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Monday, March 16, 2009

Law and Order International

Just doing some random googling, and I discovered that this much-hyped TV series has now started airing!

Ladies and gentlemen, it's the official British re-make of Law & Order, which is now a proud member of the franchise under the title Law & Order: UK:

Of course, right away for me, it earns its nerd cred for its casting of Freema Agyeman as the character of court prosecutor Alesha Philips, who fills that Law & Order stock role of "feisty young female ADA."

It's first season consists of 13 episodes...over in the UK, they're about 4 episodes in right now. For the first season, each episode is a flat-out re-make of an episode of the original American version, only with the appropriate changes made to make it work in British culture and the British legal system. Oh, and of course the setting was changed from New York to London.

Apparently, Law & Order creator Dick Wolf was quite involved with this British re-make, and is quite impressed with how it's turned out. According to Wikipedia, he's even lobbying NBC to pick it up for American re-broadcast.

And you know, that's why this first made headlines when it was announced around a year ago. With British television gaining ever more outlets in the USA, what with them winding up on various cable channels, there does exist a very real possibility that this'll be coming to North America.

But you know, discovering this got me digging around YouTube. This isn't the only international re-make of a Law & Order series. Before this one came along, the best-known Law & Order re-make out there was the French version of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Or, as the French re-make is known as, Paris enquetes criminelles.

The setting has been moved to Paris, and every episode is a flat-out re-make of a Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode, with the appropriate changes made to make it fit into French culture and the French legal system. Apparently, this is a condition on all these international Law & Order remakes.

But apparently the most popular of all these international Law & Order remakes is the Russian version of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. When this first premiered in Russia, apparently it was a full-on pop culture phenomenon. Same rules apply...setting changed to Moscow, and each episode is a flat-out remake of an SVU episode, with all the appropriated changes made for the Russian culture and legal system:

Here's an actual clip from the Russian Law & Order: SVU. I chose this because you get to hear the opening narration in Russian, plus you can see that it boasts what my best friend once dubbed the "low budget made in Canada" look. Seriously. It's got the look and feel of an episode of The Littlest Hobo:

The Russian re-make was so popular that it also led to a Russian remake of Criminal Intent. I could find only one clip online, and it's in good ol', super-poor "video camera filming the TV" vision:

But still, out of all these remakes, I think the best one still has to be...the Sesame Street remake of Law & Order:

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