Tuesday, October 07, 2008

TV Review: Life on Mars (UK)

(This review contains no significant spoilers.)

A couple of nights ago, I finished watching the BBC's Life on Mars, and I thought I would post my review of the show.

The Setup

In 2006, Sam Tyler is a Detective Chief Inspector in the Manchester police force.  He's struck by a car, knocked unconscious, and wakes up in 1973 Manchester as a Detective Inspector.  He's confronted with casual racism and sexism, a lack of all modern police technology,  personality conflicts, and the question of whether he has really travelled back in time or lying in a coma.

The title of the series comes from the David Bowie song of the same name, which was playing on Sam's iPod when he was hit by the car and on his radio when he awakens.

The show, which ran for 2 seasons of 8 episodes each,  was quite a hit in the UK.  It even spawned a sequel series, Ashes to Ashes, which is based on essentially the same premise, features some of the same characters, takes place principally in 1981, and is also named after a Bowie.

Because of its popularity, Life on Mars is being adapted for American broadcast by ABC.  The first episode of the American version will air this Thursday.  US versions of British shows are often only pale imitations in my opinion, so I'm curious to see how the American Life on Mars compares to the original.

I should point out that this series contains a lot of profanity, some nudity, and fair number of racial and gender-based slurs, so it may not be appropriate for children.

What I Liked
  • All the characters, especially Sam and Gene Hunt, his DCI in 1973, are very interesting characters, and well performed.
  • I found the overarching storyline and the individual episode plots to be engaging.

What I Disliked
  • Well, I can't think of anything I strongly disliked.  


Overall, I give this show 7.5 out of 10.  It is interesting and entertaining, and I recommend you sample it.

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