TV Series You (Maybe) Didn't Know Were Remakes

By Daniel Carlson | Seriously Random Lists | July 13, 2010 |

"Queer as Folk"
Showtime's series ran for five seasons and was based on a show of the same name that aired on Channel 4 from 1999-2000. Early stories mirrored the British series before branching out into original territory.

"Sanford and Son"
Turk's love for it notwithstanding, "Sanford and Son" is a redo of "Steptoe and Son," which ran in the U.K. from 1962-1965 and from 1970-1974. Between this and "All in the Family," I'm starting to think of Norman Lear less as a pioneer and more as a combination gifted writer/shrewd producer.

"All in the Family"
Based on "Till Death Do Us Part," which ran from 1965-1975. Yes, the classic American sitcom that made racism lovable was a reworked import from Mother England. Some more weird trivia: "All in the Family" begat "Maude," which begat "Good Times," and both of those shows were later remade in England, though they weren't related to the original "Till Death Do Us Part." This is a little like being in Tommy Westphall's brain.

"Not Necessarily the News"
The HBO comedy-news show that ran from 1983-1990 was based on "Not the Nine O'Clock News," which aired on BBC 2 from 1979-1982. The British version led to "Blackadder"; the American one gave us sniglets. Judge accordingly.

"Trading Spaces"
There have actually been several U.S. reality series based on British ones -- "Wife Swap" and "Supernanny" among them -- but this is the least annoying. Two couples switch houses and use designers to remake rooms. Based on "Changing Rooms," this is the harmless show your girlfriend watched in college. "Trading Spaces" ended its eight-year run in 2008.

"Dear John"
This was a pretty straight-ahead remake, a la "The Office," right down to using the original show's name. In both, a middle-aged teacher gets a "Dear John" letter from his wife dumping him, after which he joins a singles' club. The NBC edition aired from 1988-1992.

"Three's Company" / "Three's a Crowd" / "The Ropers"
Scratch what I said earlier; this is the one that feels like an alternate universe. The British series "Man About the House" inspired "Three's Company." Its spin-off "Robin's Nest" was turned into "Three's a Crowd." And finally, "George and Mildred" was turned into "The Ropers." Yes, every single part of the shit empire that was "Three's Company" was based on something else. It's not just the plots that are derivative, but the show's entire reason for being.

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