When the CW announced that it was picking up Aliens in America, a comedy about an Islamic Pakistani exchange student and his effect on a Wisconsin family, many in the industry initially dismissed the decision as dangerous at best.
However, with its intelligent take on race relations, social norms, and teenage awkwardness, Aliens quickly proved to be a hit among critics and a small group of fans. Of course, this is the television business, and critical praise amounts to very little. After one season, the CW canceled the show due to poor ratings.
Fox hopes that the same doesn't happen to its first foray into the Muslim fish-out-of-water genre, an Americanized version of the Canadian show Little Mosque on the Prairie. The network is developing an adaptation of the CBC comedy for the States, it was announced at the Banff World Television Festival, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"Comedy is a great way to bridge cultures and bring peoples' guards down," said Little Mosque executive producer Mary Darling. "Fox got the creative vision of the show--that it has to be funny while it treads sensitively on certain Muslim issues."
The original Canadian show centers on a small Muslim community in Saskatchewan, and like Aliens in America, its humor and charm go beyond simple "your religion is funny" jokes. It has been critically lauded for its writing, and was nominated for an award at the 2007 Canadian Comedy Awards.
Little Mosque on the Prairie recently concluded its second season on CBC.