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Dueling Works / Live-Action TV

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    Examples across Genres 
Original Clone Capsule Pitch Description Implementation Winner?
Bewitched (1964) Dark Shadows (1966) Shows about supernatural characters co-existing with mortals in (then) modern-day America While Bewitched was a Sitcom (and had a sitcom duel with I Dream of Jeannie as mentioned below), Dark Shadows was the Trope Maker for the Supernatural Soap Opera Technically, Bewitched lasted longer and was probably more of a mainstream success, but both shows are still considered a Cult Classic.
Prime Time Entertainment Network (1993) Action Pack (1994) Big Studio-produced, part-anthologies/part-syndicated networks. trying to emulate the success of FOX's launch PTEN (a joint venture from Warner Bros. and United Television) boasted Babylon 5 along with Time Trax and Kung Fu : The Legend Continues. Universal's Action Pack was led by the one-two punch of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess PTEN lasted four seasons, with only B5 lasting more than two. Action Pack lasted longer (ten seasons) with a much fuller roster of shows.
Do Over (2002) That Was Then (2002) 80's flashback to High School. One was a sitcom, the other a drama. In both of them, the protagonist starts as a depressed, adult salesman in his thirties. Their lives are in ruins, along with those of the people they once cared about. They blame that on certain decisions they took in high school. Then a freak accident sends them back in time, reliving their high school years. They have a chance to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. Neither was too successful; the Friday Night Death Slot and a concept only network execs enjoyed killed them both. However the comedic Do Over lasted for 15 episodes, while the dramatic That Was Then only lasted 2 episodes.
Clean House (2003) Hoarders (2009) Shows about people with irritatingly or pathologically cluttered homes. Hoarders is the more serious and deserving of the documentary label, considering that pathological hoarding is an actual mental illness, while Clean House's comedic streak and focus on the cleaning aspect places it better on Reality TV. Both became Long-Runners. Clean House lasted ten seasons, Hoarders six.
House (2004) Lie to Me (2009) FOX dramas featuring eccentric, wisecracking, and disillusioned doctor/detectives based on real people and played by eminent British actors. Tim Roth doesn't attempt an American accent and Lie to Me focuses more on the detective aspect. House has way more awards and higher ratings, while Lie to Me was canceled after 3 seasons and did not have nearly the critical acclaim.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006) 30 Rock (2006) Behind-the-scenes shows about the drama that goes on during the development of a Saturday Night Live-esque sketch/variety show Studio 60 is a Sorkin Dramedy, while 30 Rock is a straight Sitcom. Plus, they were on the same network — NBC, which also has the closest thing to the shows they go behind-the-scenes of! 30 Rock made it to seven seasons, ran off like a bandit at the Emmys, and ended on its own terms, while Studio 60 got the axe after a single season and was largely panned by critics. Studio 60 had higher first-season ratings for the episodes that aired during the normal "season," but was much more expensive to produce and for various reasons the network execs liked 30 Rock better. (For one thing, Studio 60 was critical of network TV in general, and network execs weren't going to like that). It should be noted that NBC staff couldn't decide which one to greenlight, so they greenlit both.
Burn Notice (2007) Royal Pains (2009) A man is blacklisted from his profession and moves to an exotic location to sell his services privately. Essentially the same premise, but substituting spy for doctor. Another aspect the shows share is the wisecracking and incompetent brother of the main character. Both are on the USA Network. Royal Pains is moderately successful. Meanwhile, Burn Notice recently wrapped up its seventh and final season, and is still one of the series the network is known for.
The Walking Dead (2010) Game of Thrones (2011) Shows where the world is being threatened by zombies, incidentally called "walkers" (White walkers in the case of the latter). Both shows are adapted from literary works, with The Walking Dead being adapted from the comics of the same name, while Game of Thrones was from the book A Song of Ice and Fire. While both shows also deal with the concept of Humans Are Bastards, TWD deals with this and the zombie threat directly, while GoT deals more with political power struggle. A tie. Although GoT has more awards than TWD, both shows are highly acclaimed, hugely rated, and have become modern-day pop culture phenomena. That being said, GoT is probably the more well-known of the two nowadays.
Wentworth (2013) Orange Is the New Black (2013) Shows that explore life in a women's prison. Orange is The New Black is a dramedy (drama-comedy), whereas Wentworth is a dark and serious drama. Likewise, Orange is an American show whereas Wentworth is Australian. Orange is The New Black has become a megahit for Netflix and one of the most popular TV shows of the 2010s. Wentworth, meanwhile, isn't particularly well-known outside of Australia. That being said, it's still hugely acclaimed and very popular in its home country, even if still not as much as its rival.
