Trafficking in TV crime: remaking Broadchurch
As a genre that has evolved from a complex mix of literary, filmic, documentary and radio sources, many of which have been circulating globally for some time, television crime drama provides an illuminating lens through which to explore the issue of the television remake in an era when the transnational traffic in television renders the impulse to translate an original into a different cultural location more questionable than ever. Employing a case study approach, this essay investigates the possible motives underlying the American remake of the British crime drama Broadchurch. While the failure of Gracepoint to find an American audience may have been a disappointment to the Fox network and BBC America, as this essay will argue, it came as no surprise to reviewers and fans of Broadchurch as this had earlier been the fate of previous UK/US crime series adaptations including Cracker, Prime Suspect and Life on Mars. Success in the long run, however, may well be measured in economic rather than aesthetic returns.
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