'Life on Mars' recap: Hello, Mother...

Lifeonmars_lNote to self: Be kind to your mom, because you know not what sacrifices she’s made for you. Also, don’t love an episode just because it has a Doctor Who reference.

Last week, we glimpsed Sam’s deadbeat salesman dad (aka Dean Winters). Last night, we met Mom. Her name: Rose Tyler. A reference perhaps to Doctor Who’s loveliest companion of late, played by Billie Piper? Considering DW is all about space and time travel, aliens and alternative universes, it’s not too far-fetched. Could Mama Rose be Sam’s companion/helper on this long, strange trip he’s on? Can she help him get back to the future? You tell me.

Speaking of, Sam and Rose’s scenes were a little, well, Back to the Future-esque. She didn’t inspect his underwear or try to kiss him, but there was something in their chemistry that made me think he was going to pull out a disappearing snapshot of himself. Among yesterday’s other allusions: Goodfellas and The Godfather. Annie also asked Sam to go see the Woody Allen film Sleeper, which, if my memory serves me right, isn’t so much about time travel, like she says, as it is about a man who’s basically been in a coma for 200 years starting in 1973. Hmmm….

addCredit(“Patrick Harbron/ABC”)

Anyway, Sam’s mother owed money to a mobbed-up loan shark. When Samtried to help her, she basically just got in more hot water with the guy’sboss (the excellent Robert Klein). And while in the end Sam did fixthings, it wasn’t until after she agreed to be one of Klein’s “girls” inorder to keep young Sam safe. Now, whether she actually hooked we don’tknow, but she did something that made her need a stiff drink and a goodcry. I’m sure Sammy appreciates her even more now.

And on the subject of appreciation, mine goes to Tanya Fischer, who plays Sam’sneighbor Windy. How is Windy not annoying already? She’s like Three’s Company‘s ChrissySnow with smaller knockers. But Tanya has somehow (through shear spark)stayed fun to watch, and I hate to say it, a little more compellingthan Gretchen Mol’s Annie. Windy even had the best line of the night:“Wires get crossed and your worlds mix and things don’t feel right.Like that time Deep Purple went on The Dating Game.”

The bad news for Tanya and Co.? LoM’s ratings. The show’sbeen declining steadily since the Oct. 9 premiere, and it’s ashame, don’t you think? Or have you already cut out? If not, what wouldyou do to fix the ratings dilemma? And what’d you think of last night’s episode? Are you stoked that Whoopi Goldberg and The Wire’s Chad Coleman are making appearances next week?

UPDATE: According to preliminary ratings data this morning, last night’s LoM attracted 8.4 million viewers, up slightly from the previous week’s 7.9 million

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 (68 total) Add your comment
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  • Anonymous

    I really liked this episode. Sam with his mother was great.

  • Anonymous

    I liked it when Sam ran into Jim Croce. I thought that exchange was really funny.

  • Laurie

    I love this show…but then I was 13 in ’73!

  • Anonymous

    I love the music. I like that they throw a little comedy into mix. Hope people give the show a chance.

  • KAREN

    This is one of the few shows I will sit down and watch in real time (vs Tivo’ng it)as I enjoy it so much.
    I believe Windy reminds me so much of Dyan Cannon and that’s why you gotta love her. If anyone is going to get him through this – it will be her. She’s more on the cosmic plane and is good at explaining things to him. And I think she actually believes him.
    I have warmed to Keitel as well. Last night’s ep showed him a little more on the good cop side.

  • Bin

    I like this show, I hope it sticks around. It would be paired better with “Lost” than with “Grey’s” as a lead-in.

  • mark in nyc

    i think this show is great but still trying to find its feet….I was hoping that some sort of major arc was going to start last night with the gangsta in the hood. I need a reason for him to be in 1973 and not just going from case to case week after week. If Robert klein was made a supporting character and Sam was fighting against him on a semi regular basis….to me, it would be more gripping.

  • AntonioSaucedo

    This is the best new show in a long, long time. Now that The Shield is bowing out, this is must-see TV for me. Too bad it might not last.

  • Dutch

    Great show. Surprisingly enjoying it as much or more than the original British version. Ratings are OK, the big detriments are a 10PM start time, and the Eleventh Hour over on CBS getting a lead in from CSI. CSI still leads the ratings but they are no where near what they were a few years back. People’s viewing habits have obviously changed, so with that in mind LOM is doing fine.

  • Like This Show!

    I hope they don’t resort to a bunch of big gimmicks to get more people to watch. It’s a good show and ABC should be patient so it finds an audience.

  • ia

    Although the Sam Tyler character on “Life On Mars” is much like the Desmond character on “Lost” (ie. finding their constants), “Life On Mars” is captivating and worth watching…Harvey Keitel,Michael Imperioli and Jason O’Mara have great chemistry. Best
    new show in a long time…I “ditto” that!

  • Kate

    I almost wish that people would Google the BBC version of the show to get the show a bit more. I was sticking with it, but it always left me a little off kilter. Then, well, Windy is like the freaky little girl in the original and something about the whole thing made be watch the episode last night like it was an episode of Lost or something. Well, I don’t watch Lost like that, but I know some people do.

  • Delia from Detroit

    Often, the episodes reflect the British version and even seem to be adaptations of those episodes. British Sam met his mother in Manchester, England around the 4th episode as well. He also ran into Marc Bolan of T-Rex (as opposed to Jim Croce) at a gangster’s night club and told him to be careful if he drives Mini Coopers (he died in a car crash in one).

  • Topanga

    I hope ABC gives this show a chance, I really enjoy it. It makes me crazy something as good as this show is getting beaten by something as badly written as “Eleventh Hour”, all due respect to Rufus Sewell…

  • mws

    I love this show and hope it survives. The male actors are making this show work, the females not so much. Kind of the opposite of the lamented, lost Swingtown.

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