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Hercules Is Excited To
Discover ABC's LIFE ON MARS!!

Published at: Oct. 11, 2008, 8:47 p.m. CST

I am – Hercules!!
Each of the Big Three networks premieres a show tonight based on a show airing overseas. NBC has “Kath & Kim,” and CBS has “The Eleventh Hour” and ABC has “Life On Mars.” The tale of a New York cop magically transported by an automotive mishap from 2008 to 1973, “Mars” is particularly notable as the first ongoing TV series to star movie actor Harvey Keitel. Michael Imperioli (“The Sopranos”) and Gretchen Mol (“Girls Club,” “3:10 To Yuma”) are along for the ride as well. The pilot pushes a lot of the same intellectual ` buttons “Mad Men” does, reminding us of how thoroughly American life has changed in just a few decades. Josh Appelbaum & Andre Nemec (“She Spies,” “Fastlane,” “Alias”) and Scott Rosenberg (“Gone In Sixty Seconds,” “Imposter,” “Kangeroo Jack”) wrote the script, and the best news is “Mars” is a great deal better than the trio’s last effort for ABC, the widely reviled “October Road.” The fact that this is one of the fall’s best pilots likely owes to the fact that the first episode adheres closely to the acclaimed British series’ premiere. The not-so-good news is the “Road” team only has 16 British episodes to duplicate, and American series tend to run 22 episodes per season.
USA Today gives it three stars (out of four) and says:
… one of the best new hours of TV this fall — as it should be, considering it's a virtual scene-for-scene remake of a terrific British original. … And while we're worrying about the future, it seems fair to note that the network's replacements for David Kelley — who did the first version — are the producers of October Road, a show so badly written, it made you wish you were time traveling. True, this time, they copied well. Now let's see what they can create.
Entertainment Weekly gives it an “B-plus” and says:
… like Mad Men, makes a long-ago era feel both alien and nostalgic, like in the sweet moment where Sam wanders into a record store and just beams. …
TV Guide gives it and “8” (out of 10) and says:
… Captures the original series’ vibe nicely …
The New York Times says:
… strange and exhilarating …
The Los Angeles Times says:
… I'm not wholly convinced by the American "Life on Mars." Some of the new dialogue is overripe ("You're here to make me curse the day my father's sperm asked my mama's egg if it could have this dance"), and there's a tendency to explain the obvious. And, while I am happy to see Keitel grace TV with his presence, I'm not yet sure he's big enough, physically, for this part. I might be wrong about that. And I'll be following with interest to see where it all goes.
The Washington Post says:
… comes off as naggingly undistinguished. When you get right down to it, there's not much point in getting right down with it. … Both too little and too much seem to be happening … "Life on Mars" occasionally scores a nice bit of eerie spookiness, but the premise remains more party-pooper than mind-boggler. One hour of exposure to "Life on Mars" and you might indeed wish time travel were possible -- at least so you could travel back to the beginning of that hour and spend it some other way. …
The San Francisco Chronicle says:
… surprisingly great, its pilot living up to the lofty expectations of the original. … If the ambition of the pilot continues, American television may get another remake right. We'll have our first hint this next week. In the meantime, enjoy the pilot. …
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:
… The show's pilot episode is nearly identical to the British original that aired on BBC America, right down to some shots and music cues. The new American version moves a little faster, which may sacrifice some of the subtlety of the original, but overall this first episode is a faithful adaptation. … Only time will tell if this version of "Mars" will fly. …
The Boston Globe says:
… not comedy, not psychodrama, not sci fi, but an intriguingly evasive blend of them all. … I love the fact that "Life on Mars" has arrived on the heels of "Mad Men" and "Swingtown." It's as if American culture is having a little check-yourself moment. By traveling back to the 1960s and 1970s, we're able to define and reassess who we are now. The smoking, the boozing, the overt sexism, the denial, the culture wars - they stare us in the face on these shows, signifying how far we have - and haven't - come.
Variety says:
… first-rate … Splendidly cast, handsomely produced and conceptually intriguing, the network's bid to create a procedural with a twist also faces a high hurdle -- call it the "Lost" conundrum, where viewers might grow impatient for some indication as to what's really going on. …
The Hollywood Reporter says:
… injects life into the police drama genre … exciting enough to make you swallow the premise and beg for more …
10 p.m. Thursday. ABC.

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Readers Talkback

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  • Oct. 9, 2008, 3:11 a.m. CST

    First

    by odo19

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 3:15 a.m. CST

    First?

    by madcapmonster

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 3:16 a.m. CST

    Guess not

    by madcapmonster

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 3:30 a.m. CST

    Thank god this isn't airing opposite SUPERNATURAL.

    by Shermdawg

    I gots way too many shows on Thursday nights, and not nearly enough recording devices. <br><br> I'm not sure if the time travel aspect is needed. I'd be down for watching this regardless of a gimmick. <br><br> Hey Herc, is Lisa Bonet a regular (future hospital scenes)? Or just in the pilot? I actually got a bit excited when I saw her in the teaser.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 3:36 a.m. CST

    John Simm is The Man

    by Steve Rogers

    That is all.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 4:14 a.m. CST

    could be a hit

    by bacci40

    america is getting seriously nostalgic...look around...life is shit...the only prob with putting it in early 70s nyc is that the police dept was totally corrupt...and i love the bbc show

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 4:17 a.m. CST

    does it still have the dude from Star Trek?

    by Maniaq

    the trailer made it look weak compared to the British version and there is that potential for audiences to lose patience, but it could work - so long as they keep Chief O'Brien away!

