I have to admit that I have not seen the original series, which I am happy about because I will be able to watch the American version with a fresh set of eyes. (I’ll watch tonight’s episode, which is apparently a shot-for-shot remake of the British pilot tonight, and the first original episode next Tuesday night before getting the BBC version’s DVD and comparing.)
There are plenty of television shows set in workplaces, of course, but they tend to be either doctors, lawyers or cops, because when you cut out all the paperwork, that stuff’s kind of exciting. In other workplace shows, where what happens when you cut out the paperwork isn’t as dramatic, what people do is largely irrelevant to the hilarity that never quite ensues. (If anyone here remembers Working, starring Fred Savage, well, I apologize.)
Devotees of the original don’t want this show to succeed, it seems, but why not? They’re not making any more of the British version, and it’s not as if there’s a lack of material to satirize about white-collar work here in the good ole USA. The British guys didn’t hand their baby over to some jackass; the showrunner Greg Daniels is a respected Simpsons and King of the Hill vet. (That said, recent imports such as Coupling have been abject disasters.)
So I’m hoping The Office is good, or at least good enough that it gets a chance. I’ll liveblog the show tonight and report in tomorrow with ratings.