Rosemarys Baby (NBC horror, 2014) Extant (CBS sci-fi, 2014) An elegant African-American woman is pregnant with a mysterious child who may have a huge impact on the human race. Both kids are from supernatural sources (Satan and aliens (presumably), respectively) Rosemary's Baby will doom humanity while Extant's could save it (though probably not in the same manner, possibly more like a genetic upgrade). Extant has had a better critical reception and has been renewed for a second season whereas Baby has had a more negative reception but was only a mini-series anyway so it's hard to directly compare the two.
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (2016, FX) O.J.: Made in America (2016, ESPN) Two works about O.J. Simpson and his 1994 murder trial. American Crime Story is a dramatization/reenactment of the infamous murder trial, while O.J.: Made in America is a five-part documentary from ESPN's "30 for 30" series that features interviews with the key players and even unreleased 911 audio. A tie, both were received well, and it helps that they are in different genres. American Crime Story would win nine Primetime Emmy Awards (including Outstanding Limited Series), while O.J.: Made in America won an Oscar for Best Documentary.
Legends of Tomorrow (2016, CW) Timeless (2016, NBC) A ragtag team of time travelers protect history while hunting a supervillain. Legends is a superhero show and a spinoff of Arrow and The Flash (2014), featuring popular heroes (and villains) from both shows along with new characters. Timeless is an original series and more of a straight-forward adventure with some conspiracy elements. Notably, both have a character trying to change history to bring their dead family back to life; in Legends, he's the hero, but in Timeless, he's the villain. Also, both shows have covered some of the same historical ground, such as an episode with George Washington and another with Al Capone and Elliot Ness. Legends of Tomorrow. Timeless has been on the bubble from day one, was cancelled after season one, then un-canceled, then canceled again after a second season, then finally ended for good after one last TV movie. Legends is well past doubling that run, has been a strong performer for the CW, and can take advantage of crossovers with Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl.
Jane the Virgin (2014, CW) Telenovela (2015, NBC) Modern, light-hearted americanized interpretations of traditional latin american soap operas. Jane the Virgin is a direct adaptation of a soap, though still using Broad Strokes, and it's an hour-long dramedy.. Telenovela is an original work, a Single Camera Sitcom taking centered around the production of a soap opera, wherein the actors' misadventures mirror the soap's characters'. Jane the Virgin is, as of 2018, on its fifth season. Telenovela didn't even last a whole season. It's clear Jane won.
Deadly Class (2019) The Umbrella Academy (2019) Adaptations of comic books focusing on characters who are students of an Academy of Evil and superhero school, respectively. Deadly Class is more of an action-thriller, while The Umbrella Academy is a deconstruction of superhero tropes. TBD.
Schitt's Creek (2019) Fosse/Verdon (2019) Two very different TV shows aired episodes called "Life is a Cabaret" featuring Show Within a Show of Cabaret, which aired on the same night in some places. Schitt's Creek is a quirky comedy that featured the show in a Musical Episode; Fosse/Verdon is a drama portraying the making of the film. A draw. Both shows got positive reviews and both celebrated the original work.
The Goldbergs (2013) Stranger Things (2016) Both The Goldbergs and Stranger Things were made in the 2010s and were set in the 1980s. Both series include many nostalgic references to the decade in the form of pop-culture, fashion, music, and food. The Goldbergs is a sitcom that is based on the childhood of its creator Adam F. Goldberg, and features his experiences growing up in the 1980s in the Philly suburb of Jenkintown. Stranger Things is a science-fiction/horror series that focuses on the dark secrets of Hawkins, Indiana. The two series do not directly compete with each other. This is likely due to the fact that they are from two different genres, and have built up their own respective audiences. That being said, Stranger Things is by far the better known of the two shows to the public at large, so it probably wins.
Batwoman (2019) Stumptown (2019) Both series are based on comic book properties that Greg Rucka had a large part in. The protagonists are both LGBT women who were in the military and fight crime in their current lives. Batwoman is a superhero/action show, while Stumptown is a crime drama. Batwoman was announced first and the title character debuted first, but Stumptown premiered first. Initially renewed for a second season in May 2020, Stumptown was cancelled the same September due to production complications related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Batwoman continued with its second season (despite some production issues of its own), so it takes this one.
The Two Popes (2019) The New Pope (2020) Two made-for-television dramas released less than one month apart and featuring two popes, with one being elected to replace the other who's still living. The Two Popes is a Netflix original film about two Real Life figures, Pope Benedict XVI and his successor Francis, while The New Pope is a HBO-Sky Atlantic co-production about two fictional popes in an open conflict, being the sequel to The Young Pope. TBD.
Greatest #At Home Videos Connecting TV shows where the COVID-19 Pandemic plays a major role The former is a reality show ala America's Funniest Home Videos, while the latter is a sitcom about a group of friends keeping in touch during the pandemic #At Home Videos, because it pulled in more viewers and managed to finish its season on CBS. By contrast, Connecting was NBC's worst rated TV show of the season, got cancelled after 4 episodes, and the remaining episodes were dumped online