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 4:45 a.m. CST

    What happened to Colm Meaney?

    by photoboy

    Did they get rid of him because his Gene Hunt was a bit weak? It won't make any difference who they hire, cutting all the sexist/racist/non-PC stuff he says in the BBC show to sanitise it for network TV is why the character doesn't work as well.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 4:50 a.m. CST

    To be honest

    by alpha

    I loved the original until the last 3 episodes of series 2. Then it went to crap. The ending was weak.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 5:14 a.m. CST

    Re: The original ending

    by photoboy

    Yeah, it totally ruined the show the way they ended it. The show's creators have claimed they just didn't enjoy writing Sam in the '00s so they put him back in the '70s, but that doesn't ring true to me.<br><br> From more recent interviews where they talk about creating Ashes to Ashes it seems more to me like they changed the ending so they could make A2A, which obviously included sneaking that scene in where Sam records his experiences for Alex. Also, there's some revelation about Gene Hunt to come which I think was removed from the ending to LoM.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 5:23 a.m. CST

    I think they already hinted at the Gene Hunt revelation in A2A..

    by dr_buggerlugs

    "I'm everywhere Bolly...I was needed and I was there"

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 5:30 a.m. CST

    Herc's right, how their gonna stretch this to a full...

    by Big_Bubbaloola

    season is anybodys guess. The whole of the UK series ran to only 16 eps. Nice, short & sweet. Lets see how the yanks can stretch the plot point.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 7:04 a.m. CST

    Big mistake to replace Colm.

    by Uncle Stan

    Replace an actual actor with a pine log? That's a recipe for success.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 7:22 a.m. CST

    I agree, Colm would be nice

    by Gezoes

    Still, like The Office, fuck these US remakes. This isn't a real-life bullshit franchise. With The Office and Life on Mars, it's two original and well crafted concepts dumbed down for the average shallow Joe in the US. I don't understand people watching it, same goes for Hugh Laurie with his terrible forced accent.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 7:43 a.m. CST

    still not sold on this

    by palewook

    but curiosity will get me to watch a few episodes. i hate the fact its another remake. the original is great. and worried that the american version will last too long, etc.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 7:48 a.m. CST

    Prison break plot similar to economic crisis today

    by EvilWizardGlick

    Isn't eerie just how close Prison breaks plot this season is to the economic crisis facing the world today. <p> Strangely 24 had a couple of plots about shady oil companies manipulating politics. When damn near the same thing was going on in the real world. <p> Is Rupert rubbing our noses in it? Or is he "enlightening" the gen pop?

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 8:22 a.m. CST

    But do they toss litter when eating in the park?

    by chrth

    Loved that in Anchorman. I think I may check this one out.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Still doesn't look very good.

    by Shan

    Still barely comes close to the original from what I've seen so far. John Simm and Philip Glenister were actually asked if they wanted to reprise their roles in the US remake. Even though it would have been a huge mistake, almost wish they'd done it for the sheer bizarre nature of getting the original UK stars to play the same roles in a US version.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Does Keitel say "You are surrounded by armed bastards"?

    by SpyGuy

    Nothing defines the Gene/Jean Genie better than that line. Here's hoping the U.S. version is at least in the ballpark of the brilliant U.K. series.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 9:46 a.m. CST

    I'm more interested now than I was after the original US LoM pil

    by Mockingbird Girl

    The fact that the newer US LoM has replaced David E. Kelley's STARSKEY AND HUTCH feel with something that looks like MEAN STREETS has me much more optimistic. Of course, nothing can touch the brilliance of the original.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 10:32 a.m. CST

    what Gene Hunt revelation??

    by Maximus Prime

    I only recently got into Life on Mars and aint had to chance to see ashes to ashes yet???<p> what Gene Genie's big secret??

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Colm Meaney was drawing me in to watch this...

    by mr. flibble

    now...meh...I'll rewatch the original instead.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 12:02 p.m. CST

    chrth

    by Conqueror Worm

    You mean 'Mad Men' not 'Anchorman' right?

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 12:12 p.m. CST

    I'll give it a chance...

    by Alonzo Mosely

    But the British original was so great because it had a definite story to tell, with very little padding or false reveals to drag it out. The US version is going to want to run for as long as possible, which is the exact opposite. If they can solve that enigma, they are on to a winner, otherwise, well, it will quickly drop off my radar.<p> I also liked the ending to the original, sure there was some stuff that was there to set up the spin-off, rather than to wrap up the story, and yes it does feel tacked on. However, there is a braveness to the ending (which I am not going to spoil) that would never fly on US TV, think about what the actual moral of the ending is, and just think how controversial that is. I think a lot of people concentrate on the where he ends up, and ignore the decision needed to create the how.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 12:19 p.m. CST

    How Much More Fanboy Can You Get...

    by Paste Pot Pete

    ...than to reject this series out of hand because Harvey Keitel replaced Colm Meaney? I enjoy Meaney whenever he (usually unexpectedly) turns up in something, but -- damn! -- its Harvey friggin' Keitel! Every week! On your TV!

