French Titles (Translated) of American TV Shows

SCRUBS -  Sarah Chalke, Zach Braff, and Donald Faison

If you are anything like us, you are always curious to see how people outside the U.S experience American TV shows. One of the things that have always fascinated us is how they translate some of the TV show titles we take for granted. So in the spirit of enhancing our minds, we have embarked on a journey of discovery of the quirky titles from our French Speaking Friends:

ABC

Desperate Housewives is “Beautés Désespérées” in French which means….
Desperate Beauties ( Well, I am not sure if they are all beauties but I like this better. Plus a litteral translation “Femme de
Maison désespérées” would sound unappealing in French)

Boston Legal is “Boston Justice” in French which means….
Boston Justice (Literally. Not very sexy but it does the trick)

Grey’s Anatomy is “Dr. Grey, leçons d’anatomie” in French which means…..
Dr Grey, Lessons in Anatomy ( Close Enough I guess)

CBS

Cold Case is “Cold Case : affaires classes” in French which means….
Cold Case: Closed Cases (My theory behind this name choice is that Cold Case “Dossier Froid” doesn’t mean anything in French)

Criminal Minds is “Esprits Criminels” in French which means….
Criminal Minds ( Well that was easy to Translate)

Without a Trace is “FBI – portés disparus” in French which means….
FBI – Missing in Action ( This is kind of weird because the litteral French translation” Sans Aucune Traces” would have been a cool title but oh well!)

CSI is “Les Experts” in French which means….
The Experts (Ok, well this one is easy to explain. It turns out there is no real equivalent of a CSI unit in France. So it was just easy to call them what they really are: Experts)

And so for similar reasons, CSI: Miami is called “Les Experts: Miami” and CSI: NY is called “Les Experts: NY” in French .

Numb3rs is “La Loi des nombres” in French which means….
The Law of Numbers (Pretty Decent Title in my opinion)

Two and a Half Men is “Mon oncle Charlie” in French which means….
My Uncle Charlie (Now that is kind of a creepy title, don’t you think? I guess the literal translation “Deux Hommes et Demi” would have been even more unappealing to French speakers)

NCIS is “NCIS: Enquetes Speciales” in French which means….
NCIS: Special Investigations (Again there is no french equivalent for NCIS so they had to find a way to explain it away)

The Unit is “The Unit – Commando d’élite” in French which means….
The Unit – Elite Squad (The litteral translation “L’unité” has so many meanings in French that it would have confused folks so they explained the title instead)

CW

One Tree Hill is “Les Frères Scott” in French which means….
The Brother Scotts (Ok, I am not quite sure about this. I guess it’s hard to translate locations but still…)

Everybody Hates Chris
is “Tout le Monde Deteste Chris” in French which means….
Everybody Hates Chris (Simple and elegant)

FOX

House, M.D is “Dr House” in French which means….
House, M.D (I know, Duh!)

Family Guy
is Les Griffin in French which means….
The Griffins (The litteral translation “Pere De Famille” doesn’t really get the essence of the title so I guess this is as close as it gets.)

The Simpsons is “Les Simpson” in French which means….
The Simpsons (Once again, Duh)

NBC

My Name Is Earl is “Earl” in French which means….
Earl (Ok, Ok , I’ll stop with the obvious translations)

Law and Order is “New York District” in French which means….
New York District (Well this is a case where the French title actually means less than the US Title)

Law and Order CI is “New York – Section Criminelle” in French which means….
New York – Criminal Department (Well that makes more sense I guess)

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit is “New York – Unité Spéciale” in French which means….
New York – Special Unit (Okay, I give up. This is not the Law and Order Franchise anymore)

Scrubs is “Toubib or not toubib” in French which means….
Doc Or Not Doc (That is not a cool title at all. I guess the literal translation “Vetements Medicals” was not any better. The worst part is that they are trying to be smart by making a play on words so it sounds like “To Be or Not To Be.” Wow, how desperate are you for a good title?)

ER is “Urgences” in French which means….
ER (I lied. I can’t help myself.)

So as you can see, sometimes French Titles are straightforward (Like Everybody Hates Chris) and other times, it throws you for a curve (Like CSI). So let me know what you think. Are some of these names surprising to you? Is there a different title you would have liked to see? Come and share your wacky thoughts with us.