Life on Mars
I recently caught an episode of ABC's Life on Mars. I am a fan of the original BBC show, and had been avoiding the American version because I knew that, pretty much no matter what, I would compare it unfavorably to the British. I turned out to be right about that, no surprise there, but I think the specific differences I found are interesting.
OK, brief summary: Sam Tyler, a police officer in the present, is hit by a car and wakes up in 1973. He occasionally hears doctors talking about him being in a coma, he don't know if the world he's in is real or something conjured up by his brain, and meanwhile there's some major culture clash going on with the seventies police.
One of my favorite things about the original show was the way Sam expressed his confusion and desperation. He yelled and cried and—well, freaked out a lot. He was often in conflict with his superior and other officers. The American Sam Tyler? Spent most of the episode I saw being—amiable. Concerned. Perhaps occasionally amused. Absolutely no sign of a freak-out.
I don't know if the episode I saw was typical of the show—there was very little in it that seemed like it would carry over to other episodes, so it may have been kind of a filler. Even so, it seems likely that Sam's comparative lack of emotion is typical. It makes me wonder if someone adapting it thought American audiences wouldn't accept a male hero who felt and showed extreme emotion.
Completely irrelevantly, on looking up some things about the USLoM, I discovered that they changed Sam's mother's name from "Ruth" to "Rose.'" this is either a reference or an interesting coincidence, considering that fact that Sam was named "Tyler" after Rose Tyler from Doctor Who.