Translation gone wrong? Or is it just different perceptions?

This post would be similar to the previous topic but we will be focusing on drama and how it successfully (or unsuccessfully) engage the audiences over various cultures, nationality and location.


The original teen drama, Skins, was British and encompasses the lives of teenagers that are almost graduating from high school in Bristol. Its interesting storyline (for me at least) comprises such controversial but realistic issues such as adolescent sexuality, drug abuse, dysfunctional families, bullying, mental disorders such as eating disorders and death. 

 The reason why I love Skins (UK)


Skins US was a remake of the original British Skins in North America but only lasted for a season. It was adapted and broadcasted on MTV but it did not connect with the American audience as it was allegedly generating controversy in its content in the United States. “Skins is a global television phenomenon that, unfortunately, didn’t connect with a US audience as much as we had hoped,” said MTV in a statement.

Both Skins had the almost exact storyline but why is it accepted and lasted for 7 seasons in the UK but only a season and then abandoned in the US? UK and the United States are culturally different in some ways as portrayed in the show by the way the cast speaks. Vulgarities are lesser used or is censored in the US version compared to the UK version. It is a realistic show that tries to tell the truth about teenagers and how they live their lives and it’s probably a little more unacceptable to the eyes of the American viewers that they find it controversial and inappropriate for young viewers.

Thus, Skins is a perfect example of translation gone wrong in TV dramas for the suitability of the Americans. Of course, not all remakes are unacceptable by another culture as globalisation has allowed the expansion of understanding a certain culture and their conjunctures. For example, Sherlock and Elementary as mentioned in the class lecture.



Hibberd, J 2011, “MTV cancels controversial ‘Skins'”, Entertainment Weekly, weblog, 9th June, viewed 20th September, <;

Obias, R 2013, “15 failed American Remakes of Foreign TV Shows”, mental_floss, 10th May, viewed 20th September, <;

Penny, L (2014) ‘Sherlock and the Adventure of the Overzealous Fanbase’ New Statesman, available online at


About Vivyan Foo

19 years young. Internet, EDM & Food 🙌
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