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 12:22 p.m. CST

    I don't know

    by lovecraftian

    I'm obsessed with the original. I loved the chemistry between John Simm and Philip Glenister. While I'm glad they managed to put it in a dirtier, more industrial city (although I still think Chicago and Detroit more closely resemble Manchester in the 70's)and they've taken the cast more seriously, I just don't know if it'll live up to sheer brilliance that was, what I consider, to be possibly the greatest television show I've ever seen so far.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Trash

    by Don Lockwood

    Both Anchorman and Mad Men have scenes where the characters just leave litter laying around. <p> I'm looking forward to the show, but I really wish the original was available as R1 DVDs. Hell, even if it came out on Blu-Ray, that'd be fine since there's no regioning.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 1:18 p.m. CST

    So, if the pilot is a note for note of the original.....

    by Aloy

    does that mean they rip off the other Brit LOMs? Probably not cause they wouldn't translate but color me watching with a chip on my shoulder. I love how the Brit shows have no problem putting a totally ordinary, even shmucky guy in the lead and here he has to be all macho. Totally blows the whole feel and he looks ridiculous wearing the same clothes as the original.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 2:13 p.m. CST

    ABC should rerun this on the weekends

    by skimn

    Aren't Saturday and Sunday nights the nights Mannix, Mission Impossible and Kojak always ran? At least it would be cool if ABC would run its commercial break logos in the neon style of the '70s. If they went to commercial break with a '70s era commercial, before the real break that would be cooler still.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 2:28 p.m. CST

    If this is actually any good....

    by aversiontherapy2

    I'll eat my hat and be happy about it. Shame they dropped Meaney though.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 2:31 p.m. CST

    Why do they ALWAYS remake these things???

    by Dreamwriter

    I mean, there is a British version. It is quite popular. So why not bring that one over?! Why remake it??? They tried it with Red Dwarf: failed. They went with Coupling: failed. The Office, failed until they stopped using the British scripts. It makes no sense to me. OK, there are a few references to British culture, so what? We can deal with it. The British Coupling is one of my favorite shows, I don't need to get every last joke about some political figure or news reporter. What really gets me is, I can't think of any shows they've actually directly brought over that failed. They haven't even tried! Yet they assume it'll fail.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 3:02 p.m. CST

    Gretchen Mol

    by Itchy

    has an outstanding pair of tits. Not that you'll ever see them on network tv, but they are well worth seeking out.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 3:33 p.m. CST

    Conqueror Worm: Yeah, what Don Lockwood said

    by chrth

    The Anchorman scene is particularly funny the way it's filmed

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 4:03 p.m. CST

    oh fuck off...

    by FamousEccles

    that is all

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 4:56 p.m. CST

    They claim to go in a new direction...

    by Bill Clay

    ...in the second episode. Sam sits down with Annie and writes down 13 (!) different possible reasons for him being back in 1973. They've expanded the choices from "Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time". What else is left? Wormholes? The Matrix?

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 7:28 p.m. CST

    Damn you Herc! Damn you!

    by Luscious.868

    I was really looking forward to this show, but if you like it, I'm probably going to hate it. Damn you!!!!!

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 7:51 p.m. CST

    I saw the Colm Meaney version

    by Amy Chasing

    and compared to the original, it sucked. Don't know if I'll bother with this one.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 8:14 p.m. CST

    skimn: the promo spots were retro

    by MGTHEDJ

    This summer while they were having to recast, ABC's marketing dept. cut spots with just the lead actor. They used the 1970's ABC logos, graphics, and used "The Mod Squad" theme for the promo. It was very clever.<p>I'll be checking this out. And someone give a heads up next time BBC America does a LoM maratrhon. I missed the one they did a few days ago.-----later-----m

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 8:18 p.m. CST

    When is LOST coming back on?

    by JeffManSixtyFo

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 9:06 p.m. CST

    Lester!!

    by MGTHEDJ

    Lester from The Wire!! He was in the interrogation room. I told you guys that Wire actors would get work for the next several years.--m

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 9:10 p.m. CST

    Now we know why they used NYC

    by MGTHEDJ

    That shot of the Twin Towers was perfect.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 9:12 p.m. CST

    So far it's good but....

    by ThrowMeTheIdol

    Too fastforwarded. They are rushing too fast. But production values and cast are good.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 9:20 p.m. CST

    "They are rushing too fast."

    by Shermdawg

    Agreed. And because of that, I'm not digging it so far.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 9:28 p.m. CST

    I don't like the sepia tone

    by ThrowMeTheIdol

    Or whatever that look is. Gauzy. The best thing about this series is the exceptional supporting cast, they have a gold mine with Mol, Keitel and Imperioli. But they were all introduced too fast.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 9:31 p.m. CST

    42 minutes vs. 46-50 minutes

    by MGTHEDJ

    Those 6-8 minutes are what has hurt commercial tv. The BBC/PBS shows as well as the HBO stuff getting those extra minutes make all the difference.--m

