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Life on Mars's ratings falling to earth

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 17th 2008 8:58PM
Kietel O'maraLast night's second episode of ABC's new drama Life on Mars, the American version of the British hit, took a precipitous drop in the ratings. This is really bad news because Life on Mars may be the best new show of the season, unless you're in love with The Mentalist, which I am not, or maybe The Eleventh Hour or My Own Worst Enemy has tickled your fancy.

What's clear is that ABC is trying to build a solid Thursday with Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty and Life on Mars, but Ugly Betty is off to a rocky start, Grey's isn't the powerhouse it once was, and the pressure is on Mars to keep Grey's lead and improve on it.

The show got off to a good start in the premiere, but last night was off 25%. That's not good.

The way I see it, Life on Mars doesn't really fit on Thursday night. There's nothing thematically similar between Betty, Grey's and Life on Mars to keep viewers locked on ABC for the entire night. CBS's pairing of CSI and Eleventh Hour are a much better set, assuming that most viewers stay on one network rather than switch channels.

Like I said, I like the ABC version of Life on Mars. By and large, it's faithful to the British series on which its based, especially in the first episodes. Setting the American incarnation in New York City works, and in contrast to the propensity of shows that are all about forensics and fibers and prints, Life on Mars is a welcome throwback to Kojak and Cannon, as well as films like Serpico and The French Connection.

Looking ahead, if the numbers don't improve, I'd like to see ABC move Life on Mars to a different night because it's worth cultivating.

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I liked the first two episodes, but hated the third. I don't need a show to preach to me, plus it seemed politically motivated. Rufus is so much hotter than Jason anyway.

November 15 2008 at 12:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

OK....truth time. I've been watching LoM online because I've been watching the Mentalist. But that show has been disapointing nest to LoM. So starting next week I'm watching Life on Mars for sure. I love this show!!!

October 19 2008 at 6:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just a suggestion ... if LOM can hang on until January I think ABC should pair it with Lost. LOM seems to have a very Lost"esque" quality to it and I think they would go well together. Of course then the question would be what to put in front of these at 8?? If Pushing Daisies was doing better I think it would be a good match, but it appears that it's not doing so hot. At any rate, have Lost @ 9 pm and LOM at 10 pm.

October 18 2008 at 1:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Other than the fact that Harvey Keitel is "cool" (though way too old for this particular role), can someone explain to me how this show is any better than, say, New Amsterdam (same sort of idea)? I'm not saying anything about the quality of either show, only that I deem them comparable in theme (detective with anachronistic/atemporal knowledge due to an unexplained, supernatural event is able to use said knowledge to solve crimes nobody else can).

New Amsterdam was cancelled pretty quick. How is this show, which is nothing more than a remake of a British show, any better?

October 18 2008 at 12:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eric f

I liked the British version. The US version is just as good, but suffers from the same dullness of the original.

The two thing keeping we watching are that I really love Gretchen Mol, and the introduction of the hippy neighbor in the second episode added an amazing personality that the show was screaming for. If they write her in a lot, it could save the show.

October 18 2008 at 10:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I never saw the original Life On Mars from the UK but after I saw the US version I loved every bit of it.

Maybe the ratings are down because of people like me. I watched the first episode, planed to watch the next, but forgot about what time or day it was on.

But I literally just saw the second episode on ABC's website and thought it was great also. The biggest problem I have with this show now is weather or not I need to find out what happens on the original version if there may be a chance the American version will be canceled.

October 18 2008 at 7:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think its a crap show, never liked it!

October 18 2008 at 5:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I always sort of thought that ABC should do a night starting with Pushing Daisies at 8, then Eli Stone at 9 and ending with Life on Mars at 10. But with Pushing Daisies apparently struggling to find its audience and the big drop off in the second week of Life on Mars, I'm not sure whether putting them all together would help or hurt the shows.

Certainly the sprits of those three shows are closer to each other than to anything else that any of them precedes or follows. (I suppose the match between Eli Stone, with its song and dance numbers, and Dancing with the Stars isn't too bad, but I don't think it's great either.) I'm sure there's probably alot of overlap in the audiences of the three shows and also people who like one or two of them but may not have given the other(s) a try. So in that sense it could be good because it might encourage people to stick around or they might catch the end of the previous show one week and decide to give it a try the next.

On the other hand, putting them all on one night might result in a kind of overload. And, perhaps more worrisome, it would mean that none of the shows would have the support of following or preceding an established hit. I'm not sure how much that helps in the long run if the people who like the hit aren't so likely to like the other show and vice versa, but it is interesting to note that of Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, and Life on Mars, the one that's done the worst in the ratings so far this year is the one that isn't paired with a show that's been really successful in the past.

October 18 2008 at 2:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Saavik's comment

I actually think a night of Ugly Betty, Pushing Daisies, and Eli Stone would be a perfect night of bright colors and happy shiny people. I would die and go to heaven.

But to keep on topic, this LoM is okay. But just okay. I loved the British version that I can't help compare. And when I do, this one pales in comparison. And I'm a New Yorker!

October 18 2008 at 9:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, that figures since I'm enjoying it so much! What is it with the American public that they can't give a decent show a chance? If it's not a CSI spinoff (and I don't hate Csi, while I got tired of the original, NY interests me) or another stupid reality show like Dancing with the Stars, it struggles to find a decent audience. I already lost Journeyman after just 1 season, please give me more than that from LoM. Well, at least Fringe is doing well so far.

October 18 2008 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The first episode was interesting and I thought I could invest my time, even though I TVO it. There are so many good shows on TV and this one is NOT worth my time. Last nights show was poorly written and and I also realized I hate the characters. Jason O'Mara is the only good thing about it, but can't watch it just because of him. ABC's shows are going down the tube. ABC made a BIG mistake trading Boston Legal for this show. Ha Ha to Stephen McPherson, head of ABC, Boston Legal has a bigger audience than this piece of shit. I think you cxld the wrong show. Please keep taking your meds.

October 18 2008 at 12:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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