Coaxial

A Couple Of Looks At David E. Kelley’s First Version Of The American LIFE ON MARS Pilot!!

Published at: June 19, 2008, 5:28 p.m. CST

I am – Hercules!!
Word is ABC’s American version of “Life on Mars” has recast, which means at least parts of its pilot will be reshot. So what gets reviewed by these good fellows, who both seem familiar with the U.K. version, is not necessarily what we’ll see this fall. “Gene Genie” says:
Hey Herc, I'm a "first time caller, long time listener" and just got the opportunity to view something that I feel I can contribute to the site. I just finished watching David E. Kelly's pilot for the upcoming series (for ABC I believe) "Life on Mars", based on the brilliant UK show of the same name which starred Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt and John Simm as Sam Tyler. Now I have to say that I come into this with an already huge man crush on the UK show, and watched both series (as well as its follow up series "Ashes to Ashes"), so when I started watching this I knew it was going to be how the UK's "The Office" was virtually a carbon copy of its pilot episode, where it added virtually nothing to the show, just a different cast repeating the same lines, but I wanted to see if they at least kept what integrity the UK version had. So basically I checked my hat at the door and sat down to see what "Life on Mars" was all about. Here's a quick breakdown on the show's premise; Jason O'Mara plays Sam Tyler, Detective with the LAPD, hunts and tracks down a serial killer and uses all the latest technology around him make up a composite photo of the Killer's face, has the "screen with multiple frames' projected to a wall for when he debrief's his crew of cops before a bust, you know, all that fancy "CSI" stuff that Hollywood puts into a tv show! He tracks down a suspect who has been linked to a murder of a few women who have been kidnapped and then strangled to death, not before keeping the one cop behind to watch the station, Maya, with whom he's already had a relationship with. Its pretty obvious that Sam is methodical and doesn't make mistakes, and keeps his emotions in check, from everyone. Turns out his emotions break out like a crack in Hoover Dam because his ex/college Maya is then taken by the killer. When he finds only a bloody boot of hers is found at the crime scene, and he drives off, trying to keep the emotions in check. Almost getting into a car accident, and listening to "Life on Mars" off the iPod in the car, he gets out of the jeep but then gets run over by a car! This, plus the Bowie track on the iPod, both propel Sam Tyler into 1972. Here he's back in LA, he's still a cop, but has to contend to his boss, Gene Hunt, top cop at the precinct, who's tough as nails, runs the ship his way, and is the Ying to Sam's Professional, procedural, and methodical Yang. Turns out the first case he gets is to hunt down the same serial killer that nabbed Maya 30 years in the future. Now a quick breakdown on the show as entertainment; its actually not half bad! Jason O'Mara is very good as Sam Tyler, he's a like a robot who's been given an emotion chip and its turned on at exactly the wrong time, feeling confused about his surroundings yet knows how to solve a case better than anyone. Comparisons to John Simm will be rampant when the show airs, Simm seemed to breath a bit more life into the character at times of distress, confusion and when in doubt of whether or not he's in a coma or actually travelled in time, but O'Hara does a fine job still. If anything he was the saving grace of the show, and kept me intrested. Colm Meany (Chief O'Brian from Star Trek TNG, DS9, Layer Cake) does his best to play Gene Hunt but still feels a bit flat. Yes he's a drinker, a smoker, and punches Sam in the gut when he freaks out the first time he sees the office where all the cops work, but still, it seems that they're still too 'nice' to Sam. I mean having seen the UK version and knowing it well, Philip Glenister IS Gene Hunt and had a lot more room to play with when creating a character, and Colm Meany is restricted by this being a network show, no swearing, not as much drinking, not as much womanizing or sexism either. Lenny Clarke did a good job as George Randall, but honestly, wasn't a stand out supporting character like Ray Stevens or Marshall Lancaster where in the UK version, both played the comic relief and serious dramatic support to Sam. Rachelle LeFevre did a fine job as Annie Cartright, playing the emotional anchor Sam's confused and frightened psyche, she played it straight, nothing fancy, just "Annie". David Kelly really had some great source material to work with, and knew that what wasn't broken, didn't need fixing. I mean they literally 'lifted' the shot list from the UK production to bring it to life for ABC, but with all the restrictions that go into a show like this that they were able to get away with in the UK (the swearing, the huge amounts of drinking/smoking, the uber-male chauvinism, and the clear division between the men's place in the Police department and the women's place in the department) they