It seems like every day there is news of a TV show or movie being remade or a classical property being rebooted. This phenomena is not new, stories have been remade and repurposed since there have been stories. Sometimes it can work out great on TV, often times it does not. Here is a list of 11 of the worst remakes ever.
#11 Wonder Woman (2011)
This could have taken the number one spot, but since Wonder Woman never made it to the TV airways, the pilot only airing online, this remake has been saved from humiliation. David E. Kelley tried to recreate the popularity of 1977 show by doing his own take on the iconic superheroine. He failed miserably. It was doomed from the beginning with a truly terrible costume design that looked like it barely fit and got only worse from there. It completely misused its lead Adrianne Palicki, a practice Hollywood would continue until she was cast as Bobbi Morse in Agents of SHIELD. It was terrible misunderstanding of the character. She brutally tortured a man for information needlessly. Her ideal of a regular woman’s life was watching romantic comedies with her cat and crying over her ex-boyfriend.
#10 Get Smart (1995)
The original Get Smart was created by the unequivocal comedic genius of Mel Brooks and starred Don Adams in an incredible role. The remake still had Don Adams as Max Smart but focused on his wacky son, Zach, played by Andy Dick. Mel Brooks might have made that paper-thin premise work but he wasn’t involved. The show was cancelled after just seven episodes.
#9 Gracepoint (2014)
Gracepoint wasn’t a terrible show. It was actually pretty well-made and attracted some serious actors. The problem with Gracepoint is it was too similar to the UK show from which it was remade, Broadchurch. There were some notable differences, like the ending for instance. However, almost half of its run was just the same show with mostly different actors. David Tennant played the same character in both versions but in the US version he used a distracting American accent. If you’re going to do a remake, a copied and pasted version is pretty boring and not to mention creatively lacking way to take it. Gracepoint aired its short season to completion and was cancelled for incredibly low ratings.
#8 Beauty and the Beast (2012-)
It has been plugging along steadily on the CW for a few seasons and has developed a fan base. I’m not among them. I found the fact that Jay Ryan was supposed to be beastly because his relatively small facial scar laughable. I recognize that it’s become more about the threat of his transformation to a much more monstrous form that makes him beastly but it’s still rather cheap. There’s a repetitive formula to Beauty and the Beast as well. She keeps telling everyone, including him, he’s not dangerous. He does something dangerous and angst follows. Repeat ad nauseam.
#7 Charlie’s Angels (2011)
People likely remember the movie remake of 2000 and its sequel but I doubt anyone remembers this TV remake. It had Minka Kelly and a hunky Bosley (if that’s something you’re into) but it was rather lifeless. It took itself far seriously for a Charlie’s Angels remake and it was cancelled after only four episodes.
#6 Knight Rider (2008-2009)
This took another campy show and tried desperately to make it gritty. It took all the fun of the original and replaced with explosions and brooding. It also replaced Tony Daniels with Val Kilmer at the voice of KITT and no The Hoff anywhere in sight. It was not good.
#5 Coupling (2003)
This is the first remake of an UK comedy on the list but it won’t be the last. The original Coupling was created in the UK due to the popularity of Friends in that country. The remake of Coupling for the US was created in a response of Friends ending its 10 year run. Thanks to that country’s more relaxed regulations laws, the UK version was pretty edgy and funny. The US remake was neutered and didn’t feel like much more than cheap copy of Friends. It barely made it four episodes before it was cancelled.
#4 Bionic Woman (2007)
This was disappointing. David Eick was the executive producer of Battlestar Galatica, one of the best remakes ever. When he created Bionic Woman he was remarkably less successful. It had a much higher budget than the original and Katee Sackhoff as a villain but that couldn’t save it. Ironically it was much less than the sum of its parts and was quickly cancelled after 8 episodes.
#3 The Inbetweeners (2012)
The UK original is a great comedy dealing with a group of dysfunctional young adults’ misadventures. The MTV remake was a terrible comedy dealing with a group of dysfunctional young adults’ misadventures. The US version borrowed many of the same gags as the original with none of the edge or comedic timing. It aired all of its 12 episodes in its first season but MTV cancelled it.
#2 Skins (2011)
This is the second MTV remake of a much better UK show to make the list. It’s pilot was almost a shot for shot remake of the original pilot with worse actors. The actors from the UK show went on to become recognizable talent in high profile movie and TV projects. The actors of the MTV show did not. It was cancelled after its short first season.
#1 Payne (Fawlty Towers) (1999)
The iconic British sitcom Fawlty Towers was remade for American screens not once, not twice but four times. Three of those made it to air and they were all quickly cancelled. I’m singling out the 1999’s remake that was titled Payne. It had the acting talent of people like John Laroquette and Julie Benz and the premise of the original but nothing else. It was standard sitcom shlock, proving Fawlty Towers without John Cleese is nothing. John Cleese did agree to appear in the second season but Payne was cancelled after thee months, or rather 9 episodes.
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Derek is a Philadelphia based writer and unabashed TV and comic book junkie. The time he doesn’t spend over analyzing all things nerdy he is working on his resume to be the liaison to the Justice League.