TV

'In-Between' Comedy

On of my all-time favorite Britcoms was "The In-Betweeners," which ran for a few seasons in Britain before they did a movie.

As with seemingly everything, American TV is co-opting the idea with its own version of "The In-Betweeners," which debuts tonight on MTV at 10:30 p.m.

I can't say anything about the US version, since I haven't seen it, but the UK version was laugh-out-loud brilliant, about four high school losers who always managed to find trouble in the craziest ways.

There was Will, the narrator, who always thought himself smarter than everyone else. (He wasn't); Simon, hopelessly in love with the girl next door; Jay, whose raving hormones led him to brag about a non-existent sex life; and Neil, a complete and utter idiot, even by the rest of the group's standards.

When US shows rip off the UK versions, they tend to follow one of two methods: they either copy the show outright, with US actors saying the same lines in the same situations as their UK counterparts; or, they use the basic template, but go off and do their own thing almost from the beginning, which makes you wonder why they ripped off the UK version in the first place.

I'm not against remaking a foreign TV show in the US if it's done well. Clearly, "Homeland," based on an Israeli TV series, is one of the best shows on television. The Steve Carell version of "The Office" used the basis of the UK version, but then moved off into its own thing.

But more often than not, we get the likes of "Prime Suspect" or "Cracker" or "Life on Mars," which muddy the memories of the far superior UK originals.

I hope the new "In-Betweeners" can capture some of the magic of the original, but I'm not optimistic.

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: Still a few more reruns before the new TV season launches in September. ABC Family has new episodes of "Secret of an American Teenager" and "Bunheads" from 8-10 p.m., while TNT has new episodes of "Major Crimes" and "Perception" 9-11 p.m. SyFy has "Warehouse 13" and "Alphas" at 9-11 p.m.

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