“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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  1. kc says:

    I Dig this show, I am fortunate enough not to have seen the original. It seems that people don’t like it because they don’t like it because of the comparison of it to the British version. I think Harvey Keitel and the whole cast do just fine.

  2. cadavra says:

    Me, too. And I vehemently disagree about Keitel: he’s the best thing on the show, bringing 35 years of his trademark Noo-Yawk-tough-guy persona to a tailor-made role.

  3. robin says:

    Well, I like it. And I too, hope it doesn’t get the axe….

  4. Tenacitus says:

    After the virtually word-for-word, shot-for-shot, thoroughly unoriginal in every aspect Evil American Twin version of the pilot episode, 7.9 million viewers is about 7.8 million more than I might have thought would tune back in.
    I cannot *begin* to explain how this pale impression fails to stand up to the brilliant original. Harvey Keitel is woefully miscast and utterly lacks the loutish charm of Philip Glenister’s memorable Gene Hunt, and Jason O’Mara doesn’t appear to be capable of bringing the same depth of characterisation to Sam Tyler as did John Simm.
    It’s like watching a bad community theatre version of a classic show.

  5. mark says:

    Uh oh. Last night’s show was, well…not too good. The script felt forced and heavy handed in attempting to deal with “gay issues” 35 years ago (hence the Rock Hudson remark–HeY everybody! it’s 1973..get that? 1973!!!!)This was easily the worst episode yet…and this show is sinking every week. The best part of the show (the is he in a coma or is he there? part) is being overrun by pretty standard run of the mill cop stories that are not made more interesting because they happened 35 years ago.

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