were totally non-existent and made the show feel somewhat flat. The grand canyon between Men and Women, the sexism and chauvinism that just poured out of Gene Hunt in the UK, was the polar opposite to Sam Tyler, is what made Sam 'tick', and also what made him the better cop, These things that showed how things were is what made it a period piece of cop shows, and it gave the UK show 'texture' and 'life'. These are not in the ABC pilot, and just shows a regular group of people walk around and dress up in 70's clothing, and thats it, makes it only look like a typical cop show set in TODAY's world. "LIFE ON MARS" is a 'brand name' now like 'The Office', 'The IT Crowd', 'Deal or No Deal' and a multitude of contest shows from the UK, and I was surprised the David E. Kelly took the rights to remake them. I'm not a huge fan of his past work, I've liked what I've seen in the past and enjoy Boston Public, but this pilot on its own, doesn't show me how good he is as a writer, it just shows me he can make a phenomenal show like LOM into a pretty good show for American audiences.
“Kelvington” says:
First off let me say this, I loved, loved, loved the British version of “Life On Mars” it was clever, well written and seemed very real. It was better than your average cop show and I chalk this up to three things. Acting, Writing and Direction. The basic plot line of the show was, a detective, Sam Tyler, investigates a crime and gets hit by a car, and wakes up in the 1970’s. He doesn’t know if it’s real or a dream, or if he has time travelled. The accident occurs while the song “Life On Mars” is playing in his car. When he wakes up in the ‘70’s it’s still playing in his car, but in this case on an 8-track tape, and not an iPod. In the course of the series run he tries to stop the events that lead up his accident. He is still a cop in the 70’s and he meets up with some great characters and we saw how policing was done back then. Now to the US version, which doesn’t vary much from that theme. Now we all know from shows like “Cold Case” and “Quantum Leap” that recreating an era can be done fairly easily on a small scale. This show goes out of it’s way to do it on a much larger scale, from some CGI and large numbers of people walking the streets in 70’s garb, to just the basic feel of the time. That bit was well done. The setup from the original show is almost exactly the same as it’s UK counterpart. Sam is a cop in both eras. We get to see how police operated back then, and this would have worked even better had it not been for a little show called “Barney Miller”. I think the production department used it as a reference tape for most of the sets. Now both shows have the same hero/anti-hero in the form of Gene Hunt. If you have seen even one episode of the original show, then you know how amazing Philip Glenister was in the role, so much so, they created another series where he gets to play an ‘80’s version of the same character called “Ashes To Ashes”. In the US version the Hunt role is played by Colm Meaney, whom most people will remember from his Star Trek days. He plays the role with only about half the intensity that his British counterpart does, and with none of the finesse. I like Colm Meaney, but he’s no Philip Glenister. As for the main role of Sam Tyler, well Jason O'Mara can not even begin to touch John Simm who originated the role. I’m not sure if the cast was asked to watch the original series before working on this one, but it might have helped. The production does a great job a mimicking some of the tricks used in the original to blur the lines of what’s really happening to Sam. When the original show came on, I felt it was much more compelling than “Lost” and a lot more enjoyable. The US version I think will go down as another failed attempt to make a British Show into an American show, without all the sensibility and intelligence baggage. Sort of like the American version of “Red Dwarf”. To that end comes my main gripe with the show. Lenny Clarke, he plays George Randall, a character that there seems no analog for in the UK version. He also seems like he’s playing the exact same roles he’s played a dozen times before, in particular he seems like he’s playing his Frank character from “The Job”. Often when Lenny speaks or acts, I keep waiting for Dennis Leary, or Diane Farr to walk around the corner and say “Lenny, you’re on the wrong set.” The idea that you are going to take a show that lasted only a sixteen episodes total in the UK, and try to make a hundred episode run out of it, seems daft at best. My prediction for the series is a very short and confusing run, which will last five maybe six episodes, and it will leave the networks execs rubbing their heads wondering, “Should we have just imported the original episodes? Instead of trying to recreate something that didn’t need retouching.” If you have never seen the original you might find this to be the gem of a good idea, and you will wonder to yourself, “I think this could be done better somehow.” And you would be right, IT WAS.
“Life on Mars” will air Thursdays at 10 p.m. this fall on ABC.