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 9:55 p.m. CST

    Not good.

    by Shermdawg

    Because it's being rushed, the moments you absolutely need for this type of gimmick aren't happening, and the main character's lack of disbelief isn't helping a show that's supposedly gotta stretch out a storyline. He should question things more...or better yet, actually make this his life and overtime slowly realize he's in a coma. They have have this potentionally cool gimmick, yet all they're doing with it is using it as an excuse to play oldies. <br><br> And they really used Baba O'Reilly!? Really??? So lame.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 10:02 p.m. CST

    Gretchen Mol should be doing films. After that Vanity Fair

    by GQtaste

    Cover titled her as the new "it" girl and things didn't go as planned she got left by the waste side. But after seeing her in The Shape of Things and later w/ Bettie Page esp. that one she blew me away! Also it doesn't hurt that she's drop dead gorgeous too.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 10:03 p.m. CST

    I'm British, but I preferred this version

    by chimpjnr

    I thought that the original was good, especially John Simm and Phil Glenister's performance, but I always felt that it was tonally off for some reason. I've never been able to put my finger on it. Perhaps it was the productions values...maybe it was the awkward mix of comedy and drama. I dunno. This version though...it felt like it took a position. More drama, less comedy. Keitel is no Jean Hunt, but the rest is better. New York is also far more iconic than Manchester.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 10:06 p.m. CST

    Baba O' Reilly is a hat-tip to CSI:NY?

    by MGTHEDJ

    That's it's theme. But i have not seen the origial BBC version so I don't know if it was used there as well.<p>OK, I liked it, and if indeed it was a "cover" I absolutly want to watch the original. Next week is the true test with the USA writers taking over. Let's hope they don't fuck it up. These guys don't have the best track record.-----later-----m

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 10:06 p.m. CST

    16 episodes versus 5 years

    by ThrowMeTheIdol

    That's the difference. The US version needs to ramp it up slowly and flesh things out. He shouldn't have gone into the past till half way through or even near the end of the first episode. And once there, like the commenter above said, he needed to question things a lot more, not just stare.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 10:11 p.m. CST

    MUCH better than the original pilot...

    by Bill Clay

    It feels more like an American show now. As opposed to the first version that was too derivative of the BBC version. <p> It sure seems like they're emphasizing the coma angle, even though the producers swear that the US version will have a different explanation. And what the flashback with Annie running through the woods in the red dress? How are they going to shoehorn that plot point into their new mythology? I'm not sure the American audience will love this show like the UK audience did, but I'll be back to see more.

  • Oct. 9, 2008, 10:19 p.m. CST

    oh noes 13 reasons? major difference!!!

    by blonde redhead

    it's still not going to change the fact that this version will suck, that i will watch it for a while due to the fact that the harv will be on my televisual screen, and that i think it will be a let down because of the lack of john simm. jason o'mara is one wooden assed motherfucker.

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 12:53 a.m. CST

    "Is There Life...?"

