By Daniel Mark Carr
It looks like the latest international television programme to be lined up for broadcast in China is… The Office. Ricky Gervais wrote in his blog on Thursday; “I have some amazing news … We are about to start work on developing a Chinese ‘The Office.’ How cool is that?”
The Office, a ‘mockumentary’, was originally broadcast in Britain back in 2001. It successfully secured an adoring fan base and was awarded numerous awards including awards at the British Comedy Awards and the Golden Globes.
Since its broadcast it has been successfully remade for the US market and foreign language versions have been produced for France, Germany, French-speaking Canada and Chile. A Hebrew version for Israel is also awaiting completion.
Gervais went in to no detail about how he will transfer the concept to suit Chinese audiences. Gervais could, however, be facing a big challenge when he has to recreate the dynamics of an English satellite town in either Jiangsu or Guangdong provinces.
This news comes after the announcement earlier this year that ‘High School Musical’ would be remade, as well as rather risqué ‘Gossip Girl’; which is currently in the pipelines to be remade.
‘High School Musical’ was first released four years ago and has millions of devoted fans. Now in a strange combination, two of the most influential ideologies of recent times will unite as ‘High School Musical’ is remade for a Chinese audience. The Chinese remake will not be a direct lift from the original concept which persuades teens to not to ‘stick to the status quo’, but will instead be focussing on the romance of two unlikely students. It is unlikely that with censorship parameters that exist, that teens will be persuaded to do much more that audition for the school choir. The Chinese remake is set to air later this year and is filmed in Shanghai.
Another unlikely coupling comes in the form of the rather avant garde ‘Gossip Girl’, which glorifies smoking, drinking and casual teen sex. Although still in the early stages, Stephanie Savage (Executive Producer), has announced that more people watch ‘GG’ online in China, than all other forms of viewing combined in the US. We wait in anticipation to see the extremes of the censorship!