Life on Mars

SF genre TV and Movie discussions

Life on Mars

Postby Omphalos » Mon Oct 13, 2008 6:22 pm

OK. I captured a show that I was a bit on the fence about on my DVR recently called Life on Mars. I thought it was going to be another cruddy CBS show that paid barely passable lip service to SF, but was really about some chick's feelings (Jericho, anyone?) And although I was right on a few points, I was pleasantly surprised otherwise. For a pilot episode, most of which totally suck 90% of the time, I give it 3/5 stars, and my recommendation to watch because it smells like its going to get much, much better.

Life on Mars is about a homicide detective from 2008 who inexplicably gets sent back to 1973. The set up is a bit ponderous, but let me try to break it down here for you. Our hero, Det. Tyler, has fallen in love with his partner (Lisa Bonet, in a cameo). The two are investigating a BTK type killer, and they think that they have their man. They arrest the suspect but let him go when the defense attorney comes up with footage of the suspect at a casino during the last abduction time. Turns out that the killer has a twin brother, but the cops find out about that way too late. The girlfriend is convinced that they have their man and tails him without back-up. The psycho sees her, and abducts her. Tyler and the whole force find her bloody shirt in the park, and just know that she is being tortured, so Tyler drives over to a building where he thinks that he will find them. As he exits his car he gets creamed by a passing vehicle, and wakes up in 1973.

Tyler is a cop also in the past, and has recently been assigned to his same post as a homicide detective. He reports for work and learns that his new posse is investigating an eerily similar BTK killer. Using his knowledge of the future and futuristic police procedure Tyler solves the case. As they are taking the nut-job away Tyler sees a boy who can only be a younger version of his girlfriend's torturer looking sternly at him. He talks to the boy who admits that he looked up to the killer that they just caught because he is tough, where the boy is just plain scared of everyone and everything. Tyler gives him a good talking to, and tells him that fear is OK and not to take it too seriously, whereupon he hears his girlfriend's voice over his car radio, telling him that she is safe and OK. Awwww.

I know, I know. It sounds stupid. And it was, but there was much more to the show that I liked. Life on Mars may shape up to be a Lost-type supernatural show with a mystery to it. People talk to Tyler through technology, like TV's and radios. There was even with a grainy shot of a guy in a lab coat who spoke directly to Tyler in the middle of his own show, kind of like the Darma people in the videos on Lost. There are clues to be found in the background noise, cryptic hints in graphics used in the backshot, and it looks like the "accident" that brought Tyler to 1973 may have been arranged by people and organizations unknown. The show has started out as a supernatural show with a lot of questions about what is going on, but I have a strong suspicion that the producers will go to SF in the end, just as Lost seems to be doing. There are many similar thematic elements too, including time travel, psychology, and supernatural elements. That this show is a police procedural and Tyler is on his own make things different enough to be interesting.

The strongest element so far is definately character, and with a cast that includes Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli, and Grechen Moll (hubba cubed!) how could it be otherwise. CBS has never really shucked the character angle, and this show definately is a strongly character driven drama. Tyler's character is certainly the strongest. As a homicide detective with knowledge of the future, and who has some outta sight criminology skills for the 70's, he is poised to become the great wise man of his precinct. But he has babbled to everyone about his predicament, so he will come off as the crazy-wise old man, but that could be an interesting way to set him up as an oracle of sorts.

The producers have set the show up well to deal with some 1970's hot-button social issues too, including sexual harassment in the workplace, gender roles in general, employment rights, civil rights and a few others. There is also an excellent soundtrack that included the Rolling Stones, the Who, T-Rex, David Bowie, Five Man Electrical Band, and lots of others. Along with a dramatic (and extremely brief) opening sequence that has no sound at all, and this show really comes off well. The hour simply flew by for me, and I cannot wait for the next episode.

For those of you who don't know, this is a remake of a 2006 BBC show of the same name. I have never seen the UK version.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



The Omphalos Umbrella Page
User avatar
Omphalos
Alien Overlord
 
Posts: 5677
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:24 pm
Location: The Mighty Central Valley of California

Postby Robspierre » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:39 pm

The BBC version was bloody good.
I do believe it is on ABC and not CBS :wink:

Rob
Friends are the family we choose.

http://kiltedrobspub.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Robspierre
Archivist
 
Posts: 958
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:52 am
Location: The Cascades of Oregon

Postby Omphalos » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:51 pm

Oops! Sho nuff! :oops:
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



The Omphalos Umbrella Page
User avatar
Omphalos
Alien Overlord
 
Posts: 5677
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:24 pm
Location: The Mighty Central Valley of California

Postby SandChigger » Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:32 am

I saw either the original BBC version or this remake (ooh, a remake, surprise :roll: ) advertised somewhere.

Hmmmm...nah.

I don't think I'd be able to get past the "gets sent back to the past" bit. How? I mean, really, how?

