When watching TV, do you ever get the feeling that you’ve seen this somewhere before? You’re not alone; as you’ll discover in this feature, Hollywood isn’t the only manufacturer of blatant rip-offs in entertainment today. TV network executives have also, time after time, turned to Xeroxing popular shows whenever their creative ink well runs dry. While some of these shows are seen for the second-rate forgeries that they are (see: NBC’s disastrous, short-lived Mad Men rip-off The Playboy Club), most of these copycats actually thrive on TV with the same audiences that enjoyed the original product. Unfortunately, this only teaches network heads to eschew original thought in favor of returning to tried-and-true formulas year after year.
In honor of the very familiar fall lineup viewers are being subjected to this fall season, including (but not limited to) NBC’s White Collar/Hannibal/The Following clone The Blacklist, the Revenge-aping ABC soap Betrayal and FOX’s upcoming, painfully House-like courtroom drama Rake, We Got This Covered has combed through television history to bring you five shows which spawned some of the most egregious rip-offs in TV history. Keep in mind that a lot of promising candidates didn’t make the list because, though they may have intended to be carbon copies at the outset, someone somewhere managed to sneak a shred of originality in (see: BBC’s Sherlock vs. CBS’s Elementary).
Warning: may cause extreme cases of déjà vu and elicit exasperated sighs from some viewers.