• The Animal Kingdom adaptation. (TNT)Source: TNT
We chart the hits and misses from the American remake machine.
By
Jeremy Cassar

14 Jun 2016 - 5:43 PM  UPDATED 16 Jun 2016 - 9:52 AM

This week, the US adaptation of Animal Kingdom premieres on American TV. Will it successfully capture what made the film so captivating? Or will it fail and bring spectacular shame upon two nations?

The truth, of course, will probably lie somewhere in the middle. Americans have successfully adapted Iranian, Israeli, British, Canadian and, of course, Australian shows - but why does it feel like they always get it so wrong?

In honour of the movie Animal Kingdom (which happens to be available on SBS On Demand), and to see what may be in store for CBS's remake of Upper Middle Bogan, we decided to investigate previous efforts to redo our stuff...

 

Rake (2014)

Did it work?

Nope.

Why?

If you’re going to make a procedural show in the US, it better be darned special. Unfortunately, even keeping the original Aussie creator/writer didn’t aid the translation. For one, an ABC show was sprayed with gloss in order to appeal to an American network audience, and even more significantly, it lacked the show’s greatest strength: Richard Roxburgh. 

 

Wilfred (2011-14)

Did it work?

Yes.

Why?

It's arguably a better show than the SBS original, perhaps because Jason Gann used the remake to go deeper and darker than the Aussie run of episodes. Critics, however, were divided – some claimed it was a glorified YouTube skit writ large and others saw something more interesting - and it’s that latter group that helped the American Wilfred last for four seasons. 

 

Kath & Kim (2009)

Did it work?

F*** no.

Why?

Though you’d think it would in theory, bogan humour does not translate to the trailer park. Or even harsher, what we find funny about our bogans is kinda one-dimensional and even a little cringeworthy. (Sorry, Upper Middle Bogan.) Either way, this remake did nothing remotely resembling justice to Riley and Turner’s Aussie classic. 

 

Review With Forrest MacNeil (2014- )

Did it work?

F*** yes.

Why?

A fantastic premise easily transferable to any nation’s idiot box. The Americans have taken Myles Barlow’s original show and not only shaded its titular character (played in the US by Andy Daly) with more dimension, but broadened his world to extremes, perhaps due to an increased budget and more time to play with the story. 

 

The Slap (2015)

Did it work?

Unfortunately not.

Why?

Comedian and talk show host John Oliver loves ripping into the US version of The Slap, purely because it’s a serious show centered around someone slapping someone else. While the eight-part ABC drama series successfully translated the repressed lives and inner-conflicts of the Melbourne suburbanites in Christos Tsiolkas’ 2008 novel, Americans just couldn’t see a "slap" as compelling.

 

Watch the original film, Animal Kingdom, right here:

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