    by Napoleon Park

    Did anyone else love "Life On Mars"?<p>Cop drama. Love story. Quirky time-travel mystery. Musical.<p>I know, people with not enough time to watch all the new shows, busy critics who think they're paid to be critical and Anglophile elitists who assume the original short-run version of any British series has to be better than any open-ended American remake are all dismissing it. "We already had that '70s show" and "Swingtown". Right, as if television only ever had room for a couple series set during World War Two or the post-Civil War Wild West.<p>Quirky time travel sci-fi series.<p>New York Cop Sam Tyler (same first name as the guy from Quantum Leap, imagine that.) is struck by a car in 2008 and wakes up with a mild concussion in 1973. He lists the options: He time traveled from "the future," he has brain damage and is delusional or he's died and is imagining everything. (Hey, if the British series decided on one of those three, I don't want to know about it, okay?)<p>What's novel: he remembers his past life in the future of our present. But he lives in a world where his instincts to use use cell phones and personal computers, to respect criminals rights and treat a policewoman as an equal, and to expect forensic evidence such as fingerprints to take less than several weeks to analyze and process, are all seen as evidence of his delusion.<p>Even Sam veers from believing it's all in his imagination (even believing that a gun a suspect is holding on him won't kill him, just wake him up) to believing it must be real because his new reality simply has too much specific detail for his subconscious to be making it all up.<p>Cop drama.<p>If you're a fan - or just remember - the late '60s/early '70s New York cop movies like Serpico and the French Connection, well, Life On Mars gets those right in a way that eallty seventies NYPD law shows like Beretta and Petrocelli weren't allowed to.<p>The twist is, by viewing this as a historical drama, we see the bigger picture of social change in action. In the bicentennial year Dirty Harry flick "The Enforcer" Tyne Daly's "women's libber" female cop takes a bullet and her dying words are "Harry, I screwed up". Here Gretchen Mol's police woman Annie Norris is an undervalued and underappreciated asset with a PHD in psychiatry who endures the taunts of coworkers and superiors who refer to her as "No Nuts" and expect her to fetch coffee.<p>Love Story.<p>Sam loves co-worker Maya Daniels. Something tragic happens to her during a case they are investigating of a copy-cat serial killer. Stuck in the past Sam solves the case and figures out who the killer is... or will be in the future. now he's a six year old boy. And Sam comes this close to killing the kid in order to save Maya in the future when her voice on his car radio informs him that she's alright. As the radio signal disolves to static she begs him to come back to her, and there's nothing he's like more, but how?<p>Musical<p>Relax, it's not Cop Rock. it's just a historical drama/fantasy that makes use of the music of the era being depicted.<p>The problem or the Shark Jump for That '70s Show wasn't when supposed lead actor 2fer "Gopher Face" Grace, Tanya roberts, Forman's sister Laurie left the series. Heck even the name Eric Forman left the series and, with the addition of an 'e', joined the cast of characters on House, MD. No, the trouble was that everyone else stayed. For a few years too long. Not that it was "30 year old teenager 90210 syndrome," but that the shows original premise of moving forward one year every season fell apart when the show stayed stuck in 1979 for several years because the shows creators had already sold off the title "That '80s Show".<p> But while it was moving forward through the decade, it tended to over-focus on the events of each single year, like a high school play written by consulting an encyclopedia entry or an almanac for the topical events of a certain period.<p>Or, alternately, by presenting a '70s fantasy land in which bell bottoms, platform shoes, vote t-shirts and double kniit polyester leisure suits all happened simultaneously with glitter, prog, shock and punk rock and disco in a time when boys played with pet rocks and Rubik's Cubes and Donna hid her copy of Playgirl under the mattress. A seventies where the entire decade happened all at once.<p>I have nothng but praise for the autenticity of AMC's Mad Men, But it's that encyclopedia, almanac, yearbook, catalog and old magazine authenticity in which every fashion, every prop, every set design is very specific to the period; a 1962 where everything that happened was happening exactly then.<p>In the Life On Mars pilot, for example, there is a reference to something from ten years earlier that at first seems anacronistic until you realize that sometimes people listen to old records, or wear hand me downs, or buy used furniture. Whether it's 1962, 1973 or 2008, very few people live completely in the now.<p>I really liked Swingtown, but... there were no music lovers, no record collectors, audiophiles or even hipsters. The show was often a non-stop jukebox. I once compared it to watching the TV with an oldies station tuned in. But no one really cared about cool music - everyone was satisfied to listen to the soundtrack cherry picked from the eras top 40 hits. Personally, in the disco era I was already listening to a lot of albums and music from a lot of genres including a lot of "classic" pop and rock music from the '60s, and not much of what was getting current commercial airplay.<p>Life On Mars gets that, starting with it's title track/theme song/inspiration. If you want to hear a cut from Bowie's Hunky dory album now, you put it on your iPod. if you wanted to hear it in your car in 1973, forget the radio, you had to buy the 8-track tape.<p>Okay, some of the music choices are slightly jarring non-sequitors. What does "Little Willie Won't Go" have to do with a chase scene? But some of it is brilliantly and cleverly chosen to set the tone of the period.<p>And really, how incredibly gutsy and cool is it to co-opt the theme song from CSI: NY, The Who's "Baba O'Reilly" (or as people living in an alternate universe where they can just make up names for stuff call it, "Teenage Wasteland") and actually put it in it's correct historical context (as well as playing it right, instead of giving us some sort of electronica dance music remix.)<p>Besides, Swingtown was set in 1976 and music - at least the hit music of the period - was crap. Oh, people looking back with hindsight have respect for the music put in a historical context, but people who lived through the '70s knew that '70s music sucked.<p> Maybe it's me - in 1973 I was 20, just flunked out of Junior College, driving a Fiat, dumped by the love of my life, just beginning to discover drugs, still under 200 pounds and wearing blue jeans and sneakers. It was a golden year for me. And there was some great music then. 1973 was a helluva year for great music. Okay, for music it was no 1967, '68 or '69... but it was pretty good.<p>= Napoleon Park =<p>cast*Jason O'Mara - Det. Sam Tyler*Harvey Keitel - Lt. Gene Hunt*Michael Imperioli - Det. Ray Carling*Gretchen Mol - Annie Norris*Jonathan Murphy - Det. Chris Skelton*Lisa Bonet - Maya Daniels<p>Okay, how great is getting Harvey Keitel, star of the corrupt cop film Bad Lieutenant, to play the brutal, suspect beating, warrent ignoring police Lieutenant? How cool is getting Michael Imperioli from Goodfellas and the sopranos to play the polyester jacket and porn mustache wearing cop who was up for the position that Sam walked into. How hot is having beautiful film star Gretchen Mol signed to a series? How keen is having Cosby kid Lisa Bonet back on TV in a Thursday night series (just like The Cosby Show was)?<p>Plus, series star/Irish actor Jason O'Mara has already been a regular on two series and had recurring roles on five others. Any change of him getting a gig that lasts more than a season?<p>"If I was a figment of your imagination, I'd probably leave your hand on my chest." - Annie

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 1:18 a.m. CST

    Gee, if I'd broken that review up into smaller chunks

    by Napoleon Park

    this talkback would be tied for 8th place on the chart instead of sitting on the bottom.

