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Engrenages - American remake in the works


Braquo isn't the only Canal+ series being remaked for the US, there's also Engrenages. It is probably the show's moderate success on BBC4 (Engrenages (= cogs) is renamed Spiral in the UK, airs in original version with english subtitles and seasons 1-3 were edited on DVD as such) along with great press that motivated the production of a US remake. It is being developed for BBC America by the creator of Cold Case, Meredith Stiehm, who recently worked on the best new show of the season (starts with Home, ends with Land). Sam Mendes' company, Neal Street, is producing.


"The multiple characters of the show appealed to BBC America and they will inspire themselves from these characters as they produce their version of the show, set in Philadelphia", said Alain Clert, the producer of the show via his company, Son et Lumière. Aside from broadcasting BBC series (Doctor Who, Luther, The Hour, The Fades, etc), BBC America is also currently developing their first original series, Copper, a period drama slated to premiere next summer. Maybe the remake of Engrenages will join this Tom Fontana series as part of BBC America's lineup.

Engrenages' fourth season is being filmed nowadays. The shooting of episodes 4.07 to 4.12 started two weeks ago and will continue until April. Canal+ has already commissioned a fifth and a sixth season of Engrenages, and they might be aiming at producing the show yearly instead of delivering a new season every two years (season 1 in January 2006, season 2 in May 2008, season 3 in May 2010 and season 4 perhaps in May 2012, but they might save it for September).


BBC Four has already bought the rights to air season 4. Simon Chilcott, director of acquisitions for the BBC, said that there's only 200,000 viewers but the show is critically acclaimed, so they're very pleased. Since BBC4 is not the most watched channel but more of "an intelligent alternative to mainstream TV", low ratings are not an issue. Other BBC Four imports of non-english speaking series include danish series Forbrydelsen & swedish series Wallander.

If I may give a little piece of advice : don't wait for the remake, watch Engrenages, it's really good, it's almost like a french The Wire (okay, not as good as this masterpiece, but still, the Canal+ landmark series is one heck of a show). Besides, I'm sure the US remake will be different, whether it's the social background, the mentality or the judiciary system.

Engrenages is broadcast in over 65 countries. Excluding english-speaking original series (Borgia & XIII), Braquo is the only other Canal+ original series shown in Britain (last November on FX). Other Canal+ original series include Mafiosa (a show about mobsters), Maison Close (about prostitutes in a 1870 brothel), Scalp (about traders), La Commune (about gangs in banlieue), Pigalle la Nuit (about a man looking for his sister) & Reporters (about journalists), and also comedies Hard (about the widow of a porn producer) & Platane (about Eric Judor trying to be taken seriously).


Thank Gods for Canal+, anyway. Aside from them, there's no ambitious series anywhere else. Well, there are a few exceptions. Orange recently launched QI (a comedy about philosophy and porn), I'll check that out, but Orange is also premium cable. However, for original, ambitious and free-access series, there's France 2 with Les hommes de l'ombre premiering tonight, plus new series Clash, Inquistio and Antigone 34 (the latter is a copshow but it seems like a good one with a particular style), and also season 5 of hit comedy Fais pas ci, fais pas ça (= "Don't do this, don't do that", the unofficial source for Modern Family — in 2009 ABC bought the rights to remake that mockumentary about two families and then they came up with Modern Family. Coincidence ? Perhaps). France 3 will launch the 4th season of historical series Un Village Français in a few weeks. I can't think of any ambitious new or returning series on TF1 or M6, sadly.

A new player is slowly joining the table with great original programming : Arte (free-access channel). Since 2010, they've produced 3 original series, drama Xanadu (8 episodes about a family living in the porn industry) and comedies Fortunes (1 season) and Les Invincibles (2 seasons). Arte being what it is (the least watched channel of the six major french channels, with by far the lowest budget), they cancelled all 3 shows recently while announcing new original dramas :

- Ainsi soient-ils, about young men wanting to be priests, will premiere in September.
- L'Odyssée, about the political maneuvers taking place in Ithaca while Ulysses is gone, will begin shortly after.
- Oasis, about a family of vampirists (the medical condition of having to drink blood) exiling in Dubai, will air in 2013.
- Les Hérétiques, about Catharism during the 12th century, will also air in 2013 on Arte.

Source for the Engrenages news : Allocine (the remake has been announced last May so it's not "new news", as one could call it, but it hasn't been reported here before).

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