Monday, October 22, 2007

RIP Viva Laughlin

Viva Laughlin has been canceled after just two episodes, which should surprise precisely no one. The show was a muddled mess from the word go. It was an adaptation of the BBC musical murder mystery Blackpool, aired on BBC America as Viva Blackpool, and seemed determined to act out every single cliche of bad Americanizations of British TV.

Taking a limited-run show that works because it's got a limited run and turning into an aimless, open-ended mess? Check.

Taking the high-concept that's the point of the show in the first place and shunting it to the corner like that weird relative no one likes in a holiday picture? Check. The musical numbers barely showed the actors singing, or doing much of anything but walking or driving while singing.

Taking characters played by interesting-looking British people and replacing them with generically pretty American actors grown in pods? Pretty much check -- sure, Laughlin lead actor Lloyd Owen is himself a Brit, but he's much more normal looking than Blackpool's David Morrissey and his hair and wardrobe were toned down to the point of nondescriptness -- Morrissey's thinning would-be pompadour, Elvis sideburns, and bolo ties are gone, and in their place is nothing that would ever warrant a second glance on the street. Worse still is the replacement of David Tennant with some perfectly boring guy with a perfectly rhinoplastied nose.

The bottom line is that there was no point at all to making this remake; it richly deserves its cancellation and I hope it will stop any thoughts of Americanizing Stephen Moffat's amazing Jekyll series.

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