55% Off!! The Funniest Cartoons Ever Forged!! $29.49: Volumes One, Two and Four!!

Schrute Advice!!

Readers Talkback

comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • June 19, 2008, 10:26 a.m. CST

    More like...

    by medicatedmonkeyDUDE

    Life on splugghh heyyyooo

  • June 19, 2008, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Sam was not a better cop in the UK show

    by photoboy

    Sam needed Gene Hunt's gut instincts and ability to get the job done just as much as Gene needed Sam's discipline and adherence to the rules. They were two halves of a good cop, rather than either of them being the better cop.

  • June 19, 2008, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Gene was neutered in the pilot

    by Kurg1

    Colm Meaney is a great piece of casting but it felt like he had been told to reel it back in a bit. If they don't have the balls to show Gene as a chain smoking, borderline alcoholic chauvinist then the entire premise of the show won't work. There were ash trays but I don't recall an entire person actually smoking in the entire episode. To work it needs to be a period piece and cop shows in both the US and UK back in the early 70s had air so thick with smoke you you could cut chunks out of it.

  • June 19, 2008, 10:52 a.m. CST

    This guy also invented Ally McBeal?

    by MisterE

    No thanks.

  • June 19, 2008, 10:52 a.m. CST

    Should be on cable

    by aversiontherapy2

    Network tv neuters a project like this in the US. I'd be willing to give this a chance but it doesn't sound like they've done a very good job of it. The original show is one of the best series ever, tranposing the setting to 70s NYC, with its equivalent pre-P.C. facets, could have worked if the producers were smart enough.

  • June 19, 2008, 10:57 a.m. CST

    This is all over the bittorrents.

    by Grando

    I'll give it a once over, but it sounds like the diet coke version of Life on Mars. Shoulda been on cable....

  • June 19, 2008, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Why?

    by Shan

    Why Why Why Why Why Why?

  • June 19, 2008, 11:03 a.m. CST

    This talkback

    by IronSpidey

    Makes me miss Journeyman

  • June 19, 2008, 11:08 a.m. CST

    Low expectations for the US version

    by Blackguard

    I really had high hopes for this show but the British version just can't be beat. They crammed so much goodness in so few episodes! I'm sure the US version will have 20 episodes that will drag on and on and doubt they will end it the same as well. <p> Didn't NBC pass on the US "The IT crowd?" Another show that can't be duplicated.....

  • June 19, 2008, 11:17 a.m. CST

    fuck you photoboy

    by floatybrownthing

    You obviously didn't watch series 2, and you obviously didn't catch the point of the show, which was a 21st century police officer in the manchester police force having to get used to how it was done in the 70's. dickhead. The politics were completely fucking different, which is where the humour comes from.

  • June 19, 2008, 11:27 a.m. CST

    Leave photoboy alone!

    by tonagan

    That was a valid (if arguable)interpretation, no need to go ballistic.

  • June 19, 2008, 11:30 a.m. CST

    And the moral of the story is....

    by wowsah156

    Uk shows are better written. The US networks take out all the good stuff, until its a bland show with nothing to commend it. Thank god the networks never got Spaced.....

  • June 19, 2008, 11:38 a.m. CST

    I don't think much of the original pilot will survive...

    by snowpuff

  • June 19, 2008, 12:01 p.m. CST

    But I thought the networks already *have* Spaced?

    by LordPorkington

    Isn't that what all the 'McSpaced' anger was about? Has it been shelved now? Last I heard it was still going ahead. And regarding Life On Mars, there's no way it could be done again, not in the same way as the original. There's only one Gene Hunt! "Don't move! You're surrounded by armed bastards!"

  • June 19, 2008, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Settle ...

    by Shan

    The impression I got is that Sam brought some things new things to how police work should be done in the 1970's (including sometimes no more than just actually adhering to the rules that did exist back then) but also he also learned that sometimes, the way Gene Hunt did things and bent the rules (sometimes out of shape) had to be done to catch the bad guys and save lives instead of being caught up on following the rules by the book all the time. So each of them brought something to the table and came out the better policemen for it.

  • June 19, 2008, 12:12 p.m. CST

    ummmmmmmm

    by Series7

    American TV makes a living out of turning short run British TV shows into shows that last for multiple years.

  • June 19, 2008, 12:13 p.m. CST

    OK, this may sound a bit weird

    by RaveX

    but I watched US pilot today. <p> after that I went and finally tracked down the original: 8 hours later I'm almost done with first series. <p> and yes, American pilot is almost frame-by-frame remake of original, but all if this thing fails/gets canceled after 5 episodes, at least it gave me that final push to go after UK version, which I'm loving quite a bit.

  • June 19, 2008, 12:22 p.m. CST

    RaveX...

    by LordPorkington

    Well at least some good will come of the US version if it means more people discover the UK series. By the way, after you're done with the second series of Life On Mars, there's a spin-off show called 'Ashes To Ashes' also starring Gene Hunt, but set in the 80's. Not as good as Life On Mars, but still worth checking out for the Gene Genie himself! "There will never be a woman Prime Minister as long as there’s a hole in my arse!"

  • June 19, 2008, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Aw hell...

    by ejcarter9

    ... THIS is the opportunity to write a one-season excellent show, or in this case adaptation, and give it the beginning, middle and end that a great story deserves. This should not be given the typical 'let's run it into the ground' treatment with pointless filler episodes and years and years of airtime.

  • June 19, 2008, 12:34 p.m. CST

    I was bored by the UK version.

    by brokentusk

    Really don't see what all the fuss is about, it was an absolutely terrific concept that was just mind-numbingly boring to watch. I had hopes that the US version would either increase the humour level, or the CSI-in-the-70s aspect of the show. I hope they fix the problems, because a US version could be great.

  • June 19, 2008, 12:40 p.m. CST

    @wowsah156:

    by prbt

    "And the moral of the story is.... Uk shows are better written." Speaking as an English (British, whatever) person, I can tell you that's nonsense. Most UK shows are half-baked toss. The first series of LoM was a glorious exception.

