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At this point, it’s pretty well understood that developing American TV adaptations of British comedies is essentially playing with fire. There’s an approach to comedy across the pond that often gets lost in translation — not just in colloquialisms but also in execution and rhythms. It’s why a UK to US adaptation like “Coupling” (which was adapted by NBC in 2003) was such a colossal failure, despite certain episodes (such as the pilot, most specifically) being a near word-for-word remake of the original Britishseries. And why the American version of “The Office” took a full season to find its jogging.

Fox’s new comedy “Welcome to Flatch,” an American adaptation of the British mockumentary “This Country,” is nowhere near the misfire that a show like NBC’s “Coupling” was, but it’s also definitely nowhere near the success that the American version of “ The Office” came to be.

Developed by executive producer Jenny Bicks, with Paul Feig (an alum of “The Office”) also serving as executive producer (and director of a few of the season’s episodes, including the pilot), something is definitely lost in this new approach to the mild-mannered series. Like “This Country” (created by brother-sister duo Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper, who also starred as cousins ​​Kerry and “Kurtan”), “Welcome to Flatch” centers on young adults in a rural setting, specifically cousins-slash- codependent best friends Kelly (Chelsea Holmes) and “Shrub” (Sam Straley). And where “This Country” took place in a small village in the Cotswolds, “Welcome to Flatch” is set in the fictional Ohio town of Flatch. With this rural living comes town rituals, eccentricities, legends, and other mundanities, with everyone knowing each other’s business.

But the biggest change between the two series, right off the bat, is that “Welcome to Flatch” is much more of an ensemble show, compared to the two-hander approach to “This Country.” And to that end, “Welcome to Flatch” is able to create a fuller and bigger world not unlike the character-rich universe of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.”

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But turning “Flatch” into an ensemble proves to be the show’s biggest strength and weakness when it comes to its cast of colorful characters. Here, the cousins ​​(Kelly and “Shrub”) are still the leads and entry point into the series and world, but they are not the center of the Flatch universe. Holmes and Straley’s energies bounce off each other well, as they play these characters with less of an edge than the Coopers (though they really play into the buffoonery) and with a familiarity that makes them easy to root for.

The Kelly character, in general, is a bit harder to empathize with, which can be an issue at times in storylines where Kelly doesn’t have “Shrub” to anchor her. Which, again, is why the ensemble is so important here. Because the MVPs of the series are, without a doubt, two of the cousins’ fellow townspeople: local newspaper editor Cheryl (Aya Cash) and local town badass Mandy aka “Big Mandy” (Krystal Smith). Not only are Cheryl and Mandy the funniest characters on the show, providing the most consistent genuine laughs, but they make for the best character dynamic throughout.

Cash’s other major scene partner on the series is Seann William Scott, who plays Father Joe, the local town reverend. Cheryl and Joe tick the “will they/won’t they” box of the show, another aspect unique to the American version.

Scott, through no fault of his own in terms of performance, falls under the umbrella of the series’ weakness when it comes to the ensemble. Partially because of the show’s decision to take the somewhat dopey, father figure vicar character from the original — who’s known Kerry and “Kurtan” all of their lives — and make him an attractive (though still dopey) young clergyman who is actually pretty new in town. That immediately changes the dynamic between Kelly/“Shrub” and Father Joe and leads to a weaker connection between the characters, and plots where the series finds the trio interacting with one another don’t quite click. Neither does the aforementioned romantic tension between Mandy and Joe, since as soon as the show explains why they’re not together in the first place, it’s not difficult to hope they won’t — no matter how hard Cash and Scott work to sell it (which is pretty hard).

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Aya Cash in Welcome to Flatch (Fox)

“Welcome to Flatch” isn’t necessarily doing anything new with the mockumentary format either, though it deserves points for how painfully aware the characters all seem to be of the cameras and crew. And while the new series has all the ingredients to succeed like other recent network successes like “Abbott Elementary,” for every flash of brilliance there’s something that just seems to be missing. There’s a slowness to both “This Country” and “Welcome to Flatch” that just doesn’t quite work for the comedy of the latter, which is also why it’s for the best that Fox is streaming the first seven episodes of the season on- demand and on Hulu the same day the first episode premieres on the broadcast network.

Ultimately, “Welcome to Flatch” is yet another American adaptation that’s been lost in translation. Overall, the series is a mostly pleasant watch and a far better offering than Fox’s other American adaptation, “Call Me Kat” (an adaptation of the British series “Miranda”). But with so many other (superior) shows vying for audience attention, it won’t be surprising if this new import gets buried under the glut of content being constantly thrown at viewers.

“Welcome to Flatch” premieres March 17 at 9:30pm ET/PT on Fox, with the first seven episodes also available to stream on Hulu and the Fox Now app.

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