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August 23, 2014

Life on Mars: The Man Who Sold the World

by Brad Trechak, posted Nov 21st 2008 12:54AM
Life on Mars(S01E07) In what would have been the season finale if this were the British version of the show, Sam finally meets his father (and talks to himself as well, in an amusing timey-wimey sort of way). Originally, his father left him on his fourth birthday right after the party. Now, something else happened.

On a tangential note, I do wish this show had theme music of some sort. Preferably something akin to the style of '70s police television dramas. The opening montage seems to go too quickly. At least, this is what I thought while listening to the '70s-style music during the opening chase scene.

Life on Mars does has a slower pace than most of the other shows on television. Fortunately, it is kept interesting by being filled with eye candy such as wide shots and different colors. The shirts and the wallpapers alone fascinate me. I even got a laugh from Gene Hunt's loafers.

Sam has been in 1973 for a while now. Did it ever occur to him to wear a different shirt, maybe one with not quite as wide a collar? I was born around that time and I still shudder at the old photos of me in those sorts of outfits in nursery school.

In this episode, we find Sam dealing with the daddy issues of his youth using a new and innovative method: time travel. I bet you wish you could use that one to deal with yours.

I noticed that this episode contained no flash forwards to 2008. There were, however, several references to previous episodes (the Pignato Brothers, I think that's how their name is spelled, were mentioned in the previous episode involving Rose Tyler which guest-starred Robert Klein).

The ending of this episode is different than the British version. In the original, Sam wasn't shot and I don't believe he hinted to his father about the true nature of their relationship. I wonder what Vic will do now that he has that knowledge? Being a 70's criminal, he doesn't strike me as terribly imaginative.

Did Sam change history? Was Annie supposed to be killed by Vic Tyler? The dialogue sounded a little vague to me in this regard. Vic's a pretty bad assassin since Sam wasn't killed. Did he intend to only wound Sam?

I missed the original broadcast of the previous episode dealing with Sam's mother, so I must make this observation: Sam's mother shares a name with a recent companion of the Doctor, another time traveler, from Doctor Who. If they truly wanted a great homage, they would put a police box in a shot somewhere (okay, it's not London, but maybe there's a British-themed pub in New York City).

Here's an obvious question for the beginning of the episode: why are Manhattan cops (uptown, presumably) policing in Coney Island, Brooklyn? Aren't there other cops in New York who could help?

Sam's puzzled reaction to the question "what year is it?" was quite amusing.

I liked the repeat of the Bowie theme (from which the series drew its name) at the end of the episode. Had the show not been picked up, it would have been a good place to end things. However, now they're going off the British script and I'm really interested in what the writers are going to do with it.

I guess we won't find out what's in the basement until next year. What do you think is there?

What will Sam find in the basement?
A pile of corpses.65 (31.3%)
His holographic companion, Al.76 (36.5%)
Nothing. He went completely mental in the hospital.67 (32.2%)

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MERVE-THE-PERVE

The basement is the Mars station of the Dharma Initiative. Either that or thats where they moved the island to.

November 23 2008 at 1:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dave

Just one small request for everybody here - please, PLEASE, stop talking about the British version of Life on Mars. I DON'T CARE that this is a remake. I have not and will not see the other version so it's existence is irrelevant. Can we just let this version live or die on it's own merits please?

November 21 2008 at 2:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Dave's comment
Allen Mendelsohn

amen, brother

November 21 2008 at 2:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JHF

No, we can't.

And the writers aren't going off the british script: the last phone conversation is taken word for word from the second season of the original. But it'll be interesting if they keep the same concept that was used at the end of the 2nd season and use it in a longer arc. It'd be a glorious mindscrew.

November 21 2008 at 5:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eclectic-wave

About Sam's clothes... The show runs a fine line between being set in 1973 and being a cop show set in 1973. In most TV shows at that time, the leads always wore the same clothes, so the viewers could identify with them easier. All the cops on the show were the same outfit most of the time. It's their 'uniform', just like those stupid jackets that Starsky and Hutch wore, even in the dead of summer.