Original Clone Capsule Pitch Description Implementation Winner?
Tales of the Gold Monkey (1982) Bring 'Em Back Alive (1982)

Casablanca (1983)
Action-adventure series that embody the Two-Fisted Tales trope. Tales and Bring 'Em were quickly greenlit in The '80s once Raiders of the Lost Ark proved to be a success, and as such it's somewhat hard to tell which one really started the fight, while Casablanca cashed not only on the post-Raiders period adventure romance boom but also the nostalgia for the original film. Tales was critically acclaimed and won several Emmys, while Bring 'Em Back Alive has been mostly forgotten. Casablanca ended up after five episodes due to the huge budget the series had, but all three series were partly brought down due to being expensive to make.
Knight Rider (1982) Street Hawk (1985) An injured police officer is given a new secret identity and a super vehicle to fight crime with. This time ABC tries to follow NBC's lead on a motorcycle without a mind of its own. Remote-controlled by the Government. How many people have actuallys even heard of Street Hawk? Knight Rider was near the end of its third season when Street Hawk premiered, and got another season following it.
The A-Team (1983) High Performance (1983) Action-adventure shows featuring do-gooders for hire. Another ABC knockoff of an NBC smash hit. High Performance died after three episodes, while The A-Team lasted five seasons, becoming a pop culture sensation and a Fountain of Memes.
Blue Thunder (1984) Airwolf (1984) Crime-fighting super helicopters, and the people that flew them. Both debuting in 1984, Blue Thunder was spun off from the 1983 top-grossing feature film, and drew heavily on it for stock footage. Airwolf debuted 16 days later and was thematically similar to the already successful Knight Rider. Thunder barely lasted half a season. Airwolf ran for four seasons on CBS annd USA, though it got pretty dire by the end.
Lost (2004) Flight 29 Down (2005) Plane crashes on an island; characters must adapt. Lost premiered a year earlier and became an overnight sensation. F29D is "Lost" for kids more or less, though the show was actually based on a book and the concept was pitched before Lost got on the air. F29D was cancelled after two seasons. Lost is considered the pioneer in 21st century mainstream mystery-drama television.
Águila Roja note  (2009, TVE) Las Aventuras del Capitán Alatriste note  (2015, T5) Spanish swashbuckler series. AR follows the adventures of the Ninja love child of Zorro and Captain Alatriste in a Purely Aesthetic early 17th century Spain. LADCA is a (supposed) adaptation of the historical novel series. Águila Roja, and insultingly so. The development of both shows was an inverted mirror of the other: TVE had no faith on the AR project, so it let the creators do as long as it was within budget, and it became a success. T5 had no faith on the LADCA project, but wanted to cash on the AR success, so it pestered the creators with Executive Meddling despite having no clue what they were doing. After a long and Troubled Production, which included several casting changes and reshots, T5 declared the series a failure before it even aired and released it on a bad time of the year (January), when it met bad reviews and an ever diminishing audience.
Cobra (1993, Syndication) Viper (1994, NBC) Knight Rider-alikes featuring eponymous red muscle cars and heroes who were "left for dead, but given a second chance and a purpose."Both shows were in in production at the same timenote , but Cobra aired first. Cobra was more a straight adventure series with no fantastic elements. (The title Cobra was merely a Cool Car) Viper was actually closer to Airwolf (the heroes stole the Viper (Named "The Defender in-story) to carry on in secret.) Cobra lasted one, 22-episode season. Viper had one 13-episode season on NBC and three more, of 22 episodes each, in syndication

