Like many things British, Channel 4's sci-fi anthology [Black Mirror](movie:1427485) has created, thanks to its availability on Netflix, something of a cult following in the United States. If you're not already addicted to it, first off, what the hell is wrong with you, and second, please remedy this ASAP. It's unlike anything on TV at the moment, and it has more than earned its cult status.
When the news broke today via Variety that an American version is in the works, I audibly groaned.
There have been a few American remakes, such as [The Office](series:723298) and [House of Cards](series:726551) that became entirely their own thing and, I'd argue, even better than the original British series that came before. So it's not that I automatically think American remakes of British series are a bad idea.
It's just that I think an American remake of this show is a bad idea.
One of the reasons Black Mirror has enthralled us so much is that it's not afraid to go to dark places. Dark, twisted, psychologically disturbing places. I have a running joke with friends that if you can watch more than two episodes in a row without needing a drink, then I seriously question the condition of your soul.
Unfortunately, I don't see any U.S. studio execs signing off storylines as, frankly, f'ed up as those in Black Mirror. Perhaps I'm wrong and the series' wild popularity on Netflix has shown them that American audiences are fully willing and able to embrace black, complex storylines, but I just don't see that happening.
Yet even if they were to green-light a show this dark, what's the point of remaking it? (Other than money, of course.) The thing that makes the show is its tone, and if the British version of Black Mirror already strikes it perfectly, why bother remaking that? It will be a pale imitation at best or a needless paint-by-numbers remake with no identity of its own, other than toned-down British slang.
A solution: Black Mirror has been touted since its inception to a tech-based, sci-fi Twilight Zone. So if there's such interest in creating an American version of it, why not simply reboot The Twilight Zone for modern day audiences?
So yeah. I truly do hope that, if an American version of Black Mirror forges ahead, it does turn out to be something brilliant and uniquely its own.
But if not, at least I'll always have the real thing.