November 21 2008 at 1:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ian

Ziggy, try to lock onto Sam. I have to let him know the truth!

November 21 2008 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ian's comment
Ian

But Al, I've got the coveted after-Lost timeslot when I come back!

November 21 2008 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hiki

"Annie would not have been in a position to be killed had not Sam "returned" from the future and asked her to go to the park, as she was going to a party. So I am confused at how Sam's appearance in the 1970s "changes" that part of history.
i.e. Annie would have had to have been going to the park all by herself, in prior history, but she wasn't."


It was a bad adaptation from the British plot. If I remember correctly, in that show Annie was going to a wedding that Sam's mother and father were also at. That's how she got there but, yes, in the American version there is no reason for her to be thre otherwise.

November 21 2008 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hiki's comment
PORSCHE

In the Sam's original life..a different cop may have been on to his father and they sent Annie into woods... but in this timeline Sam is the alpha at the 1 2 5 so he is the on on to his father.

November 23 2008 at 7:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hiki

They aren't going off the British script, the ending of last night show ties directly to the scripts from the second season of the British show.

November 21 2008 at 11:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
A Fan

As I recall, reading on the BBC version, the character's last name was suggested by one of the writer's children due to Rose Tyler being a popular character on the BBC at the time.

But in the BBC version, the mother was named Ruth Tyler. I'd imagine they changed it back for the homage that the BBC people felt was too obvious, but is less so for the ABC audience.

November 21 2008 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ian

Annie would not have been in a position to be killed had not Sam "returned" from the future and asked her to go to the park, as she was going to a party. So I am confused at how Sam's appearance in the 1970s "changes" that part of history.
i.e. Annie would have had to have been going to the park all by herself, in prior history, but she wasn't.

November 21 2008 at 9:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Ian's comment
Brian

I posted this on another blog a few minutes ago in response to a totally different question, but I think it could apply to this situation, as well:

"Maybe in "real time", Sam's mom had gone looking for him and his dad stumbled across her, and *she* was the woman in the red dress from Sam's memories. In "Mars time", Sam sent young Sam back to his mom and thus she didn't have a reason to go into the woods looking for him. Just a guess."

November 21 2008 at 10:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Puff

Well, there's an interesting theory about time travel and its effect on the universe in a French sci-fi comic book titled Universal War One. That theory is that Time is the sum of all the time travels already and that will ever be made. So, in other words, maybe 2008 Sam was always supposed to end up in 1973 and history is kinda on a "block", so to speak. As if the disk were scratched right in the period of 1973-2008, Sam being the scratch.

December 02 2008 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Katie

I am completely addicted to this show after coming to it late and catching the last couple of episodes and now, I have to wait until Jan. 28th for new episodes. This is giving me horrible flashbacks of what Fox did during the first season of "Prison Break."

I was wondering the same thing though about Sam changing history by saving Annie from being killed. There was that "Simpsons" Halloween episode where Homer traveled through time using the toaster and he changed the entire history of the world just by killing one bug. I realize that that show is a cartoon and this is not but still. By not having a person die who was supposed to seems like it could mess things up later on.

November 21 2008 at 6:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Katie's comment
Brian

Ah, but is he *really* time traveling? That's one of the things I like about the show - I don't know if its really time travel or all in his head. Perhaps the point is that he is dealing with his inner demons while he is unconscious from his accident. I don't know, I didn't see the British version and came in on the US version about three episodes into the season, but I'm loving this show.

November 21 2008 at 9:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Crystal

I don't believe Annie was ever meant to die, simply because Sam knows her in the future. They even have a nickname for her at his 2008 police station. They mentioned it in the first episode but I can't think of it now... All I know is that I literally scream at my TV "What's in the basement?!?" before they told me that the show wouldn't be back until Jan 28.

November 21 2008 at 5:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
judd sandage

I would say he finds the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis

November 21 2008 at 6:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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