Life On Mars, We Hardly Knew You

Land of Punt is always looking for good television shows.  However, L.O.P. isn’t sure if Life On Mars is a good TV show or if it’s just Harvey Keitel and Michael Imperioli.

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David Bowie’s song “Life On Mars” was not the show’s theme song and besides the pilot, it never appeared on the show

Of course it doesn’t matter now because ABC has canceled the show.  The one-hour drama will run its 17 episodes, including an episode that was written as the series’ finale, then be gone forever.

ABC is replacing Life On Mars with a reality show called Life On Crack.  12 shameless contestants will try to lead a normal life while addicted to crack.  Each week an addict is sent to rehab after a voting at the crack house squatters’ council.

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Life On Mars is about Sam Tyler a New York City cop that is mysteriously transported from 2008 back through time to 1973.  Yet despite this mystery, Sam Tyler still has an apartment, a social security number and his same job.

The way this science fiction element is blended with your normal cop drama is quite refreshing.  Instead of Tyler constantly looking for a way back to 2008 (or would it be 2009, I can’t figure that one out) and devolving into a Lost-like complicated plot, only about 10% of Life On Mars is dedicated to the whole “Back to The Future” thing.

This makes it very easy to pick up Life On Mars and start watching.  Obviously though it’s not easy enough as the show’s been canceled.

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Life On Mars’ crime solving hook mixes Tyler’s modern day sleuthing methods with the screw-the-rules attitude of the New York Cops in the early 1970’s.

So if you’re looking for a crime solving drama with a different twist than CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: New York, Law and Order, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Monk, Psych, Criminal Minds, NCIS, Without A Trace, the Mentalist or Life, than you should definitely check out Life on Mars… before it goes off the air.

One of the great things about shows like Life On Mars that are set in the past is all the things they can get away with that they couldn’t get away with is the show was set in 2009: smoking, drinking in the middle of the day, not wearing seatbelts, calling chicks “no-nuts” and “sugar lips.”

One of the great things about shows like Life On Mars that are set in the past is all the things they can get away with that they couldn’t get away with is the show was set in 2009: smoking, drinking in the middle of the day, not wearing seat belts, calling chicks “no-nuts” and “sugar lips.”

Harvey Keitel plays Tyler’s boss, Lieutenant  Gene Hunt.  The lieutenant prefers to beat confessions out of his suspects rather than collect that pesky evidence.

Tyler’s nemesis is fellow New York City cop Ray Carling, played by Michael Imperioli.  Hilarious is the chauvinistic, narrow-minded foil, always calling Tyler “Spaceman.”  Carling is so solid he could be the lead character in his own show.

Both Keitel and Imperioli are mesmerizing, and when they’re on the screen the show is at its best… which isn’t all that good since the show’s been canceled.

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Gretchen Mol is Tyler’s apparent love interest.  She’s cute as a button, especially with her 1970’s inspired haircut and she’s ultra-hot parading around in her sexy (and sexist) police woman uniform.

Tyler is played by Jason O’Mara.  He holds his own and is likable enough but he does have a tendency to overact.  When it’s all said and done he will be blamed for the show’s cancellation.

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Ultimately, Life On Mars was canceled (have we mentioned that yet?) because it was on ABC (this show would have been perfect on a cable channel) and it just couldn’t generate a buzz.

Oddly, Life On Mars was a remake of a very successful and critically acclaimed BBC show of the same name.  The BBC Life On Mars ran only 16 episodes.

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