As drama moves between different cultures, locations and nationalities, it is expected that it would need to change and develop to fully connect with its audience. Right?
Maybe not. It is genuinely perceived that if a culture that is different from the one that the show originally emanates from, it would be necessary to adapt. This is true for most cases. Take for instance, the Sherlock Homes adaptation ‘Elementary’ that has been “trouncing Sherlock in several important areas” (Asher-Perin, 2014). How is it that Elementary was successfully Americanised, and the Skins US version failed miserably?
This video combines the identical first episode of Skins UK and Skins US scene by scene, however after the pilot the US version deviated from the original plot. Episode by episode, the US audience shrunk until it was cancelled after its third season (the UK version had 7 seasons). There were various factors that contributed to the failure of Skins US, but the one that was perceived as the main contributor was the censoring of strong language as well as cutting out the graphic sex and violence scenes. These raw, bold and confronting scenes and issues that were present in the UK version are what made it both relatable and realistic to the targeted demographic, and by removing the realistic elements of the show for the US version, it essentially disengaged with the audience.
Although the American producers believed that was what needed to be changed in order to appeal to American culture, they were unsuccessful in carrying the original theme, which was showing an uncensored, raw and realistic life of an average teenager. In this case, it was not necessary to change anything major about the show as the navigation of adolescence is relatable all over the globe (although different ideologies may differ).
Asher-Perrin, E 2014, ‘Battling Super Sleuths: The Awkward Case of Elementary, Sherlock, and Building the Better Adaptation’, TOR, Weblog post, 24/02/2014, viewed 25/09/2014, <http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/02/battling-super-sleuths-the-awkward-case-of-elementary-sherlock-and-building-the-better-adaptation>
Adler, T 2011, ‘UK ‘Skins’ Not as Controversial as in US’, Deadline, Weblog post, 28/01/2011, viewed 25/09/2014, <http://deadline.com/2011/01/uk-skins-not-as-controversial-as-in-u-s-99292/>