'Life on Mars' premiere: Is it bloody great or what?

Lifeonmars_lDavid E. Kelley, David E. Shmelley. Some assumed when the TV-guru left Life on Mars‘ production team the show was dead. Others thought it bit the dust when ABC reshot the pilot with a whole new supporting cast. I, for one — being an anglophile who adores John Simm and Philip Glenister, the one two punch of the British original — thought it was all over the day some fool got the crap idea to remake my favorite show.

Then there was that moment during last night’s premiere when it hit me: Lord, was I wrong. I LOVE Life on Mars. Sure, you can’t tell that much from just a pilot, but just think about it. The show has brought The Sopranos‘ Michael Imperioli, The Wire‘s Clarke Peters, and The Cosby Show‘s Lisa Bonet all back on TV. And during the same hour! More than that, it got Harvey Keitel on series TV in the first place. And he’s great (sorry, Philip, still love you though). Lead Jason O’Mara, on the other hand, is a freakin’ revelation. Sure, he rocked The Closer, but I didn’t expect this. This is good.

Oh, and the show itself has some pretty good lines ("I have an ass that can fart every Peter, Paul & Mary song ever recorded," "Let’s not wait until another girl ends up with her dead on"), great tunes ("Life on Mars" and "Baba O’Riley" in the same episode), and a pretty good mystery. Why is Sam stuck in 1973? Will he get back to 2008? And, if you’ve seen the Brit show, will this one end the same as it did in England?

So who else watched Life on Mars last night? And who else was as taken as I was? Or am I totally alone?

More on Life on Mars:
EW’s official review of ABC’s Life on Mars, by Gillian Flynn
EW’s review of the original BBC Life on Mars
The trailer for ABC’s Life on Mars

Comments (177 total) Add your comment
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  • Ceballos

    I caught it last night and it definitely has some promise.
    Keitel and Imperioli were pretty great (no surprise), it’s good to see the great Clark Peters, but he didn’t really have anything to do.
    O’Mara was likable, and I know that his character is supposed to be out of it and confused, but at times his performance just seemed a bit off. I feel like we don’t really know who he is and that might be because the show didn’t really take any time for the audience to get to know Sam Tyler and care about him or his relationship with Maya before his accident. The pilot was a little frenetic, but it’s better than being boring, right?
    Finally, how can you not love the soundtrack (though I hope the show doesn’t rely on music cues TOO much) and the duds.

  • YallaBB

    The timeslot became a total toss-up between Angela Bassett on ER and Life on Mars. I’ll be sticking with LoM.

  • susu005

    Loved the original BBC show, was afraid of this one- but so far so good. I will stick with it. Loving Angela Basset on er as well- also going to try 11th hour. I have a DVR that does 2 channels and an old school VCR in another room- essential tools for a tv aholic.

  • Joanne

    I loved this pilot episode last night.
    The cast was phenomenal!!!!!

  • kathy

    It wasn’t anywhere near as good as the origianl, so it seemed like a big waste of time to me.

  • JoeC

    I meant to watch it; then I got caught up in the baseball game and forgot!!!!! I’ll try to catch it next week……

  • Laura

    Wow! This show was awesome. The scene when he turns to the WTC’s was so powerful, and again at the end when he drove off. They did a great job of making NYC look like it was 1973. Can’t wait for next week!. Oh, and loved the music.

  • thwarted

    I watched it on impulse and LOVED it. Never heard of the British series before this, but I need to watch it now.

  • Leah

    I thought Jason O’Mara was pretty awesome last night. It’s been a while since a male lead has been that convincing I think.
    I was also really nervous when they recast the entire show and removed Colm Meaney (one of my favorites who never gets enough recognition) but Harvey Keitel is the epitome of badass- I loved him last night.
    My last bit of gush was over the soundtrack. I haven’t bought a US TV soundtrack ever, but if this one comes out, I will be all over that.

  • Rasha

    I watched it, and I didn’t get it at all. I was born in 1982, but the music was noisy (and they say what I listen to is crap? HA!), the clothes were awful—and while I definitely agree that Jason O’Mara is a force of nature, and I love him—I hate the show. Is he really going to stay in 1973 for the entire run of the series? I care more about this cop in the future than I do about him in the past.

  • jen

    I thought it was great! I loved the music. I will definatly keep up with it to see what comes next.

  • Patty

    No it will not end the same as the Brit version. It will run for 10 years longer than it should, b/c US tv just wants to milk every show for all they are worth. Brit version LoM ran for 2 very short seasons, leaves you wanting more – Ashes to Ashes anyone?

  • pendleton

    I liked the original – but this remake was really uninteresting. I was so looking forward to this show and in the middle I found myself not caring what happened to the guy at all. I think I need more buy-in. I needed to see more of him in the present and how potentially he’d change lives or the course of history – if he really is in the past. Overall I was pretty disappointed but will probably tune in next week to see if it gets better….but I don’t have a whole lot of faith that it will.

  • mage?!

    I watched the original BBC version and I was also watching last night. I love this show, probably my very favorite, so when I heard they were ‘Americanizing’ it I was not happy. Although as a Keitel fan, it is nice to see him. The show is good, the original is transcendent. I don’t understand the re-make things that were done correctly the first time. If you haven’t seen Life on Mars on BBC then this is a great show, and if you loved the BBC version this is a good copy. (Almost shot for shot.)

  • mark in nyc

    Never saw the original but was intrigued for the show last night.
    It was just alright, I had no stake in the main character what so ever though. Maybe because they never wrote it, but I really was not impressed with the main actor…seemed like he was trying waaaaay to hard and I could see him acting. The rest of the cast was great though.
    Will give it another two or three episodes and hopefully it will grab me in some way (besides hearing David Bowie)

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