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 2:28 a.m. CST

    Skimm

    by Xiphos_2

    They can't rerun the show on Saturday night, the college football game of the week owns Saturday night. I guess they could start in December but the roughly 625,000 bowl games start to air then.<p>Sunday night, I think, has the desperate old ladies in the suburb show. Outside of Lost and College football I don't know what else ABC airs.

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 5:03 a.m. CST

    Outside of Lost and College football I don't know what else ABC

    by Pancho Straight

    "Outside of Lost and College football I don't know what else ABC airs."<p>Desperate Housewives. Boston Legal. Eli Stone. Pushing Daisies. Private Practice. Dirty Sexy Money. Grey's Anatomy. Life On Mars.<p>I guess either I watch a lot more TV than you or have o;der and more mainstream tastes, whatever point you were trying to make. Personally I watch more shows on American than any other network.

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 6:25 a.m. CST

    so- wait - the theme song ISN'T Life on Mars?

    by Maniaq

    I like the idea of them decidedly NOT doing the ending the Brits went for, and I think I know what that means they're gonna do. <p> Which would be WAY cooler and I'd be totally ok with. <p> If there was one and only one thing I would hope they keep from the British version, it would be that Sam Tyler is no hero. <p> He was constantly at odds with his 70's counterparts - especially Hunt - but in a very unherolike fashion he also tended to get beat up and actually LOSE fights that he got into. I really liked that he would try to make a point about something and typically end up worse for wear and often looking stupid and failing to get his point across. <p> Anyway, if it goes the way I think it's going to go then it should be pretty alright

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 6:49 a.m. CST

    Gretchen Mol Harvey Keitel Michael Imperioli

    by palewook

    will keep me watching a few more weeks. still a huge fan of the brit show. but the cast could keep the us remake from sucking. now its up to the writer's whether this is a hit or a failure.

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 7:20 a.m. CST

    the button

    by brassai2003

    I love it that the main character has his shirt buttoned all the way up to the top! Also, 1973, way before my time, was and odd time in New York according to the books I have read. It was like this purgatory of post hippie/pre-disco. BUt it was DEPRESSED! I hope the show sticks around, unlike Swingtown, which shoved your face in costumes as if to say HEY! it's 1976!!!! This was more subtle.

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 7:55 a.m. CST

    Pilot was rushed, but overall pretty impressive.

    by SpyGuy

    As someone who loved the original BBC series, I was pretty skeptical about a U.S. version but I think I'm board now. The decision to go almost shot-for-shot was probably pretty wise considering how strong the first U.K. episode was, but Sam looking up at the Twin Towers was a powerful addition, IMHO. <p>Keitel seems like a better fit for a New York setting than Colm Meaney, although he seems to be getting on in years (Isn't he like 70 now?). Looking forward to seeing Imperioli becoming more of a jerk as Ray and it looks like next week has the classic swimsuit chase.</p> <p>Oh, and for the record, Baba O'Reilly was used in that very same scene from the original version, so I'm glad the U.S. team kept it.</p>

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 8:45 a.m. CST

    Did none of you see the original British series...

    by Pdorwick

    ...'cause this American one stinks. Not badly written but horribly directed and would someone please tell someone to dial back the "period" lighting. Awful.

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 9:32 a.m. CST

    NO way

    by majortom25

    I read what the final episode of the british series was. I will not watch this series for that stupid ending.

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 9:34 a.m. CST

    majortom

    by palewook

    abc has already said their version of life on mars won't end the same way. <p> but doubt abc's last long enough to have an ending. probably will get 1 season and fade.

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 9:47 a.m. CST

    ratings from last night. Mars won timeslot

    by palewook

    ABC’s Life on Mars won the hour with an 8.2/14 in the overnights.

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 10:58 a.m. CST

    The 70's was ABC's heyday...

    by Bill Clay

    They really should play up the ABC 70's connection. ABC was the cool, hip, psychedelic network back then. It aimed for younger viewers with their '2001: Space Odyssey' inspired neon commercials and promos. Remember the trippy "ABC Movie of the Week" opening? We need to see Sam watching more 70's ABC, and less Kojack and Cannon.

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 11:28 a.m. CST

    I don't get the negativity toward it.

    by F-18

    I thought it was pretty good. It's something different. Yes, it is a cop show, but it isn't another CSI-type show.

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Re: overnight ratings...

    by Bill Clay

    From www.medialifemagazine.com- <p> “ER” managed its best rating in months en route to topping CBS’s “Eleventh Hour” and ABC’s “Life on Mars” in the 10 p.m. timeslot. At 10 p.m. “ER” averaged a 3.9, 0.1 ahead of “Mars” and 0.6 ahead of “Hour.” “Hour” squandered more than half its lead-in among 18-49s and nearly half in total viewers, where it tied “Mars” for first in the timeslot with 11.6 million total viewers. “Mars” performed much better than last year’s post-“Grey’s” timeslot holder, “Big Shots,” holding 69 percent of its lead-in and tying for the best new show premiere of the year with CBS’s quickly fading “Worst Week.”

