Life on Mars

So a while ago, I posted up about a new show that I’d found, called Life On Mars and I figured I’ll get all my thoughts down on it in a review, now that I’ve watched the entire first series of 8 episodes. It’s a fantastic BBC Detective drama with a hint of Science Fiction or something like that to it.
The story follows Detective Sam Tyler, who’s a DCI in London. While on a murder case, his girlfriend goes missing while trailing their suspect. While venting over her disappearance, he’s hit by a car. When he sits up, he’s wearing different clothing and sitting in the same spot, but the year is now 1973. He learns that he’s recently been transferred to the department that he’d later be in in 2006, and he now has to reconcile everything he learned, with what’s considered regular procedure in the 1970s. Issues such as prisoner abuse and cover ups, interrogations, forensics, prisoner rights and evidence are all presented in the 1970s fashion, with Tyler trying to do things the proper way. It’s a stark contrast between the two worlds, hence the title, Life on Mars. This is where the show really excels.
The other interesting point is how it’s unclear as to how he ended up in 1973. The two main theories are that he’s either travelled back in time, or he’s in a coma, while there’s certainly enough to make either theory plausible. The second series is supposed to be the last, with a spectacular ending that will explain exactly how he got into the 1970s in the first place.

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What’s also really interesting is the way that they filmed everything. In post production, they’ve done a spectacular filter that gives everything a sort of yellow/tan image that looks sort of like any picture you’ll find from that time period. The result is a gorgeous image, look and feel to the entire show. The background objects, clothing, cars and everything is an exact period feel, which is amazing.
I’m looking forwards to the next series, very much. If this season was any indication, the next should be spectacular.

The main worry that I have is the US’s tendancy to take shows from England and make them our own. The Office is a spectacular sucess, while there are some other shows that haven’t survived the leap over the pond. Fox has optioned this as a pilot for a regular show, which has me extremely worried. This show is so good, it requires the British feel, story and everything else that would be lost if it came over here. I just can’t see this working as well if it’s a 1970s New York policeman, although I’m sure the result would be somewhat interesting. If it does come over here, I’ll at least give it a chance, but I don’t have any high hopes for it.

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