Oh, Lord … I don’t know if this is a good thing or a very, very bad thing but Variety magazine is reporting that FOX is planning an Americanized version of the hit British comedy Absolutely Fabulous. Now, before you AbFab fans go ballistic, there is a very important element to this proposed remake … AbFab creator Jennifer Saunders (who also starred in the original version of the series) will be on board to executive produce this new version of the series. I mean, I can see how the show could be a huge success (the remake will be set in LA) but the worrier in me fears that it could also be a huge, disappointing failure:
Edina and Patsy are ready to take on L.A. Fox is developing a redo of Jennifer Saunders’ enduring Britcom “Absolutely Fabulous,” to be exec produced by Mitch Hurwitz, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum for Sony Pictures TV, Tantamount and BBC Worldwide America. Christine Zander (“Saturday Night Live”) is set to write the script and will exec produce along with the BBC’s Ian Moffet and original series creator Saunders. Fox has given Sony a script order with hefty penalty attached. The latest attempt at a U.S. rendition of “Ab Fab” will be transplanted to L.A. but retain the basic template of the original, revolving around the friendship of two boozy, over-40 best friends who are desperate to stay hip and youthful and who carry on under the disapproving eye of Edina’s teenage daughter, Saffy … Original series starred Saunders and Joanna Lumley. It was a big hit in Britain and successful import for Comedy Central. In the U.K., “Ab Fab” ran as a regular series from 1992-95, with a two-part finale airing in 1996. Saunders and Lumley reunited for further adventures with fresh segs produced in 2001 and 2003.
Personally, I am really consumed right now with the way that the new NBC remake of Kath & Kim (which debuts this week) will do before I can focus on this proposed AbFab remake. Not that one has any bearing on the other but as a fan of the original versions of both of these series, I am concerned that bad remakes might tarnish the specialness of the original incarnations of these shows. The thing I loved most about AbFab is all the stuff they were able to get away with that would generally not work (or be allowed?) on a major US television network. The appeal for me was enjoying the outrageousness of a show that American audiences were not given ready access to. If the new incarnation is able to match the spectacular wanton excess of the original version of the series, then sign me up. If it’s gonna be a watered down version of the show, then I’m really not interested. I’m encouraged that Jennifer Saunders will be involved and casting will be key … until we find out who is cast in the roles of Edina and Patsy, I’m reserving all judgment. As I said, I’m hopeful that Kath & Kim will be able to find new life as Americans but … the jury is still out. I suspect that FOX will be watching to see if and/or how well K&K does in the ratings very closely. Do any of y’all think this is a good idea?