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 2:20 p.m. CST

    SpyGuy: thanks for the info

    by MGTHEDJ

    Napoleon Park nice review. ABC is somewhat stuck with it's schedule. They run College Football on Saturday Nights until just before Christmas, then they do some holiday specials. They will not have room for "double-pumps" until January.<p>Bill Clay I agree. ABC used the old graphics this summer, and they need to play it up more. It would really allow them to stand out. Looks like "11th Hour" will be gone by Christmas.------later-----m

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 2:25 p.m. CST

    abc's press release on ratings

    by palewook

    ABC's "Life on Mars" Opens as TV's No. 1 New Drama Debut This Season In Adults 18-49, Qualifying as the Highest-Rated Fall Drama Opener in 1 Year <p>In the 10pm Hour, "Life on Mars" Beats CBS' Debut of "Eleventh Hour" in Key Adults Thursday Night (8:00-11:00 p.m.) Against the premiere of CBS' Thursday dramas, ABC earned second place in Total Viewers (11.5 million) and across all key Adult demos: AD18-34 (3.4/10), AD18-49 (4.0/10) and AD25-54 (4.6/11). ABC posted a dominant first place on the evening in Women 18-34, besting its nearest competition by 26% (4.9/14 vs. 3.9/11 - NBC). <p>"Life on Mars" (10:00-11:00 p.m.) TV's highest-rated drama debut of the season, ABC's series debut of "Life on Mars" topped CBS' series premiere of "Eleventh Hour" by solid margins in the 10 o'clock hour across all key Adult demos: AD18-34 +23% (2.7/8 vs. 2.2/7), AD18-49 +15% (3.8/10 vs. 3.3/9) and AD25-54 +14% (4.8/12 vs. 4.2/10). In addition, "Life on Mars" ranked No. 1 in the hour in AD25-54, M25-54 and W25-54, and was the top-rated broadcast show in the slot with Teens 12-17 (1.4/6). <p>* "Life on Mars" stands as TV's No. 1 drama debut of the season in Adults 18-49, and the highest-rated Fall drama opener in 1 year - since 10/3/07. <p>* "Life on Mars" improved the time period for ABC over the same night last year (w/"Big Shots") by 3.1 million viewers (11.6 million vs. 8.5 million), by 6% in Adults 18-49 (3.8/10 vs. 3.6/10) and by 17% in Adults 25-54 (4.8/12 vs. 4.1/11). * "Life on Mars" retained a strong 93% of its lead-in among Men 18-49 (2.8/8 vs. 3.0/8) and built on Grey's Anatomy by 6% in Men 25-54 (3.7/10 vs. 3.5/8).

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 4:10 p.m. CST

    Gotta say doesn't hold up to the original

    by CrichtonAstronut

    It's not bad. O'Mara just doesn't sell the conusion and anger wth hi situation the way John Simm did. Compared Phil Gelenister, Harvey Keitel's Gene Hunt comes off a little clumsy and almost cartoonish. The interruptions of mood music where scenes might have developed some of the characters so wed knowwhich scenes are meant to be funny and which are not. What they did do well was to cast Michael Imperiloni and Gretchen Mol. These two and guy playing Imperiloni partner are the only ones who don't loiok like they're acting. While I prefer the satrical wit of British Annie t the overserious American Annie at least Gretechen's making the effort to sell the character she's been given. O'Mara seems to be gong through the motions and Keitel I love him, but he's donbe better and in this role he's just no Philip Glenister. Sorry but Glennister's Gene Hunt to me is up there with Ian McShane's Al Swearengen an James Gandolfini's Tony Soprano. You tread sacred ground whe you tread in those foot steps. And while full willig to blame the directing and not the acting the steps are just not quite right. It's not bad over all. But if want to see great watch the original.

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 6:30 p.m. CST

    Saw the original pilot...

    by Kelvington

    what a load of SHIT it was. It was nearly impossible to watch. It really soured me to this show, but I did watch it, and was very surprised it wasn't terrible! <P><P>What is terrible however is that the best thing I can say about it was that it didn't totally suck. <P><P>What happened to the days when shows were amazing and incredible? And why aren't more people watching "Pushing Daisies"? <P><P> Bottom line is I don't see how you drag this out over three or four season. I don't think it can hold up, but I'll watch it for a while.

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 7:18 p.m. CST

    Ancient ABC Movie of the Week intro...

    by Bill Clay

    Now this is what I'm talking about! <p> http://tinyurl.com/4soztu

  • Oct. 10, 2008, 9:35 p.m. CST

    Limited

    by NudeandAroused

    It isn't bad at all. i just hope that this, like the BBC version, is limited.

  • Oct. 11, 2008, 12:51 a.m. CST

    FUCK THIS SHOW! FUCK IT!!!!

    by TheWaqman

    The original is better.

  • Oct. 11, 2008, 2:30 a.m. CST

    Three BIG problems

    by Domi'sInnerChild

    All the jokes fell flat. Seemed like it was trying too hard from having a too old and too small Keitel and a super model in the cast (Mol looks really out of place with the rest of the cast) to the spinning and jumping camera (he's disoriented! Get it!?). I'm kinda bothered he seemingly knows for certain he's in a coma already. I remember enjoying the "is it a coma, is he crazy, did he really time travel" angle early in the British series.

