The Office is a series that started pretty small but gained a serious comic legacy as the years passed. It debuted as a British mockumentary sitcom, and it only ran for fourteen installments from 2001 - 2003. The premise crossed the pond in 2005 to be adapted for NBC. The American version of The Office lasted for nine seasons and more than two hundred episodes. Now, another adaptation of the premise is in the works. Neither the Brits or the Americans should count on seeing a reboot, however. Finland is producing its own version of The Office.
Finnish network Nelonen has ordered the Office adaptation for two seasons of eight episodes each, according to THR. The show will be called Konttori - which is Finnish for "The Office" - and star comedian Sami Hedberg as Pentti Markkanen, who is the latest version of the clueless office manager who makes life and work difficult for his employees. The role was originated by Ricky Gervais as David Brent and made famous in the U.S. thanks to Steve Carell as Michael Scott. Hopefully Hedberg will stand up against the inevitable comparisons to Gervais and Carell.
Sami Hedberg actually only has a few acting credits to his name. Most of his TV appearances have been as himself as either a host or a comedian. Tackling two seasons of a series in a role other than himself should be a very new experience for Hedberg. He does have the comedic chops that could turn Kontorri into as much of a critical hit as The Office was for BBC and NBC.
Of course, a lot of the success of Konttori will likely depend on the rest of the cast. Although no Office adaptation would work without a strong personality in the boss role, a lot of the charm of other productions have come from the ensemble. NBC's Office even lasted a couple of seasons after Steve Carell left the series thanks to the other actors. The Finnish series needs to, at least, find its own version of the salesman/receptionist lovebirds. BBC's Tim and Dawn were the first pair of Office mates to strike up a romance, but NBC's Jim and Pam took on a life of their own as the main romance of the show.
Kontorri will not be the first Office adaption for non-English speaking markets. France, Chile, Israel, and French-speaking Canada have all had their own versions of the series. The German adaptation was a particular success, running for five seasons and a spinoff film. Only time will tell how Finnish audiences respond to the mockumentary premise. Filming will begin by the end of August. The setting will be the the small town of Riihimaki, which is only known for constructing the highest flagpole in all Finland.
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