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19 June 2008

Pilot Watch: Life on Mars (USA)

Originally a BBC series, The USA version of "Life on Mars" stars Jason O' Mara ("Men in Trees") as Sam Tyler, a 21st century detective who, after an accident, mysteriously wakes up in 1972.

Having previously seen some episodes of the British original, I have quite a biased view of this American adaptation.

As it is, the British version takes plots to unravel forever. The upside is, at least the character dialogues are smart and witty.

The American version is a lot slower...and droning. It's a waste of my time. What was on my mind the whole time I was watching this was --- "Journeyman. Journeyman was better. Why the heck did they cancel Journeyman!?"

Fortunately, the screener I saw isn't the final one.

Just this week, Life on Mars (US) is taking a HUGE change, a couple of months before it is expected to air. From the LA setting, Mars is moving to New York. Scripts are being rewritten and actors are being replaced (except for Irish actor Jason O' Mara). Even David E. Kelley, I read, is no longer the show runner.

If you ask me though, I think Jason O' Mara is the weakest link here. For one thing, he talks in one tone, how boring is that? I am not sure he is the right actor for Sam.

Will the changes make Mars a better show come September?

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Mindy. First, Journeyman was by some way the best show the US has come out with in the last few years. Secondly, O’Mara is too wooden, Meaney is given no great lines, doesn’t smoke and isn’t even sexist (and has one funny line about Klingons), and Clarke is irrelevant. I thought Lefevre’s Annie Cartwright was the only highlight as she wasn’t an inferior version of Liz White’s, but her own character (it helped that she’s not a uniformed policewoman). There was no social commentary about being in 1972, only a technological one—and it plain lacked depth. Let’s hope the remade pilot will work with the new showrunners and that they will address Life on Mars’ faults.