    Crime Drama 
Original Clone Capsule Pitch Description Implementation Winner?
Weeds (2005-2012) Breaking Bad (2008-2013) Premium cable dark dramedies about middle-aged people turning to drug-dealing following a personal tragedy Weeds is about a widowed soccer mom who deals pot, while Breaking Bad is about a chemistry teacher dying of lung cancer who cooks crystal meth. Also, while Weeds started out as a Black Comedy before it underwent Cerebus Syndrome, Breaking Bad was very dark from the beginning... and things only got more bleak from there. Both shows are critically acclaimed, though Breaking Bad has higher ratings and a much longer list of awards under its belt, while Weeds had eight seasons to its credit (versus Breaking Bad's five). The real winners here are TV viewers for getting two great shows. That being said, Breaking Bad is nowadays far better known than Weeds, so it's safe to say it won in the long run.
Thief (2006) Heist (2006) Glamourous gangster drama. Subtle character drama vs. glitzy action series. Neither — both shows had single-digit episode counts; Thief was a miniseries that never saw renewal, though it did win Andre Braugher an Emmy.
Leverage (2008) White Collar (2009) Skilled and rather flamboyant thief/thieves are recruited by the good guys to create some Asshole Victims. The difference is with their employers — Leverage’s Nate is initially out for revenge and then takes up the charge to fight evil himself while White Collar’s Con Man is employed by the government. The audience. While White Collar technically run longer and had one season more (six as opposed to five), Leverage had more episodes per season and therefore overall only four episodes less (77 vs. 83). Both shows were successes for their respective network and both managed to go out on a high note.
Boardwalk Empire (2010) Mob City (2013) Fictionalized chronicle of the rise of organized crime in America during the first half of the 20th century, inspired by a non-fiction book: Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City and L.A. Noir: The struggle for the soul of America's most seductive city, respectively. Boardwalk takes place in the East Coast and Chicago during the 1920s and has a corrupt politician turned gangster as main character; City takes place in Los Angeles and Las Vegas during the 1940s and has a crooked cop as main character. Real mobsters and other historical figures appear as secondary characters, two of whom (Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel) are shared by both shows. Boardwalk has many Shout Outs to The Godfather, while City draws inspiration from Film Noir. Boardwalk Empire was already in its 4th season (and greenlighted for a fifth) when Mob City was born and promptly Screwed by the Network, with only 6 episodes being filmed and aired in couples over three weeks in December. Unenthusiastic following and reviews heralded its non-renewal two months later.
American Crime (2015) American Crime Story (2016)

Law & Order: True Crime (2017)
Crime anthology series set in America. All follow one different crime case per season, although the crimes in AC are fictional while the crimes in ACS' and L&O:TC are dramatizations of real cases. TBA

    Medical Drama 
Original Clone Capsule Pitch Description Implementation Winner?
Dr. Kildare (1961) Ben Casey (1961) Early medical drama centered around a handsome young doctor and a wise, older doctor as his mentor. Two of the first mainstream TV medical dramas, the series’ premiered 5 days apart, and each ran for 5 seasons from 1961-1966. Both shows premises were similar, though their main characters were polar opposites. Richard Chamberlain played Dr. James Kildare; a blond, pretty boy intern who, while just learning his profession, was caring and kind. Vincent Edwards played Dr. Ben Casey; a dark, brooding neurosurgeon hunk, who was constantly arguing and scowling at his superiors. Both were immensely popular, becoming pop culture rivals in the press, and on teenagers’ bedroom walls. Though Ben Casey may be more familiar due to its syndication run on CBN, and being a frequent target for pop culture spoofs, in it’s original run, Dr. Kildare overall did better in the ratings. Richard Chamberlain took home a Golden Globe for his role, and Ben Casey won 2 Emmys. Chamberlain reportedly received more fan mail than Vince Edwards, and also sang the show’s theme song (“Three Stars Will Shine Tonight”), and it became a #10 hit. It’s a close call, but it’s safe to say that Dr. Kildare wins here.
ER (1994) Chicago Hope (1994) Chicago-based Medical Drama Both mixed elements of gritty medical realism with focus on the personal lives of the staff, but ER emphasized the former while Hope emphasised the latter. ER lasted fifteen seasons, while Hope only made it six.
Scrubs (2001) Green Wing (2004) Surreal ensemble hospital-based comedy-dramas swinging wildly from silly to dark, following a new doctor in a Will They or Won't They? relationship. In Scrubs (most) of the weirdness comes from the Fantasy Sequences, and what happens outside JD's head is usually realistic, while Green Wing takes place in a fundamentally dreamlike world. One key difference - Scrubs actually has serious medicine-based storylines, while the hospital setting of Green Wing is mostly an excuse to bring together a cast of Dr. Jerks. Both were initially successful and won piles of awards, but both had poorly received final series. British Brevity however means that Green Wing is one of those few shows that people argue both was cancelled prematurely and suffered Seasonal Rot, while Scrubs went on long enough to ensure a healthy afterlife in syndication and boxsets.
Doc Martin (2004) Distant Shores (2005) ITV comedy drama about a big city doctor relocating to a coastal village full of eccentric residents. The central character of Doc Martin is an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, that of Distant Shores is an Unfazed Everyman. Distant Shores ran to two short seasons; Doc Martin is still going over a decade later and is one of ITV's most successful exports.
HawthoRNe (2009) Nurse Jackie (2009) Post-ER hospital dramas focusing on flawed but heroic nurses. Aside from different races of the two leads, Jackie is a bit Darker and Edgier, what with Jackie having an affair with the pharmacist who's also her dealer. Jackie has Emmys and a strong supporting cast. HawthoRNe is critically derided for its blandness and being beholden to too many nurse drama tropes, and its incredibly mockable title. Jackie outlasted HawthoRNe seven (and maybe more) seasons to three.
Masters of Sex (2013) The Knick (2014) Premium Cable period shows dramatizing the early days of one branch of medicine. Showtime's Masters of Sex is about (a fictionalized version of) the Masters/Johnson sexology study of the late 50's, and has been compared to Mad Men. Cinemax's The Knick is set in (a fictionalized version of) the early days of surgery, in a NYC hospital, and is best know for being "the Steven Soderbergh TV show" The Knick ended with season two by decision of its creators (but might come back with a different premise). Masters of Sex fell under the radar after season 1 but manages to get to season 4.