  • June 19, 2008, 12:51 p.m. CST

    Life on Mars UK version

    by ThrowMeTheIdol

    The first season of Life on Mars (UK version) was pretty good but not some landmark work of creativity. Mostly it was a typical cop show but there were some nice aspects of eeriness that added flavor. But the second season was a letdown: they became too nostalgic, too generous to Gene Hunt and in turn that character became more of a buffoon. Also, Annie seemed to go from slightly plump to something more than slightly. All in all it was a good series but like much of what comes out of the UK vastly over rated. The new series shouldn't treat it with two much reverence, just change what you have to in order to make it a fun show.

  • June 19, 2008, 1:20 p.m. CST

    Now get some reviews in for "True Blood"

    by CarmillaVonDoom

    Do I have to send one in myself?? ☺

  • June 19, 2008, 2:08 p.m. CST

    Fuck this dumbed down horseshit with prettier actors

    by picardsucks

    Love the original it is only 2 years old and they all speak English so why remake it??? How about showing it in Prime Time and see what happens. American Audiences are not quite as dumb as the vile gypsies in Hollywood think. They will watch or consume good things if they are given good things to consume. FOr a whole lotta years 60 minutes was the top rated show on TV. Though I love Kelly for the brilliant Boston Legal I hope he OD's on his pile of cocaine for raping an already brilliant show that didn't need American Pop culture references and more revisionist history from the Marxist hollywood psedu-intellectual crowd. Fuck off!!!

  • June 19, 2008, 3:01 p.m. CST

    The US Version of Life on Mars with John and Phil ...

    by Shan

    Philip Glenister said in an interview (which I have in a magazine somewhere) that he and John Simm had both been asked to play the same characters in the US remake. <p> Both of them sensibly said no but imagine how surreal it would have been to seem them in a US pilot version of their show. Especially if the command from up high was to play it "American".

  • June 19, 2008, 3:03 p.m. CST

    What about Coupling?

    by Shan

    I really enjoyed the UK show. The US Version understandably got the axe. Someone put equivalent scenes from the UK and US versions on youtube and the problems were obvious.

  • June 19, 2008, 3:09 p.m. CST

    fringe was good

    by RaveX

    by no means as good as lost pilot, not even as alias. <p> don't get me wrong, the show itself most probably will be better then alias, but alias pilot kicked all kinds of ass, and I don't know a single person that watched it and didn't want to see next episode. <p> fringe, on the other hand, sets a cool premise and all, but characters are kind of bleak. pacey sucks by default and girl is trying to channel sydney bristow a wee bit too hard. the only bright spots seem to be john noble and charlotte rampling, but their characters will be more of a support once the series gets going. <p> and I must say how much I lol'd when, in first 5 minutes of the pilot, you have a character that declares his love for the female lead. he might have as well said "gee, I hope nothing bad happens to me soon...". <p> true blood pilot seems all over the place. in a good way. <p> we may not get next 6 feet under, but we might be getting new carnivàle/JFC instead. <p> I really wish pilot was a 2 episodes long. scene 29 missing or not.

  • June 19, 2008, 3:20 p.m. CST

    i liked tru blood

    by Mr_X

    interesting take on vamps. rip journeyman and angel. plenty of imitiations, but nothing is better then the orginal!

  • June 19, 2008, 3:21 p.m. CST

    A HUGE Mistake

    by reaper28

    I don't get it. A "middle of the road" network takes a show like Life on Mars and then removes most of the stuff that plants it in that era and they STILL expect it to work? WTF were they thinking? I can't believe HBO didn't snap this up.

  • June 19, 2008, 3:31 p.m. CST

    its a god awful small affair

    by bacci40

    i think ill just rewatch the orignial brit series...thanks...

  • June 19, 2008, 3:52 p.m. CST

    The Pilot is available on BT

    by erydan

    Just finished watching it. It is not completely finished. At the end the 2 main characters are standing on the edge of a roof and you can see their safety wires coming out their backs, kind of funny.

  • June 19, 2008, 4:45 p.m. CST

    True Blood...

    by Kelvington

    Didn't realize it hadn't been reviewed yet. Just sent it off to Herc, maybe he will use it. Personally, I loved True Blood.

  • June 19, 2008, 4:50 p.m. CST

    Colm Meany will lord over all your nancy-boy asses!

    by Uncle Stan

  • June 19, 2008, 5:08 p.m. CST

    Just watched it

    by Xaximus

    And I thought it sucked. I didn't like Jason O'Mara one tiny bit, and the story was boring as hell and completely uninspired.

