it, is that Misfits only just recently became available or known in the US via Hulu and Hulu Plus.  It’s not a widely known show even still.  Many people would go in blind watching the US version and wouldn’t even know it was based on the amazing original series. 

    God that’s upsetting.  The real series is so effing fantastic.  It’s one of my favorite shows of all time, the storyline, the actors, the dark humor…. it’s so amazing.  No way in hell can they reproduce the talent of those actors. 

  • Goth

    Misfits is awesome, being American myself it would be interesting to see a remake though I agree with the consensus. Nothing will be able to beat the original. Also lmfao pmsl @ Kelly with an american accent they’d probably make her sound like she came from a backward hick town. (Imagines the hills have eyes…)

  • Liam Fitzgerald

    The “average looking lot” that was the whole point of the show, lmao if america needs “attractive” performers in their show, then they shouldn’t be making a remake.

  • Charon Simmons

    I laughed for like a minute straight when nathan stomped out and called the after birth an alien

  • Lupe

    Im American and I know they are going to fuck everything up!

  • Frederick Noel Taylor Jr

    An American Misfits remake? Please, please, please no. Please don’t do this. Unless it’s on Showtime or something…no, not even then. Can you imagine? Set in L.A., a mismatched set of kids on probation doing Community Service. I envision an African-American Valley girl, a redneck girl from a trailer park, an Asian computer nerd, A smartass kid from Beverly Hills, an African-American high school football star. They will never be allowed to kill one probation worker much less three. Dramatically cleaned up language, more t.v. porn sex scenes than it has already, of course it will have a bigger budget so, yay more expensive powers effects. Undoubtedly it would have a different theme song, that in itself would be bad enough.

  • Angie Luci Daniels

    It’s not Hollywood, it’s the executives. Trust me, anyone with really creative ideas can only get them onto cable or online. The only way I’ll watch the American version is if they sort out Simon and Alicia and let them move over here :)

  • John William Bittner

    Will It Work: No judgement yet. A remake of the wildly popular E4 drama that many critics described as “Skins with superpowers”.

    Why: It’s just too early to tell. Depending on which
    network develops it, it could be just as gritty as its predecessor, or
    be hugely toned down. This one could be a success or a failure depending
    significantly on the cast, and which network picks it up. It has to be a
    positive that Misfits creator Howard Overman is involved, though whether or not the involvement of Josh Schwartz, the man behind The O.C., Chuck, and Gossip Girl,
    is a good or bad sign is debatable. The series is very popular on the
    video streaming website Hulu which indicates that the developers may be
    onto something.

  • John William Bittner

    It is money. BTW America had a show called Heroes. Misfits is a good show but its a take on heroes and your Skins show.

  • Naprox

    No, he won’t use a cookie cutter version of UK.
    Sadly we Americans couldn’t handle real life TV show that shows
    Us in a bad light.

    I’d go with a group of teens soon to be 20′s
    Placed in a correctional program that’s like scared straight
    With community Service.

    The group would have a dorm like setting/ farm.
    Where the group is taken to cities to work.

    Plus you couldn’t put it on the main networks.

    It wouldn’t do the show justice.

  • Naprox

    Could make it a web only show?

  • Donnie .A. Ashley

    I hope they don’t change or mess up anything about the powers, especially Alisha’s power.