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August 28, 2015

Life on Mars gets female cop, played by Gretchen Mol

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 30th 2008 10:39AM
Gretchen MolI was really excited about the prospect of Life on Mars coming to ABC television. I speak in the past tense because everything that has happened since that initial announcement has me doubting that ABC's Americanized Life on Mars will ever make it out of the first season. It may not even air six episodes.

There have been production changes, the first pilot was trashed, they've inserted new characters, they've remade the mythology of the show (with the approval of the British creators), and now more news. The character of Annie Norris on Life on Mars will be played by Gretchen Mol. Yes, the beautiful, sexy and very blond Gretchen Mol. (Okay, she can dye her hair.)

I have the ultimate respect for Ms. Mol. She was excellent in 3:10 to Yuma (a really amazing Western that should have gotten some Oscar consideration). I just think she's the wrong choice for the role of Annie.

Maybe she'll prove me wrong, but she's just too glamorous. In the original series, Annie, as played by Liz White, was a down-to-earth, real woman. She reminded me of Mary Beth Lacey, remember -- Tyne Daly in Cagney and Lacey?

That's what the part called for, in my view, a Tyne Daly type. Especially since Annie faces sexual discrimination in a 1973 mostly-male workplace, a situation like the original Cagney and Lacey TV movie. Annie has to prove herself and be strong enough to put up with the crass attitude of all the male cops, except Sam Tyler who is from 2008 and knows better.

Hopefully, the producers are smarter than I am and Gretchen Mol will be so perfect in the role that I won't miss Liz White one bit. Hopefully...

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This show looks awesome! They reshot the pilot I think! Have you seen any new footage? I have high hopes. How can Harvey Keitel not be good? Forget Gretchen Mol...

October 04 2008 at 11:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

While I agree that the LoM remake is going to stink to high heaven, I disagree that Mol is too "glamorous" to be Annie. Liz White was FAR prettier, more delicate and much more feminine than Tyne Daly, who was as butch a woman as they come.

Mol can do this...unfortunately it won't matter because there is no way they can capture the magic that was the short run of Life on Mars. It worked not just because the cast was amazing, but because it was finite. The pacing was perfect. Serializing it with no end will ruin any chance of that.

July 30 2008 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to malren's comment

I have to agree that the finite status of the original LOM is part of what made it great. I think that's the case with a lot of British television; having that finite status means a complete story can be told without worrying about being canned after 1-2 episodes or stretching things out until the audience loses interest. I wish American television would begin following suit.

I also have to agree with Kate above when she says that Jason O'Mara doesn't have what it takes to play Sam Tyler. During this recasting, if they had to keep one actor from the original pilot, I'd rather have seen Colm Meaney remain, but preferably a complete re-casting including dumping O'Mara.

I still have hope for this show. Not a lot of hope, but it's there.

July 31 2008 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am so glad that they are completely ditching the David E Kelly pilot. He completely ruined the show. I have better hope now that there are redoing it sans Kelly.

July 30 2008 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The original Annie was more vulnerable than Rachelle Lefevre was in the trashed pilot and more "used to" the sexist remarks of the male cops. I think Gretchen Mol will be able to show that vulnerability quite well.

I don't think Jason O'Mara has what it takes to play Sam though.

July 30 2008 at 11:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I will be amazed if this show is ever aired. I have never seen a show have so many problems.

July 30 2008 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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