I saw the first episode of Gracepoint last night. Gracepoint is a remake of the English show Broadchurch, which I also saw. It's almost line for line the same show, but with different accents.
But why remake it at all?
Why not just show the original? It's not that Americans can't cope with accents. The popularity of Downton Abbey and John Oliver (not to mention the sad sideshow that is Honey Boo Boo) prove that.
I understand why they are copying. TV is expensive, so if you can prove this story has been a success already, you've got a better chance of getting funding. But because they are so risk averse, there is a tendency to sanitize, to soften, to make characters more likeable. Rake and Absolutely Fabulous were sharper, harder, dirtier and a whole lot funnier in their original versions. The American remakes sanded the edges, and by doing so, ruined the shows.
The remakes that really work use the original show as a jumping off point; they save the main characters, but then take it from there. The Office, Ugly Betty, and House of Cards are as good as the originals, but they are not the same shows.
And sometimes you get a cast that just gels. One that can take average material and make it shine. Coupling was that. The American cast tried, but lightning did not strike twice. Steven's dinner party speech, about the need for privacy in the toilet, will live in my memory forever. (And I totally agree with him about potpourri.)
But back to my original point. Why not just show the original show? Surely it would be a cheaper way to fill out the TV schedule, and we wouldn't have to suffer through re-castings of old formulas: like NCIS: New Orleans or Real Housewives of Atlanta. Why should the only place to see foreign programming on American television be late-night PBS? There is literally a world full of creative people out there, why not take advantage of it?