NBC’s “The Office” is an American adaption of the popular and critically acclaimed BBC show of the same name that ran from 2001 to 2003. Both shows have virtually the same premise of being about small paper companies that are under constant threat of downsizing, and both have an insensitive, attention-seeking boss, a power hungry assistant (to the) regional manager, and a bored salesman and a shy receptionist with a slow burning romance.
The US Office initially borrowed heavily from it UK counterpart, the pilot episode being a near line-by-line adaption of the first UK Office episode. In the second season, the US Office went its own distinct direction, making Michael Scott less mean-spirited than David Brent, adding far more extensive development to the secondary characters, and having an overall more optimistic feel.
The US was not the only country to adapt The Office as a French (Le Bureau), German (Stromberg), French-Canadian (La Job), Chilean (La Ofis), Israeli (Hamisrad) and Swedish (Kontoret) have also been made.
So why does the world need so many “Offices?” I think Liesl Schillinger in the Slate.com article “Foreign Office” answers it best, “knowing what’s unbearable about your own country’s workplace is…a nontransferable birthright.” (the whole article is well worth a read, btw)
The Office UK vs The Office US – a blog post comparing the main characters and themes of the two versions
The Office UK – the official BBC site
The Franchise’s Wikipedia Page – all the Office versions and a table of the characters
P.S.: If you have any fan works, or know of any other sites related to all these versions, you can post links in the comments here, or email me at ladama [at] gmail.com
P.P.S.: No bashing! If you have a well-worded criticism, feel free to post, but any “This version sucks” comments will be deleted.