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“Life on Mars”: ABC drama deserves better

Lifeonmarsep2Life on Mars deserves more than the 7.9 million viewers it pulled in last night.

I’ve fallen for ABC’s redo of the Brit drama, which unfortunately is placing third in its Thursday 10 p.m. time slot. I like star Jason O’Mara more and more as I watch the show and I also like ensemble of supporting players — Harvey Keitel (pictured at left with O’Mara in head lock), Michael Imperioli (pictured below), Gretchen Mol and Jonathan Murphy. The mystery element — the whodunit on why our hero, NYPD detective Sam Tyler, was transported back in time to 1973 after getting hit by a car while chasing a perp in 2008 — is unfolding slowly, with just enough intrigue to make you want to keep your eyes peeled for veiled clues.

Perhaps most of all, I love the way the show is lensed — the look of 1973 Gotham has a hazy, almost Lifeonmarsimperioli sepia tone to it that adds to the mood of the show. We see it all as Sam does — very surreal and dream-like. Keitel was a little over the top in the pilot but has since dialed it down. Imperioli has settled in to his mustache and sideburns. I hope “Mars” gets the time on air to tell its time-warp tale.

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