Hm. Not all remakes are too bad - the few remakes of UK shows, I know, like the Life on Mars, The Office, and Queer as Folk -- I hear are managing to break away from the originals and stand on their own on some level. Whether they're as good as the originals are, of course, up to opinion, but I think that once a show's quality reaches a certain point and it manages to break away and start their own cohesive and coherent... thing, they're allowed to be judged on their own merits. (Which is my current mindset for the Korean Boys Over Flowers and White Tower.)
Also, I sometimes feel like TV racial representation makes more of an effort for diverse casting than movie studios such as - Grey's Anatomy (high budget soap opera) or The Mentalist (mystery thriller and procedural in one) or Battle Star Galactica (sci-fi) or Heroes (super heroes) or Lost (sci-fi thriller mystery) ....even Power Rangers. Of course, the POC there are still a drop of water in a sea of white people compared to all the other network shows out there, but at least you see the representation THERE, and they're actually real characters in their own right and given real screen time and character development that isn't race based. They're not just random and interchangeable token POC... anyway. I don't think it's impossible to remake a series. It just needs a good team of writers that know what they're doing, producers that have a clear idea of what the project is about, and enough funding. I mean, they can even do something like what they did in Korea for White Tower and pull in the original writer of the show as support/reference/help. (Which... I think they tend to at least try to do anyway for remakes.)
So with that in mind, I think, in order for a Japanese drama to convert over and survive Americanization - either due to a direct change in values or the writers finding a cultural equivalent - it'd have to be something that focuses on things other than Japanese cultural...thingies. Shows like Shigeshoshi wouldn't work at all. It IS possible to have miniseries in the US, though. It just depends on the channel that picks it up - like HBO or something.
I dunno. Hm. For shows that aren't specifically crime or medical procedurals....
-Maou serial killer mystery thriller. This'd make a great little miniseries
-Ikeburo West Gate Park
-My Little Chef/Sommelier/etc Any of the food dramas would be interesting to see on like. I don't know. As a PBS drama with each ep followed up with actual recipes. - even Teppan Shojo Akane, since there are plenty of Chinatowns/Japantown/Korea towns in the US who sell street food in carts, and there's a healthy competition for more clients and it can just be set in California or New York City. I'm still waiting for a drama about a falafel cart guy and his journey into foodie super stardom. *laugh*
-Sailor Moon (hilarious) - this is one of those ones where it doesn't matter how bad it is, it'd still be awesome.
-White Tower - (though I'd vote for the Korean version to be adapted over the Japanese one in this case for a few subtle nuances, but they're both the same story.) vicious hospital politics over a backdrop of ethics, medical liability, and funding? That would translate BEAUTIFULLY. Sort of like an evil West Wing crossed with House and it has potential be be expanded with more seasons if there is any interest.
-in fact, with the popularity of Grey's Anatomy and House, it'd also be interesting to see some of the more relationship based medical drama ported over. Since they're essentially relationships placed in a medical setting, rather than just medical procedurals. I can't remember any names off the top of my head though.
-ROOKIES/Gokusen There's always have been a subset of movies/stories out there about a teacher/mentor understanding poor angry youths and showing them a better path through sports/song/dance/writing/competitive cooking. I think there was a TV mini series at some point with an ex-cop as a teacher? I can't remember... anyway, this would slot in easily.
-Odoru Daisousasen US police are structured differently from Japanese police, but there is still infighting amongst federal and local branches over priority on a case. Even within the locals, there's resentment amongst regular police and detectives. So I think a story about an idealistic cop fighting his way through the ranks and hopefully inspiring his precinct and the aid of a higher official-- I think it could work.
Difficult but would be interesting if it could be done successfully
-Shomuni - This probably wouldn't make any sense considering the US now. BUT. Perhaps time warp it and have it set back in... oh. The 60s-70s? There's a thought. It'd be like Madmen, but from the women's point of view.
-Iguana no Musume My guess is that an American adaptation wouldn't cop out with the whole thing of whether the mother really IS an iguana or not and focus on psychology and the cyclical nature of abuse.
-PRIDE This I'm not sure about. There's something about the Japanese take of Western sports that is somehow... different.
-Food Fight I think the US competitive eating circuit is nonprofit, but... it might work here.
-Over Time This is essentially a soap opera. If they can keep the atmosphere going without going all va-vavoom with it... it'd be interesting to see this sort of story happening in a US show and it's far less staid/quiet compared to Long Vacation and potentially has enough twists and turns to keep interest.... it might still be too tame, though.
-Trick It'd be like... X-files gone wrong and... it really depends on if they can keep the really odd humor and quirky stylistics which I think was so embedded in the show that it might not go over well. This one might be too much of a stretch, but if it can be done somehow... it might work.
-Celeb to Binbo Taro- Why do I suddenly see Paris Hilton?