The Office Was a Spin-Off But Became Its Own Show The Office may have been a spin-off of the Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant BBC series of the same name, but the spin-off quickly became its own show. Though the first season strongly mirrors the original series, the British version only lasted 2 seasons for a total of 12 episodes, while the spin-off ran for 9 seasons for a total of 201 episodes.
While both shows deal with incompetent bosses, Gervais’s David Brent (left) is often more mean-spirited than Carell’s Michael Scott (right). The length of the American show also gave supporting characters more time to grow and develop, and the overall tone of the spin-off is more hopeful.
Steve Carell Didn’t Watch the British Version
When he landed the role of Michael Scott on the American spin-off of The Office, Steve Carell watched just a few minutes of the British version before permanently stopping viewing so he didn’t unintentionally copy Ricky Gervais’s performance as David Brent. That could account for the very different personalities and management styles of Michael Scott and David Brent.
However, John Krasinski, who played fan favorite Jim Halpert, was an avid viewer of the original version of The Office. Krasinksi’s character, Jim Halpert, was adapted from the BBC version’s Tim Canterbury, an ironic, self-deprecating 30-year-old sales representative played by Martin Freeman.