I'm getting the same vibe I always got from "Happy Days" and "That 70s Show": why bother? I wasn't around in the 50s...so why would I care to watch a show about them? I was around in the 70s but didn't think they were all that great. (I admit, I will watch the latter if it comes on and I'm feeling too lazy to change the channel, and if there's nothing better on. But I won't watch "Happy Days" for any reason. Never would.)

Anyway, new scifi show, should be happy but...nah, sorry. :(
"Chancho...sometimes when you are a man...you wear stretchy pants...in your room...alone."

"Politics is never simple, like the sand chigger of Arrakis, one is rarely truly free of its bite."

Arrakeen is an unawakened ghola.
User avatar
SandChigger
Archivist
 
Posts: 4577
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Sietch Tigr, near Arrakeen

Postby tanzeelat » Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:51 am

The BBC version was excellent. There's also a sequel, Ashes to Ashes, set in the 1980s and with a female DI going back in time. Only one series of it has been broadcast so far, and it's not been as successful as Life on Mars, but I really liked it.
User avatar
tanzeelat
 
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:34 am

Postby SandChigger » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:21 pm

OK...backtrack a bit. The ad I saw was with the woman going back in time, so it must have been for Ashes to Ashes, huh?

Sorry 'bout that. Same caveats apply, tho. ;)
"Chancho...sometimes when you are a man...you wear stretchy pants...in your room...alone."

"Politics is never simple, like the sand chigger of Arrakis, one is rarely truly free of its bite."

Arrakeen is an unawakened ghola.
User avatar
SandChigger
Archivist
 
Posts: 4577
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Sietch Tigr, near Arrakeen

Postby Omphalos » Thu Nov 27, 2008 1:45 am

Damn, this show is just getting better and better.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



The Omphalos Umbrella Page
User avatar
Omphalos
Alien Overlord
 
Posts: 5677
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:24 pm
Location: The Mighty Central Valley of California

Postby tanzeelat » Thu Nov 27, 2008 2:10 am

From what I understand, the US version is going to be open-ended - they're never really going to explain how he went back in time (which they sort of did in the original BBC version). In other words, they're going to milk it for as long as they can before it gets cancelled... On balance, I think I prefer the British way of doing it: plan on two series, write two series, broadcast two series... with a beginning, a middle, and an end.
User avatar
tanzeelat
 
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:34 am

Postby Robspierre » Thu Nov 27, 2008 9:54 pm

No matter how grungy New York looks, it just ain't Manchester :wink:

Rob
Friends are the family we choose.

http://kiltedrobspub.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Robspierre
Archivist
 
Posts: 958
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:52 am
Location: The Cascades of Oregon

Postby The Phantom » Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:51 am

tanzeelat wrote:From what I understand, the US version is going to be open-ended - they're never really going to explain how he went back in time (which they sort of did in the original BBC version). In other words, they're going to milk it for as long as they can before it gets cancelled... On balance, I think I prefer the British way of doing it: plan on two series, write two series, broadcast two series... with a beginning, a middle, and an end.



american versions of BBC shows tend to do that.... they did it with the office, and while I'm a fan, I did like the succinct storyline of the BBC version
User avatar
The Phantom
 
Posts: 597
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:06 pm
Location: Toronto

Postby Omphalos » Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:38 pm

Fucking cancelled. Looks like they will make this a one shot.

Damn! Or, Cool! I'm torn.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



The Omphalos Umbrella Page
User avatar
Omphalos
Alien Overlord
 
Posts: 5677
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:24 pm
Location: The Mighty Central Valley of California

Re: Life on Mars

Postby Omphalos » Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:17 pm

Anyone watch the end of this? I saw the finale, but I still have three or four unwatched episodes in my DVR queue. It got really weak at the end, but that is probably because the writing staff fled after the mid-season break (see bitching above, generally) and for sure after they announced a month ago that it was going to be canceled. Still, I'm glad they stuck it out. I am going to have to get the BBC version because I heard it was much better. Still, loved the way that they turned a few of the names into allegories in the end. Pretty good.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



The Omphalos Umbrella Page
User avatar
Omphalos
Alien Overlord
 
Posts: 5677
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:24 pm
Location: The Mighty Central Valley of California

Re: Life on Mars

Postby Robspierre » Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:36 pm

You will like the original Omph, lots of fun.

Rob
Friends are the family we choose.

http://kiltedrobspub.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Robspierre
Archivist
 
Posts: 958
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:52 am
Location: The Cascades of Oregon

Re: Life on Mars

Postby Omphalos » Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:49 pm

Robspierre wrote:You will like the original Omph, lots of fun.

