Sometimes you have to see people try to copy even a mediocre thing to be able to appreciate it. That’s the case with That 70’s Show, a show I wasn’t very fond of. The British copy of it, Days Like These, keeps the script and most of the characters. It doesn’t completely fail. It’s almost an appealing show in its own way, but you can see why it did fail.
Now compare the American with the British. Both episodes are Sunday, Bloody Sunday, except the British version obviously changed the title, because in the UK that isn’t a reference to a tiresome U2 song that gets played too often on Lite FM stations, but to an actual bloody Sunday.
The script is the same, but the attitude is different. The brutish tough American dad has been swapped out for the brutish silent British father. But the colors are also faded. That 70’s Show was a visual assault, Days Like These is much less dedicated to treating the 70’s like a bizarre fashion disaster. And it’s laid back compared to its American cousin.
And that’s where That 70’s Show deserves credit. It wasn’t a background show. Even though it spent much of the time sitting around a basement, it had a lot of energy. There’s no way to say the same thing for Days Like These which has all the energy of a group of teenagers sitting around a garage.
That 70’s Show knew the only way to make this work is to boost everything. Days Like These is plausible. You might even argue it’s quality, if it wasn’t working off the same script, but it also fades away. That 70’s Show was loud and brash. Days Like These is like an indie movie waiting to start.
That 70’s Show was not a great series, except maybe to some of the people who grew up with it, but it worked in its own way. It was American in that brash sense that Days Like These was British. And the American way worked.
Sometimes looking at a copy of something mediocre lets you see how hard it was to make the original work.