Saturday 18 October 2014

Breaking News: The Untimely Death Of William M Dean

Last night, I watched the first episode of Gracepoint for no better reason than that it was filmed in Victoria and a friend was in it, as an extra. Gracepoint is a murder mystery based on a British series called Broadchurch.

After the first episode, I felt that it was almost something special and wondered if the original, British show might be a bit better. Further, I was not in love with David Tennant's portrayal of the lead detective and thought a change of lead actor might prove positive. So, I watched the first episode of Broadchurch and was startled to find that Gracepoint was a scene-by-scene, line-by-line, word-by-word copy of the original! But with slightly better actors, including David Tennant who proves markedly better at portraying an Englishman than an American.

I watched the whole thing, partly because it was better, and partly because I wanted to examine the minute differences in the scripts. There were extremely few.

Afterward, I was caught by a thought that I won't be able to shake loose until I've written something. Which brings us all to here and now.

The thought was this: Why was it that somehow it was profitable to translate a hit tv show into English, from it's original English?

Along the same lines, I began to think about the fact that it was filmed in and around Victoria, BC, in Canada, but set in a mythical California coastal town. Translating the action from small town Canada to small town USA. Potato/potato, tomato/tomato... ok, that doesn't work in print.

The producers even felt the need to translate the title.

All of this, no doubt, to make the show more marketable in the USA.

When you think about why that might be worth the trouble, it is disturbing: Americans have trouble caring about anyone unless they are so similar as to be, basically, Americans.

I am Canadian—which is basically American—and this explains why I've always hoped that if my plane goes down in a fiery crash, a 90-point headline will read: "William M. Dean and 397 others Die in Horrific Accident."

Smiling in Gracepoint is just creepy.
Every resident of Gracepoint is too mad to smile. 
Obvious conclusion: You'd have to be mad to move to Gracepoint!

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