Trailer Blazer: ABC's 'Life on Mars' remake

For a couple years now, we here at PopWatch have been eagerly awaiting — sometimes a touch too eagerly! — the American remake of the BBC’s excellent time-travel/police-procedural series Life on Mars. And just this week, we found out that ABC will indeed be airing its brand-new Life on Mars every Thursday after Grey’s this fall. Now that it’s actually happening, of course, it’s time for some worrisome second thoughts. Can American network TV really handle material this original? Check out ABC’s new trailer (hat tip to Entertainment Tonight) and see for yourself:

Well, that voice-over narration is just painful. And io9 is right to flag the corny funk music that busts out when Mars‘ present-day cop gets bumped back to the ’70s — the show is named after a spooky David Bowie power ballad, dudes, not some sort of KC and the Sunshine Band outtake! So yeah, it remains unclear whether ABC is interested in preserving the BBC show’s unique tone, or if this is heading for wacky sitcom-ish territory. But I’m digging star Jason O’Mara (and co-star/Star Trek alum Colm Meaney) in this clip —€” enough to give ABC the benefit of the doubt ’til this fall. Are you?


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  • Snarf

    Saw the original. Very strange. Not sure if it will fly in the USA. Time will tell I guess

  • Patty

    Horrible. The original was amazing – this looks like Starsky and Hutch (they are certainly using the S&H music). The Brits get is right so often – 2 very short seasons, wrap up and let it go off with people still loving it. If this does any good, they will drag it out for 7 years until people are sick of it.

  • Shirley

    It looks interesting, i’ll watch. Love Colm & Jason.

  • Court

    How about NO? This will be another failed US version of a brilliant UK show. If John Simm is not playing Sam Tyler, I have no interest in seeing this.

  • Robbie

    I’ll check it out. I dig how well they got the look of the 70s, and the stars seem very appealing.

  • Kristen

    I agree that it looks horrible as well. I also have a feeling the jokes are going to be too sitcom. Although the BBC version has its moments of comic brilliance, it was by no means a comedy.
    I am not liking like the new Sam and Gene either. It sounds so wrong to hear them call that guy Sam Tyler. John Simm’s performance in the original is some of the strongest acting I have ever seen. This new guy has the presence of a wet mop. And with a such a character-driven show, that’s a really bad sign.

  • Tony

    Never saw the original, though I’ve wanted to for a while now, it sounds right up my alley. This just looks cheesy. Although, I like to see Colm Meaney as much as possible. He’s a better actor than he usually gets credit for.

  • Lisa

    I agree with Kristen. It felt so wrong for this guy to be called Sam Tyler. (They should’ve changed the names) I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt, because I loved the original (and I only ever saw the second season!) and because of Colm Meany. But I’ll have my finger on the Delete button the whole time, so it better win me over quick.

  • mirdeb6

    I agree with “Snarf”, saw the BBC original and don’t believe it will fly!

  • cruzilla

    Anyone know when the original will be out on DVD?

  • Nose

    I know nothing about this show, but just came into say why oh why do they have to rip off every single British show for American tv? Are there really no new, fresh, brilliant writers/network people to come up with their own ideas? The bottom line here, I suppose, is that I’m really peeved about the upcoming US rip-off of “Spaced,” for which they are using Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s name to hype, while not asking any permission to do.

  • Miranda

    OMG! It’s like shredding a Van Gogh, mixing it into some paint, and then letting a 2 year old finger paint with it! Life on Mars was one of those rare British shows that could’ve been translated well to an American audience. It wasn’t like it was super British. But this makes me super leerty. I don’t mind Colm Meaney as Glen Hunt. I mean I’d always prefer Phil Glenister, but I could get behind Meaney. Now Jason O’Mara…there’s no way that he’ll ever be a tenth of a tenth as good as John Simm. I thought this before I saw this trailer and I think so still. The lack of the David Bowie song is mystifying. Honestly, BBC should just release the British version onto Region 1 DVDs and the American version should never see the light of day. A huge part of me hopes that this goes the way of Viva Laughlin. Just a big blech!

  • Deb

    I can’t watch the trailer until I get home, but “Amen” to Miranda and others with similar doubts. I’ll tune in out of curiousity but I really loved the Brit version. Why a remake? I can’t wait for LOM DVDs either. I also can’t wait for BBCAmerica to air the 80’s spin-off, Ashes to Ashes. More Gene Hunt please!

  • Patty

    Speaking of ruining other Brit shows, you know the will be a subpar American version of State of Play very soon. Another John Simm role – excellent miniseries, not sure how it will translate to a 2 hour movie. What is next? Our own version of Dr. Who? Stop the madness!

  • Miranda

    Patty – They already did a sort of Doctor Who in the mid-90s. The TV movie with the only on-screen appearance of the 8th Doctor was a part British and part American production. I have heard about the possibility of there being an American version of “Torchwood”.
    And now some good stuff! The first link is of Sam getting hit and going to 1973 and the other is my favorite chase scene in the entire series.

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