  • Oct. 11, 2008, 2:52 a.m. CST

    it's so much fun

    by Pancho Straight

    listening to you rich fuckers whinge about how you hop in your jets to fly to England to watch your favorite TV shows and then fly to Singapore for authentic Chinese food that's better than what you can get in your neighborhood.<p>Why should I give a rats ass if a different version of some show in some foreign country is better than the new remake airing on American TV? You think I'm going to go to Great Britain just to watch The Office? Shuck that fit, the BBC isn't on my local cable system.<p>Ritche bastridges.

  • Oct. 11, 2008, 3:09 a.m. CST

    Psssssst, Pancho....

    by Bill Clay

    I got a secret for you. There's this new thing called "the internet" where you can watch TV shows from around the world, without ever having to leave your parent's basement.

  • Oct. 11, 2008, 6:04 a.m. CST

    Pisssshit, Bill

    by Pancho Straight

    If there's an online site where I can legally watch the British Life On Mars for free, how about letting me know about it? Where is it? It ain't on Hulu or Fancast.<p>the American version of Life On Mars can be seen online, full episode, at http://abc.go.com/ But, y'know, I've already seen it twice.

  • Oct. 11, 2008, 6:35 a.m. CST

    Pancho Straight: It's called BBC America

    by MGTHEDJ

    That is its name if it is on your cable system. They did a "Life On Mars" Marathon last week, and they occasionaly show the original version of "The Office." Just sayin'.-----later-----m

  • Oct. 11, 2008, 9:12 a.m. CST

    The original rocks - see it if you can

    by Chris Wood

    It was a great show with some fantastic cursing in it - really old fashioned annoy everyone stuff. Worth seeing just for that, frankly.

  • Oct. 11, 2008, 1:38 p.m. CST

    "an online site where I can legally watch..."

    by Bill Clay

    Take a walk on the wild side, Pancho, and discover the magic of BitTorrent. You've just taken your first step into a much larger world.

  • Oct. 11, 2008, 4:19 p.m. CST

    Pancho Straight

    by Xiphos_2

    The point I was trying to make is that ABC has shitty shows outside of Lost and College football. Back away from the TV son, take a walk, the fresh air will do you some good.

  • Oct. 11, 2008, 6:56 p.m. CST

    Everybody doesn't have BBC America

    by F-18

    and have never seen the original. <p> Some of you fuckers act all high and mighty because you've seen shows that have aired in Europe. <p> "Oh, the US version could never ever be as good as the original on BBC. NO WAY." <p> If it's not up to your high standards, don't watch it. You don't have to.

  • Oct. 11, 2008, 10:03 p.m. CST

    tiers of a clown

    by Pancho Straight

    Comcast has tiers of service. Basic cable is the main broadcast networks plus a few superstations and some home shopping crap. Advanced basic includes the usual cable channels. Digital includes many more channels including BBC America and the Sci-Fi channel, plus various themed radio stations. Then there's the pay services like HBOtime and so on.<p>Hooray for the people who can pay a hundred bucks a month to watch TV, but some of are financially limited to Basic cable.<p>Bit torrent and online file sharing is fine for lawbreakers who don;t mind filling their computers up with spyware, malicious coding and viruses, trojans and worms and can affort to upgrade to a new computer every year or so. Again, hooray for the wealthy.<p>Mr. Spork, you seem to know what I'm saying and i agree with everything you added. Say hi to the Beanworld for me.<p>Xiphoos 2, what did you do with the real Xiphos? Glad you cleared up what you meant to say about ABC's lineup because it sounded like what you were saying was that since you don;t kike the same shows I do, then I must have shitty taste, and I sure wouldn't take that sort of bullshit from someone who confesses in a public forum to watching college footsball. Nothing wrong with watching a bunch of young muscleboys in satin pants and funny hats grabbing each other and leaping into piles if that's what entertains you, especially if someone's conned you into betting your lunch money on the outcome. I prefer scripted dramas and comedies with attractive women and entertainment values. But to each his or her own.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 7:26 a.m. CST

    I checked the BBC America web site

    by Napoleon Park

    it's not on there, either.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 1:19 p.m. CST

    Re: lawbreakers, spyware, viruses... oh my!

    by Bill Clay

    What a frightening world you live in where downloading a TV show will blow up your computer. If you can work up the nerve, you can find episodes on YouTube, also.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 10:56 p.m. CST

    honestly i don't see how

    by blonde redhead

    they can avoid the original three options as presented to sam. maybe i'm just too shortsighted, but...he is either in a coma, he is insane, or he has traveled back in time. the ABC version may hedge its bets, but it will be a variant on one of the three. this talk of USsam being in purgatory is basically the UK ending with a twist. same thing, different continent.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 2:25 p.m. CST

    Keitel is too old...

    by bluebottle

    i love him, but he's in his 60's and that's 20 years older than the character should be... it was the one thing i didn't enjoy, and it worries me that if this series lasts 5 years, Keitel will just look ridiculous by the end.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 2:32 p.m. CST

    Pancho

    by just pillow talk

    No need to get your panties in a bunch if Xi disagrees with you on what makes a quality show. Nor is there any need to feel threatened that someone likes college football besides a scripted drama or comedy.