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Life on Mars (US) season 1

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Patrick Sun, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    The original pilot of the US version of "Life on Mars" was scrapped for a more talented cast (on paper, at least), and tonight on ABC at 10 p.m. we can check out the series premiere of the show, based on the UK version. Basic premise, a present day cop is somehow transported to 1973 where he is a cop, but has none of the modern day conveniences and has to solve crime cases the old fashioned way.
     
  2. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    If you've seen any of the promo pictures, it looks identical down to the costumes as the original. The precinct is virtually identical to the Manchester station, and Sam dresses identical. Other than the acid blonde hair, Annie also looks very similar.
    After being a big fan of the BBC program, I'm not sure I can get into a watered down for the FCC remake that's this close to the original. I am glad that they replaced Colm Meaney with Harvey Keitel. Meaney is just a softer, gentler version of the irreplacable Philip Glenister. Keitel is actually a native New Yorker, and his vibe is different enough from Glenister's that he won't need to suffer the direct comparisons.

    So, I don't know. I just don't think it'll be the same without all of the smoking, violence, swearing and sex.
     
  3. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

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    Another one I'm excited to see tonight!
    WOW! Thursday is just jammed back with shows tonight.
    It's going to be very hard to keep up tonight.
     
  4. IHeartMyFlatScreen

    IHeartMyFlatScreen Auditioning

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    I'm excited to see this show too. The UK version was awesome. But the US version has Harvey Keitel, the Sopranos guy, and NYC as a backdrop. You just can't grittier than 70's New York. Should check out the clips online if you haven't yet.
     
  5. ChrisCook

    ChrisCook Screenwriter

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    I haven't really had the chance to see the original UK version, but I'm looking forward to seeing this version and the return of Scott Rosenberg, Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, and Jonathan Murphy to ABC.
     
  6. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    One big difference is that in the US, they want to make 150 episodes, while in the UK, it's more like 15. This make it tough, especially when there's a "gimmick" like this one.
     
  7. Marty M

    Marty M Screenwriter

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    Actually in UK it ran for 12 episodes, in two 6 episode seasons.
     
  8. Brent M

    Brent M Producer

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    Set my DVR for this as it looks interesting(if for no other reason than Michael Imperioli's hairstyle). [​IMG]
     
  9. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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  10. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    So far it's like the UK pilot with ADHD. They nailed the look, from the noise-free blue-tinted HD footage in the present to the orange-tinted noisy film footage shot with 70's lenses and the same title card. 1970's New York is much better conceived than I anticipated, considering how familar modern day New York is to everybody and how much denser it is than Manchester, England. But Harvey Keitel is grumpy where Philip Glenister was compelling angry. And as I predicted, the smoking, violence and sex have been toned way down.
     
  11. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    Enjoyed the premiere quite a bit. Seeing the Twin Towers was kind of a 'lump in the throat' moment both in the opening and closing segments.

    Great, great soundtrack that brought back a bunch of memories. Probably haven't heard Little Willy (by the Sweet) since the mid '70s. Excellent integration of this song and Out of Time by the Stones in this episode.

    - Walter.
     
  12. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    The music was one of the best things about the UK original, and I'll agree that that translated beautifully here.

    Couple other nitpicks: Why replace the replace the mysterious faux-Jamaican barkeep with a completely unmysterious white guy from Poughkeepsie? If you have to stretch a 16-episode concept to 100 episodes or more, you presumably make things more complex instead of less intense. A black American affecting a rastafarian persona would be just as doable as a black Brit from Manchester affecting a rasta pesona. I also don't think Jason O'Mara did a great job selling his anger and frustration.

    I hope they do more to play up the uniquely American aspects like the World Trade Center and the Vietnam War, since a lot of key generational differences from the original don't apply to American law.
     
  13. NeilO

    NeilO Screenwriter

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    I thought they did a great job in translating the first episode to New York City. Seeing the World Trade Center was an amazing moment pointing out to him that he really is in the past with the force of a sledgehammer to the heart.

    To my memory most of the key points of the first British episode took place here. Also, when he was hit did people notice the images? (Spoiler for an upcoming episode based on British version first series finale knowledge.)We see images that were repeated at various times in the first season of the British series culminating in the first season finale. The images are of running in the woods and a woman in a red dress running. In the first series finale we learn this was something he saw as a child. If I remember correctly it turns out to be Annie in that dress. Annie is soon in danger for her life.
    I agree that the use of music was great. I hope that they did the licensing correctly and they'll be able to release it properly on DVD. I can't see the UK version coming out in the US because of the music licensing costs.
     
  14. NeilO

    NeilO Screenwriter

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    By the way, there is a great webpage with an online The Daily News full of articles from 1973 to put you in the mood.
    NY Daily News
     
  15. ScottH

    ScottH Producer

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    I recorded this but wanted to see what the word was before watching it. To those who saw it, would you say it is more an episodic procedural show, or a serialized show?
     
  16. NeilO

    NeilO Screenwriter

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    There is an overall mystery of why/how Sam Tyler is in the past, but each episode should have self-contained elements with some crime that needs to be solved.
     
  17. Jay Gregory

    Jay Gregory Stunt Coordinator

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    I love Harvey Keitel, but I think he's at least 25 years too old to play Gene Hunt.

    Philip Glennister seemed to tower over John Simm, but Jason O'Mara seems more intimidating physically than Harvey Keitel.
     
  18. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Reminded me of Grand Theft Auto, the vibe of the show, that is. The look and feel and his car. And it has that Quantum Leap feel too, only he's stuck in 1973. I never saw the UK version, so I have no comparison.

    This show, like Swingtown, seems to be continuing this desire to revisit the 70's. The music was cool to hear again. The shot of the World Trade Towers was pretty neat. As was said earlier, the show does feel like it might be happier on cable.
     
  19. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Definitely. HBO and Showtime would have allowed all of the sex, drugs, and dirty language intact and the slower pacing that commercial-free programming allows. Even FX would have kept more of the intensity.

    For all my griping and comparisons though, I'm hoping this one can flower like the American "Office" did in the episodes to come. Once they're not trying to American-ize British scripts, the show will have a chance to find it's own voice.
     
  20. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    I have nothing against the show. But, having seen it and now the british version also, this seems like a shot-by-shot, dialog for dialog recreation of it.

    That's not necessarily bad, but I think it makes some of the elements where the comparison is always there. I'm very mixed.

    I'm not even sure if this is a spoiler, but I guess the assumption is that he is in a coma trying to work his way out of it, or is it that his coma pushes him to the past... or who knows.

    It's different, and the soundtrack is very good.
     

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