17 Shows That Came From Foreign Lands

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As Americans, we like to think we're the best at everything, but that's not always the case. With television, some of our favorite and most popular shows didn't originate here in the U.S.

We've adopted lots of British television, but other countries are represented as well.

You might be surprised where some of these shows came from. 

Click through our list to see which shows weren't born in the U.S.A.

1. Shameless

Shameless
This dark comedy has it's origins in Britain where it was a solid hit. Not all version of British shows are successful in the U.S., but Shameless is one of the lucky ones.

2. Three's Company

Three's Company
Three's Company was based on the British hit series, Man About the House. It followed Jack, Chrissy and Janet who lived together on the falsity that Jack was gay, because their landlord, Mr. Roper would never allow such living arrangements otherwise. Eventually, Mr. Roper's wife discovered the truth, but she never told on them. The series aired for eight seasons on ABC.

3. The Office

The Office
Ricky Gervais starred in the British version of this iconic comedy. It did so well overseas that writer Greg Daniels decided to adapt it for Amercian audiences. Althought it didn't do as well as its British counterpart, it did have a solid following and received critical acclaim.

4. Jane the Virgin

Jane the Virgin
One of the most popular shows on The CW right now is a remake of a 2002 soap opera from Venezuela, called Juana le Virgen. While Juna le Virgen only aired for one season, Jane the Virgin is now on season 3.

5. Sanford and Son

Sanford and Son
Who would have ever guessed that a story about a junkman and his son was actually based on a British comedy called Steptoe and Son. What made Sanford and Son unique was that it used two black actors as the leads, something that was not very common in the 70s when the show came out. Sanford and Son was known for its edgy racial humor, running gags, and catchphrases and was a ratings hit for six seasons on NBC.

6. Being Human

Being Human
A werewolf, a vampire and a ghost all live together and try to assimilate themselves into human society was the premise for this show based off of the British series of he same name.

7. All in the Family

All in the Family
All in the Family was based on a hit British series called "Till Death Do Us Part," which focused on a working-class family headed by Alf Garnett, a reactionary who wasn't afraid to let his racist views be known. The original show inspired numerous remakes in other countries including the Netherlands, Brazil and Germany.

8. Containment

Containment
Airing on The CW for only one season, Containment was based on the Belgian TV series Cordon. Both series dealt with a virus outbreak that required a section of a city to be quarantined.

9. Dancing with the Stars

Dancing with the Stars
Britain sure has all the great ideas, don't they? Dancing with the Stars is based off the British hit series "Strictly Come Dancing" which pairs celebrities with professional dancers. The British show has inspired knockoffs in nearly 40 countries. Dancing with the Stars continues to be one of the most popular shows in the U.S.

10. Gracepoint

Gracepoint
Gracepoint is based off the UK series Broadchurch. Both the original series and the remake were created by Chris Chibnall, but where Broadchurch aired for two seasons, Gracepoint ended after one. Both series also starred David Tennant in the lead role.

11. Homeland

Homeland
Showtime's political thriller starring Claire Danes is based on an Israeli television show called Hatufim or Prisoners of War. The shows are very different with Prisoners of War focusing two brothers who were released after being held hostage for 17 years in Lebanon and Homeland focusing on a CIA operative investigating a prisoner of war.

12. House of Cards

House of Cards
One of Netflix's most popular shows was based on a British show of the same name. One huge difference is that the British version only aired for four episodes while the U.S. version has been on the air for four seasons.

13. Life on Mars

Life on Mars
The science fiction crime drama was based off the UK series of the same name. It aired on ABC for one season and told the story of New York City police detective who traveled back in time to 1973 after being struck by a car in 2008.

14. No Tomorrow

No Tomorrow
This lovable romantic comedy was based on the Brazilian series Como Aproveitar o Fim do Mundo or How to Enjoy the End of the World. The series recently finished its first season on The CW and is awaiting word on whether it will be picked up for a second season.

15. The Returned

The Returned
The French version of this series was a lot more interesting and popular than the U.S. version. The show was about a group of people who "returned" after being dead. They weren't flesh-eating zombies, but something more which the series explored.

16. Ugly Betty

Ugly Betty
Betty might not have been attractive, but she was ultra popular. Ugly Betty was based on a Colombian soap called, "Yo soy Betty, la fea" (I am Betty, the Ugly one). The plot of an unattractive, but intelligent woman landing a job at a fashion empire was so well-loved that dozens of versions of Ugly Betty popped up across the world including our own American version which aired for four seasons on ABC.

17. Veep

Veep
Veep is political satire comedy that is an adaptation of the British sitcom, The Thick of It. Both shows satirize the inner workings of their respective governments. While The Thick of It has ended production, Veep still airs on HBO.

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