Over the weekend we learned about “It’s Always Sunny In Moscow,” the Russian remake of “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” It looks awesome and made me wonder about what other American TV series have been soaked in vodka and remolded into shows for Russian audiences. Apparently Russia enjoys our TV more than any other country.
1. Married With Children
Renamed “Schastlivy Vmeste,” or “Happy Together,” this authorized remake seems like the real thing. According to the New York Times, this is a typical joke: “In the living room, Gena suddenly tells Dasha to take off her clothes. Dasha is elated that Gena finally wants to have sex, and then Gena says, ‘No, Dasha, I’m simply dying of hunger, and hope that that will take away my appetite.’” That sounds like Al Bundy to me.
2. How I Met Your Mother
Judging from this trailer, it appears to be a faithful adaptation — complete with a suit-wearing Barney character — down to the pineapple.
3. Jersey Shore
MTV’s most popular show ever, currently there are six official spin-offs: two in England, Spain, Poland, Latin America and of course Russia. The title translates into “Vacations In Mexico” and features all the beautiful babes, beefcakes and brawls you’d expect.
4. Everybody Loves Raymond
After creating one of the most-watched family sitcoms in TV history, Phil Rosenthal set out to Russia to recreate the same magic there. I’m not sure if he succeeded, but his experience did yield a hilarious documentary called “Exporting Raymond.”
5. Full House
I couldn’t find much information on this show, but take one look at this video and fans of the original will recognize the characters.
6. Perfect Strangers
It would’ve been fun if they just reversed the characters — instead of an excitable small-town European going to live with his Chicagoan cousin, it could’ve been an American hillbilly moving to live with his Russian cousin. Instead they went for a remote former Soviet republic native, Andrei, moving in with his cousin Ivan in Moscow.
7. The Nanny
The lead character resembles Fran Dresher, but doesn’t reach the same nasal octaves she does.
8. Grace Under Fire
Some of you might not remember this sitcom based around comedian Brett Butler, but it was a big enough hit to inspire the spin-off, “Lyuba, Children and the Factory.”
9. Prison Break
If the original version gave you nightmares about prison, “Pobeg” (“Escape” in Russian) will give you night terrors.
10. Law & Order
We have so many spin-offs of “Law & Order,” it’s not fair we hoard them all for ourselves. The producers were kind enough to break off two different adaptations for Russia. “Law & Order: Division of Field Investigation” is based off what we know as “Special Victims Unit,” and “Criminal Mind” follows the format of “Criminal Intent.” Both have the familiar disclaimer and “duh, duh” intro at the beginnings.
“Dr. Tyrsa” isn’t a straight up adaptation, but more of a knock-off, the main difference being Dr. Tyrsa, unlike his American counterpart, specializes in sports medicine.