  • June 19, 2008, 5:08 p.m. CST

    UK vs US points

    by jbs0209

    First off, floatybrownthing clam down! photoboy had a good point. It may not have been The Point of the show, but it was certainly a sub-point. <p> There are a number of episodes where Gene & Sam get to the place via totally different methods, or Sam spends the entire episode proving Gene right for reasons Gene doesn't care about. <p> The Point, was obviously the differing police styles. The smoking, women differences were there, but they weren't the main point.<p> I assume the US version will suffer from the lack of clearly contrasting styles of policing. In the UK version they spend a lot of time showing you how utterly frustrating policing in the UK has become. It is a place where they would rather let people die than inconvenience a suspect. Sam keenly feels this in the pilot. This is 180* from the Gene Hunt style of policing in which Gene would rather beat something out of someone than risk an upstanding citizen's life. <p> US policing (see The Wire) has not gotten so anti-septic and PC that there is a sharp and unmistakable contrast in styles. To get that you'd have to go back to the 40s/50s police, before the 60's "quesiton authority" era. <p> And then the contrast wouldn't be between anti-septic, ineffective, PC police versus down-n-dirty, mostly effective, chauvinistic police (the UK contrast), but between bureaucratic, politicized, tech-reliant police versus society respected, LA Confidential-style police. Even then it isn't as good a contrast.<p> If there was any moral political message in the UK Life on Mars it was that, as photoboy says, both Sam & Gene's styles had major flaws and both halves were needed to make a full "good cop". But, Life on Mars wasn't about politics. It was entertainment. And the dramatic tension was created by the difference in those styles.<p>

  • June 19, 2008, 5:13 p.m. CST

    us tv is the best in the world but...

    by earlfist

    it can't do gritty. The restrictions on language are so set in the 1950's I am surprised that anyone over twelve watches anymore. Personally I feel Life on Mars was overrated in the way it's sequel, Ashes to ashes has been vastly underrated. Phillip Glenister is terrific and pitch perfect as Hunt, any actor who tries to play that part will be doing a Lazenby. Kelly is a fine writer but i cannot see this transferring at all. Maybe they should remake ashes instead and keeley hawes can do an american accent. Anyway in five years all tv shows all over the world will be accessible to anyone anywhere. Roll on those glorious days as the world will take a few more steps towards becoming one. Then man can create god! .... I am drunk as I write this.

  • June 19, 2008, 5:16 p.m. CST

    Any word on if Colme Meaney will still play Hunt in the new vers

    by supertoyslast

    Colme Meaney is the only reason I'm interested in the US version of LoM. If he's out then my interest dies. And, from the clips I've seen, the guy playing Sam Tyler seems as dull as hell. Such a shame current reports indicate that he will keep his role.

  • June 19, 2008, 5:56 p.m. CST

    True Blood was fun. Mars..not

    by ls420

    I liked it, should be a fun ride. the USA Version of Life On Mars sucked, i give it 6 episodes. they shyould of just imported the original.

  • June 19, 2008, 8:01 p.m. CST

    picardsucks

    by JackieJokeman

    If you Brits are tired of us remaking your shows you can do one of two things. One- Make more than twelve episodes. Thats not even a full season of US television. Two- Shut it and take the show for what it is: A compliment.

  • June 19, 2008, 9:18 p.m. CST

    right, having now seen both of original seasons

    by RaveX

    I can now officially confirm that DCI Gene Hunt has been included my personal badassery hall of fame, joining the ranks of Carl Kolchak (no, sweet gods in heavens, not the stuart townsend one!), Jack Bristow ("If you tell anyone about this conversation, you will no longer be able to wear a hat"; "You beat death Arvin...but you couldn't beat me."), Bill Maxwell ("If it's trouble you're looking for, you've just come across the West Coast distributor.") and Colonel Saul Motherfrakkin' Tigh ("Which side are we on. We're on the side of the demons, Chief. We're evil men in the gardens of paradise, sent by the forces of death to spread devastation and destruction wherever we go. I'm surprised you didn't know that." and "Better have the Doctor take a look at that hand, huh?"). <p> some other potential characters would include noah bennet, jack bauer, ben linus and everyone in the wire and deadwood.

  • June 19, 2008, 9:20 p.m. CST

    Jokeman

    by picardsucks

    Not a limey sorry

  • June 19, 2008, 9:35 p.m. CST

    damn

    by RaveX

    forgot Jayne Cobb...

  • June 19, 2008, 9:57 p.m. CST

    Stayed too much to the UK version...

    by Bill Clay

    If this was supposed to be a retro 70's US cop show, it should be in the style of Baretta and Starsky & Hutch. Making this an American version of The Sweeney is confusing and will likely lead to a quick cancellation.

  • June 19, 2008, 10:02 p.m. CST

    The US version is just really uninteresting

    by The Outlander

    None of the actors a very good and the story is almost a direct copy of the UK pilot, with minor changes and all the minor change weaken rather than strengthen the show. What is the point of doing a US remake if you aren’t going to make it recognizable as a 1970s US cop show? The only way this could work is if they used the concept of Life on Mars and made their own unique show, kind of like a sequel or companion show.

  • June 19, 2008, 10:31 p.m. CST

    #1 US problem - The title "Life On Mars"

    by Bill Clay

    Bowie's song just doesn't resonate with Americans like it does with the UK fans. Most Americans will think this is a sci-fi space opera.<br> They should have used an iconic American 70's anthem to base the title on, that would have meaning with US audiences. Instead they just focused on making a shot-for-shot remake of the original series. And a straight remake ain't going to fly on this side of the pond, sadly.