    Military Drama 
Original Clone Capsule Pitch Description Implementation Winner?
Six (2017) Valor (2017) American special forces members are captured by African terrorist groups. Their respective support units back in the United States must race against time to save them before the terrorists hand over their prisoners to ISIS. Six focuses more on the family drama of its Navy SEALs, while Valor plays off the fact that its female lead is the first woman in an Army special forces helicopter unit, that she has feelings for her captain while she is already dating an intel officer. Valor also has a Government Conspiracy within the CIA that relates to the terrorists. Six. It made a huge splash, being a History Channel show that most people weren't expecting, and kicked off the military drama genre's revival on network TV. It also got a second season for 2018. Meanwhile, Valor debuted alongside SEAL Team and The Brave but fared the worst for viewership. It did not get a backorder of an additional 9 episodes and ended its season at 13 eps.note 
SEAL Team (2017) The Brave (2017) Focuses on American special operators whose missions take place in foreign countries to deal with international incidents that could undermine the security of the United States. Both shows have 3 episodes with near-identical plots. SEAL Team is about a DEVGRU unit and their family drama. The Brave is about a Defense Intelligence Agency Special Operations Group who are dispatched around the world to solve various crises concerning the U.S. Unlike SEAL Team, the personal lives of the main cast aren't very relevant to the show and it is focused entirely on the missions abroad they conduct. SEAL Team. It got a full order of 22 episodes, consistently performed well in ratings, and got a second season. Like Valor, The Brave did not get a 9 episode backorder and aired only 13 episodes. The show had respectable viewership until its mid-season break after Nov. 2017; its final four episodes in Jan. 2018 underperformed and it ended without much fanfare.

    Talk Show 
Original Clone Capsule Pitch Description Implementation Winner?
The O'Reilly Factor (1996) Countdown with Keith Olbermann (2003) Hour-long opinion shows featuring hosts with wildly-inflated egos. Olbermann is the liberal, O'Reilly is the conservative. Unsurprisingly split among party lines: More conservatives watch O'Reilly's show, while liberals tended to go for Olbermann. In terms of viewership, O'Reilly consistently won, while Olbermann got more Internet buzz. Countdown was cancelled on MSNBC in 2011 and quickly picked up by Current TV. It enjoyed great success, despite being on an independent and hard-to-find cable network, but in 2012 Olbermann was fired from Current and is now back at ESPN were he started his career. So technically O'Reilly won, but Olbermann's protégés at the two networks (Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell, and Cenk Uygur) are doing well enough on their own to be considered legacy victories. Also, Olbermann is still on television in some form, even though his current job is apolitcal, while O'Reilly lost both his show and his job in 2017 following a sexual harassment controversy.
The View (1997) The Talk (2010) Talk shows hosted by a diverse group of (usually) five women who start with a roundtable discussion about current affairs. For the most part, they're identical, though each show has something of a focus on material produced by their parent company (ABC/Disney for The View, CBS for The Talk.) Hard to tell. The View usually holds a slight lead in ratings thanks to a very large head start, but has courted controversy over a revolving door of hosts and an increase in heated and potentially-alienating political discussions, with an infamous split-screen blow-up between panelists Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie O'Donnell considered the moment the show jumped the shark. The Talk, after an awkward first season where there was a similar shake-up of hosts, has maintained a slow and steady upward momentum (which host Julie Chen attributes to a deliberate avoidance of said political discussions.) Discussions about the two often say it's not a matter of if The Talk overtakes The View, but when.

Alternative Title(s): Live Action TV


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