For most people in the U.S., the mere mention of Dad’s Army would prompt vacant stares and head scratching.
In the U.K., the same mention would prompt a decidedly different reaction.
Dad’s Army was a massive hit of a BBC situation comedy that ran for nine series (the U.S. calls them “seasons”) from 1968 through 1977. It also spawned a radio show, stage show and now will be a rebooted feature film that debuts on U.S. and U.K. cinemas on February 5, 2016.
Dad’s Army, the original version, is a national treasure in its home country. It ranked fourth in a national vote on the U.K.’s best sitcoms in 2004.
It is the story of a loosely organized group of men (mostly older) who have come together during the late stages of World War II to protect their small, fictional seaside town against a possible enemy invasion.
The group, called the home guard, was an actual military-affiliated group of volunteers who came forth to protect their towns during wartime.
Dad’s Army’s home guard is made up of a group of highly-eccentric characters who never engage in any combat action (though in their younger years, most of them did in the regular army). Instead, they engaged in training and readiness exercises that never prepared them because they never, ever, went according to plan.
From failure came the laughs.
Here’s why the reboot movie will become a sleeper hit:
Tradition: U.S. TV and movie fans largely take to British comedy because they are discerning enough to know that the Brits have a long and celebrated history of doing comedy well.
Those U.S. fans who are interested in the new movie can get familiar with Dad’s Army through DVD rentals via Netflix or video streaming sites.
No Controversy: In the U.K., some fans are unhappy about the reboot. In fact, some talent who worked on the new project expressed concern as to whether the fans will accept the new film.
The show is so loved that fans want to make sure the new stays true to the original. (Though seeing as how often concepts are rebooted, this shouldn’t be a worry).
Anyhow, the potential unrest likely won’t affect movie fans in the U.S.
Great Cast: A great ensemble of acting talent was assembled. Among the cast are Toby Jones, Bill Nighy, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Mark Gatiss and Katherine Zeta-Jones.
Light-hearted fare: Despite the movie being set during WWII, there are none of the horrors and excessive violence of typical war films.
Relate-able characters: All of the home guard characters of the original show have returned (thought played by different actors). Though they annoy one another quite often, they really are just a group of well-intentioned, bumbling fools.
Unlikely to be offensive: Though the film rating information is not yet available, it is likely to be no more severe than “PG.”
Time to get to know the story: If any of this interests you, there is time to find the original Dad’s Army for viewing. You’ll be glad you did.
I’ll end this with a clip from the original.