  • June 19, 2008, 11:43 p.m. CST

    Just watched True Blood, too

    by Xaximus

    It ain't no Six Feet Under, that's for sure. If SFU was a 9 or 10, True Blood is a 6 or 7. But I enjoyed it a helluva lot more than Life of Mars, and the show has potential.

  • June 19, 2008, 11:53 p.m. CST

    It should've been on HBO...

    by lynxpro

    HBO could've made this series ballz-to-the-wall. Hell, even F/X could've done it slightly tamer. The setting in America should've been San Francisco, and they should've waved some serious cash at Philip Glenister just to reprise the role and try to top his original performance. That's how I would've done it.

  • June 20, 2008, 1:59 a.m. CST

    Sounds like they forgot to translate it.

    by TheHichhiker

    I think several people touched on this already - it should have been an American song and American 70's cop show and American issues. The reason Office worked is because it WAS translated. Michael Scott is NOT David Brent. They may seem similar at first glance but they are very different characters heading in different directions. But copying scene for scene a show that is based on foreign culture references and that hinges on mysteries already answered is kinda silly. Same reason why "Cupid" remake is kinda silly - I mean Thomas already told us how it will end.

  • June 20, 2008, 3:52 a.m. CST

    I think US Gene Hunt...

    by Daveydje

    Should ask for his balls back... I really like Colm Meaney, and thought that was a good bit of casting if Phil wouldn't do it... but they REALLY need to let him go nuts. The US version just seems so neutured.

  • June 20, 2008, 6:23 a.m. CST

    Take a look at the lawman...

    by Voice O. Reason

    ...beating up the wrong guy. Oh man! Wonder if he'll ever know?

  • June 20, 2008, 7:12 a.m. CST

    The American industry just doesn't get it

    by The StarWolf

    If, as in the words of David E. Kelley, one shouldn't fix what isn't broken, then why do a remake at all? Just bring in the original.

  • June 20, 2008, 7:17 a.m. CST

    The danger of ethnocentricity

    by The StarWolf

    JackieJokeman - Typical American conceit where their way is the only way. So what if the original isn't 20+ episodes long? Possibly the highest rated show on PBS, CONNECTIONS, was 'only' ten episodes. Remember COLUMBO? Lasted several seasons with very good ratings? It only had about eight episodes per season. Or, consider the Japanese 'doramas' which tell a tight, effective story in about nine to twelve episodes, then move on to another miniseries. There have been hundreds over the years and it's still an enduring genre. I'll take that (or BABYLON 5's pre-plotted story arc) over things such as the X-FILES which drag on for season after season after season ... and never seem to really get anywhere.

  • June 20, 2008, 9:02 a.m. CST

    Horribly Miscast in every Major Role

    by asxz

    Colm Meaney is a huge disappointment in the key role of Gene "I'm havin' hoops" Hunt. The generic, troubled neanderthal they have hired to play Sam will never be able to bring the troubled depth to the role and the rent-a-dolly playing Annie is way too traditionally pretty and unfazed by the times to ring true. I love the US Office so this is not an ex-Brit slagging off any attempt to translate a successful series. This is just a poor clone that will not be saved by tweaking a couple of scenes. John Simm as Sam Tyler is the casting equivalent of Michael Keaton in the first Batman. You can't understand how brilliant it is until you see it. This version fails miserably to generate any excitement or empathy with any of the leads. Dull and disappointing.

  • June 20, 2008, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Poor Colm Meaney

    by Martin Hogg

    Poor Colm Meaney, he could have done a much better job if they'd stuck with the original script. All he does is punch sam a couple of times, and give him a bit of gentle ribbing. Hes almost friendly to him!!! This is not Gene Hunt, at least not the Gene hunt we knew and loved here in the UK.... I do like the new Sam, i think he brings just the right amount of intensity, although unlike the UK Sam Tyler, he doesnt seem to see the Ludicrousness of it all, to the UK Sam, a lot of the 70s stuff was a joke to him, so we could see that Sam still had a sense of humour, despite his situation. The new Sam is lacking that.

  • June 20, 2008, 10:14 a.m. CST

    It's a shame if theuir willing to make Gene Hunt

    by CrichtonAstronut

    morally ambiguous and a little bit dangerous, then really takes way from the primary tention of the original series. It'ds not Colm Meaney['s fault I just don't think the US Networks are going to allow a Gene Hunt to say and do much of what the UK Gene Hunt said and did to sell that tention and that character.