Rob


Hey there stranger. Ill get it when I can find it.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



The Omphalos Umbrella Page
User avatar
Omphalos
Alien Overlord
 
Posts: 5677
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:24 pm
Location: The Mighty Central Valley of California

Re: Life on Mars

Postby Robspierre » Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:49 pm

Omphalos wrote:
Robspierre wrote:You will like the original Omph, lots of fun.

Rob


Hey there stranger. Ill get it when I can find it.



Lol, yeah, been busy with papers and group projects for school.

Rob
Friends are the family we choose.

http://kiltedrobspub.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Robspierre
Archivist
 
Posts: 958
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:52 am
Location: The Cascades of Oregon

Re: Life on Mars

Postby chanilover » Sun Apr 19, 2009 1:19 pm

I've just realised the series titles are Bowie songs from the decade concerned. Fancy that!
Image
chanilover
 
Posts: 481
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 2:52 pm

Re: Life on Mars

Postby SandChigger » Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:12 pm

Saw an add for this on one of my sat-chans. SciFi Japan, I think.

Hmmm.
"Chancho...sometimes when you are a man...you wear stretchy pants...in your room...alone."

"Politics is never simple, like the sand chigger of Arrakis, one is rarely truly free of its bite."

Arrakeen is an unawakened ghola.
User avatar
SandChigger
Archivist
 
Posts: 4577
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Sietch Tigr, near Arrakeen

Re: Life on Mars

Postby Omphalos » Sun Jun 21, 2009 1:17 am

Decent show. Loses its way for a bit mid season, then catches up quick-like, but decent.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



The Omphalos Umbrella Page
User avatar
Omphalos
Alien Overlord
 
Posts: 5677
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:24 pm
Location: The Mighty Central Valley of California

Re: Life on Mars

Postby Serkanner » Tue Aug 11, 2009 2:52 pm

The BBC version is brilliant. Watched the pilot for the US version and hated it. Should check out the Ashes to Ashes one. Haven't seen it.
User avatar
Serkanner
 
Posts: 343
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:20 am

Re: Life on Mars

Postby SandChigger » Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:35 am

The BBC version is showing over here now, in advance of the start of the US version later in the spring.

I've watched a couple of episodes, but I'm not really into it yet. I guess I'm still waiting for its "Summer dances ballet" moment.

(I wasn't into the Sarah Connor Chronicles either until I saw the episode where the Terminator dances ballet while Sarah does a gloom-n-doom voice-over. :P )
"Chancho...sometimes when you are a man...you wear stretchy pants...in your room...alone."

"Politics is never simple, like the sand chigger of Arrakis, one is rarely truly free of its bite."

Arrakeen is an unawakened ghola.
User avatar
SandChigger
Archivist
 
Posts: 4577
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Sietch Tigr, near Arrakeen

Re: Life on Mars

Postby Omphalos » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:08 pm

I wish they'd show the BBC version here.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



The Omphalos Umbrella Page
User avatar
Omphalos
Alien Overlord
 
Posts: 5677
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:24 pm
Location: The Mighty Central Valley of California

Re: Life on Mars

Postby Robspierre » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:36 pm

Omph, you seen the BBC version yet? I finally caught the last of season 2 from Netflix and I am watching the first disk of the remake. Not bad so far, good visuals and I like that they changed up the sound track a bit.

Rob
Friends are the family we choose.

http://kiltedrobspub.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Robspierre
Archivist
 
Posts: 958
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:52 am
Location: The Cascades of Oregon

Re: Life on Mars

Postby Omphalos » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:49 pm

No, actually I have not. Ill have the bride put it on Netflix. Thanks for the heads up. I wasn't aware that you could get it on Netflix yet.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



The Omphalos Umbrella Page
User avatar
Omphalos
Alien Overlord
 
Posts: 5677
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:24 pm
Location: The Mighty Central Valley of California

Re: Life on Mars

Postby SandChigger » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:47 am

I actually got to liking the UK version by the middle of the first season (all I've seen of it thus far), but I found the US remake completely unwatchable.

Anglophile snob, what can I say. :snooty:
"Chancho...sometimes when you are a man...you wear stretchy pants...in your room...alone."

"Politics is never simple, like the sand chigger of Arrakis, one is rarely truly free of its bite."

Arrakeen is an unawakened ghola.
User avatar
SandChigger
Archivist
 
Posts: 4577
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Sietch Tigr, near Arrakeen

Re: Life on Mars

Postby lotek » Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:06 pm

I've started watching the 1st episode, it seems ok with just about enough mysteries to keep my interest...
but then I reached the damn 72mn limit on megavideo so I guess I'll dl a few more episodes.

If you can stream them, download them!


NB

for some reason I always thought it was some girly sitcom, what with the Mars thing... :whistle:
In short, the Jihad is over. It ended just as SandRider predicted it would, not with a bang or even a whimper, by simple attrition.
- D. Pope
lotek
Archivist
 
Posts: 762
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:05 am


Return to Genre TV and Movies

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron