Would you choose US drama over UK drama?

by Lynn Connolly

With ever more of the UK’s most watched dramas being imported from our cousins across the pond, we want to know if you think American dramas have raised the bar and given our home grown productions something to aspire to, or could we – should we – do without them?

There are many people who revere British drama, and rightly so, we’re good at making first class drama, and those people might argue that by buying up the rights to show so many US dramas, we’re reducing the budget for UK made shows.

On the other hand, are we only buying in so many dramas because ours just aren’t as good, as exciting or as well made?

Well, let’s make some comparisons; if it was a straight choice between buying the rights to following shows, which would you choose to buy – and no, you can’t have both! It must be one or the other.

The Bill or CSI
Casualty or ER
Star Trek or Doctor Who
Holby City or Grey’s Anatomy
This Life or Friends
Survivors or Lost

Let’s have a quick visual comparison… here’s a clip of Holby City at Christmas followed by an ER Christmas.

For me, I would definitely buy mostly the American shows. But why?

I think there are a number of reasons but it’s probably primarily because the money spent on them is much more than gets spent on making long running dramas here. That then means they have the ability to ‘buy’ a lot of what makes them great. The sets, the actors, the writers, the effects… it’s all affected by how much or how little is spent on them.

There’s also the fact that the Americans just do drama more convincingly. For instance, Trial & Retribution has been on our screens again recently and I found the character of Roisin – feisty lady detective – totally over the top and unbelievable, but I used to be glued to shows like Cagney and Lacey where hormones abounded and excessive dramatics is what made it great.

I guess then for me it comes down to the expectation that British dramas will have a certain reserve whereas American dramas can legitimately ‘go for it’ because that’s what I’m used to.

I mean, can you imagine a UK version of Lost working? A cross section of air travellers stranded off the Isle of Wight? I can’t. Nor a UK 24 for that matter. It just wouldn’t have the whammy would it?

So what do you reckon? Too much US drama, not enough and is it squeezing out UK made drama? Let us know.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.