  • June 20, 2008, 11:36 a.m. CST

    I KNEW IT!!!

    by lovecraftian

    I am an American "Life on Mars" fanatic. In my opinion, it's simply one of the best shows that has ever been on television. Philip Glenister created a television icon that belongs in the ranks of Archie Bunker and Tony Soprano. John Simm was a flurry of stop and go emotions. And the two of them together was like Hope and Crosby in one of John Holmes's nightmares. It was a pure resurrection of "The Sweeney", and it just didn't deserve this. BTW, Lenny Clarke? What kind of "armed bastard" is that? Are you kidding me? No Chris. No Ray. No Show. It's that simple. And this woman playing WPC Cartwright is a twig. Liz White is gorgeous because she is a "real woman." Which is, by the by, more indicative of beauty in the 1970's, before Hollywood tried to sell everyone on the heroin-chic, hard-body look --gross. Oh... and O'Mara looks like a football player. How is that lending to the juxtapostion of the girth and shear overpowering frame of the Gene Genie? It's crap! That's all there is to it. Not to mention the disco music in the trailers. THERE WASN'T ANY IN '72. For cryin' out loud, they're going a year backwards from the show and adding KC and the Sunshine Band? They were still listening to the final protest songs for Viet Nam. Hello? Neil Young? The Stones? The Who? FREAKIN MARVIN GAYE? HELL THE BEATLES BROKE UP JUST TWO YEARS PRIOR!!! (Sigh) One last thing, does anyone know where I can get a DCI Gene Hunt for Prime Minister bumper sticker or t-shirt?

  • June 20, 2008, 11:36 a.m. CST

    The stink of failure...

    by proton45

    Does anyone remember the "Night Stalker" remake? I got the same feeling watching the "Life on Mars" remake as I did watching the "Night Stalker"...The filmmakers missed the point. They need to find the things that made 1970's cops shows in the USA fun and they need to work them in. The UK "LoM" was fun to watch, the USA remake was NOT FUN. It was too much... too dark, too serious, too mono-toned. Where was the humor? Do you remember "Kojak"? Do you remember "The Streets of San Francisco"? They used humor to tell the story...not just tuff-guy attitude. MY last point is that they should have placed this story in Detroit NOT NYC. Detroit is much closer to the gritty street, working man, soul music attitude that Manchester has...

  • June 20, 2008, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Still, it's gotta be better than ASHES TO ASHES

    by alucardvsdracula

    which is without a doubt the biggest pile of horse shit I have ever seen, and seems to go out of its way to shit on the original Life on Mars series. Anyway I probably will watch this YANKEEEEE version.

  • June 20, 2008, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Not as good as the original but still good

    by Angelus_420

    I too have seen the pilot cause its on every torrent site ( so is the The Fringe and a host of other except the one I want which is the Josserific Dollhouse) Its not really fair to give a pass or fail to this pilot because its basically the UK version with US items and culture instead of British. Anyone could have written the US pilot if they had watched the UK one. What I do want to see is how they lengthen the series and deal with certain issues that the UK show dealt with. But all and all the US pilot was just as good as the UK with the exception of Gene Hunt. In the UK version, Hunt was more involved and stood out and in the US version he doesn't so much and I like Chief O'Brien but he's just not a strong enough actor to play someone like Hunt. Hunt is a ball busting, crude and sometimes rude person with postive strong morals that most people lack today. Meaney(sp?) just doesn't bring that in the pilot which I thought was ashame. I guess only time will tell if this version can be as great as the UK one.

  • June 20, 2008, 1:53 p.m. CST

    I'll just watch old ep's of Barney Miller

    by Heckles

    Fish got shit done, son!

  • June 20, 2008, 11:44 p.m. CST

    Bill Clay,,,,you are correct sir

    by bacci40

    cuz bowie never had a big hit with life on mars here in the states...it was just me and a bunch of my friends who were really into ziggy at the time...bowie didnt become big here till the thin white duke

  • June 21, 2008, 9:35 a.m. CST

    One more thought...

    by proton45

    This topic seems to have died (no doubt do to the uninteresting "pilot" the topic is based), but... One of the things that made the original "LoM" interesting to Americans is the fact that for the most part we where unfamiliar with the 1970's UK crime shows (and the culture their of). Many of us where turned on to "The Sweeney" after seeing "LoM"...For the UK audience it was a bit of nostalgia. As I said above, the USA producers need to find what made the American cop shows of the 1970's fun and work it into the show...ALSO one last point: I think the American producers should re-think the ending. Those of us who saw the UK production know how the engaging mystery of "LoM" ends with the final episode. I think the American producers should think of a way of changing the outcome/mystery...example: Maybe in the American production of "LoM" he IS CRAZY...get it?

  • June 21, 2008, 9:44 a.m. CST

    One more point about Detroit

    by proton45

    Detroit would have been a much better setting for the American "LoM". It was the home of Motown and some very early Disco hits...It was also the home of some very notable proto pUNk rockers Iggy PoP and the MC5. And in the late 1960's and early 1970's their where race riots, and fear of terrorists (in the form of Black sympathetic middle class white kids). Their where drug smugglers coming over the border from Canada. And in the mid-1970's they where loosing jobs as the auto-plants where shut down... all of these things would have made interesting subjects to place crimes and nostalgia in and around...

  • June 21, 2008, 10:42 a.m. CST

    The Sci Fi Aspect **SPOILERS**

    by The Alienist

    What disappointed me so in the original Brit version was how sour the fantanastical part of the show became. It made no sense. Was he really back in time? Was he just in a coma? Yet, there appeared to be things happening he wouldn't have known about if it were all in his head. But, if it were all in his head (which I think is what the show eventually decided upon) why would Sam kill himself to get back there? It was his live comatose mind that took him back to the 70's. If he was dead than his mind is dead as well. Unless the "coma" world is the same as the "dead" world...or "heaven" or whatever. Maybe other people (maybe the Brits) don't or didn't care. But Americans have taken televised sci/fi/horror/fantasy to the next level. We love puzzles, but we want them to eventually connect, to make sense. Here's hoping the American "Life on Mars" delivers a better thought-out mythology.

  • June 21, 2008, 11:48 a.m. CST

    To "The Alienist"....

    by proton45

    I actually think it did make sense...If it was all in his head then their was nothing he couldn't have actually known. His own mind provided the mystery for him. In his head he would think to himself "20 years from now that man will be a killer", but sense we never reference the "real world" we don't know if that is fact or mental delusion. And in the end when he kills himself we see him get in the car and drive off with the 1970's crew, but we see no more then that...that could have been a dying flash of a thought as he passes on...in other words his last living thought is that he is back in the 1970's, a final delusion before death...

  • June 21, 2008, 12:10 p.m. CST

    To The Alienist and proton45

    by The Outlander

    Actually I think there was enough evidence to show that he was some how transported back in time (either mentally or physically) and that he was existed in two time periods, while he was unconscious in the future. The proof of this is the fact that he saved his partner in the future by changing events in the past. When he killed himself at the end of the series that meant that he would only exist in the past and never return to the future. I think this explanation makes a lot more sense than saying that it was all in his head, the only thing missing from this explanation is how he managed to get transported back in time. Also I believe that the sequel series Ashes to Ashes backs up this theory. We find out that Sam was still alive in the past after he died in the future and Alex shares the same experience that Sam had.

  • June 21, 2008, 12:30 p.m. CST

    proton45

    by lovecraftian

    You are spot on about Detroit. My friends and I said the same thing. Either there, or Chicago. I'll admit bias; but the stockyards, the steel mills, the riots, the protests, and a hugely corrupt system from the top down, it all reflects more closely the 1970's Manchester we see on the original BBC version.

  • June 21, 2008, 5:01 p.m. CST

    To Proton and Outlander

    by The Alienist

    I have heard of the Ashes series and wondered how it was going to live in the same universe. I do think you're both grasping at straws to make the 'resolve' work for you (as obviously the creators did as well). In the end the mythology is basically crap. You're telling me "coma" world is the same thing as "dead" world? I suppose it could be...but really? Really? I'm not even sure the creators knew when the series began and possibly changed their minds in the second season. Personally, I was hoping for a third party revelation, something bigger than Sam, Gene Hunt and the 70's. Again, I'm hoping (and pretty sure) that the America show will handle that aspect much more elegantly.

  • June 21, 2008, 6:31 p.m. CST

    WTF? The Police Station is the Kolchak set

    by lynxpro

    The people that said the Police station looked like Barney Miller are barking up the wrong tree. The set looks too damn close to the news service bureau that Kolchak worked at in the Kolchak the Night Stalker series set in 70s era Chicago.

  • June 21, 2008, 6:35 p.m. CST

    and he's driving a friggin Jeep?

    by lynxpro

    Could they not have given a wink to the UK origins of the original series by having Sam Tyler drive a Range Rover?

  • June 21, 2008, 6:43 p.m. CST

    ...well, at least you can understand Annie...

    by lynxpro

    ...as in, you can understand the words that are coming out of Annie's mouth in this version, which is an improvement over the original. Plus, she's attractive. Hmm.

  • June 22, 2008, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Better than LOST? American Red Dwarf WTF is he talking about?

    by Stormwatcher

    What US Red Dwarf? And sorry, we get this show in Canada and its good, but not near as good as Lost, or Prime Suspect, or Jekyll (which rocks). So yeah, piss off ya hooligan.

  • June 22, 2008, 1:23 p.m. CST

    To The Alienist (again)

    by proton45

    Your not getting it...their is no "dead world". What you see (Sam returns to the 1970's) when Sam kills himself happens "in his head" before (or as) he dies. The scene of him returning to his chums in the 1970's is his final hallucination...The whole "LoM" world happens "in his head". It's like the "out of body"..."I see the white light and my dead family was their" hallucination people who return from the dead talk about...

  • June 22, 2008, 1:30 p.m. CST

    Ashes to Ashes

    by proton45

    Ashes to Ashes happens in the new woman's (Alex) head (after she reads the medical case reports on Sam) their is no "real coma world" its all a hallucination...the Gene Hunt that is in "A to A" is who the new woman, Alex thinks he is, and is not the Gene Hunt who Sam invented". Its kind of a let down, but their is no supernatural "alternative reality"...its all in his head.

  • June 22, 2008, 5:09 p.m. CST

    also

    by punto

    remember that at the end of last season, some old ladie's hand picked up the Master's ring out of the fire (or something like that). that has to happen too..