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October 9, 2015

Life on Mars promising closure in series finale (yeah, it's canceled)

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 3rd 2009 10:02AM
Harvey Keitel and Jason O'Mara in Life on MarsYou know how those wacky British like their shows in short bursts with beginnings, middles and ends? Well maybe that's what ABC is thinking of when they announce that Life on Mars will finish its run with its 17th episode. They're promising a satisfying sense of closure, including answers as to why Detective Sam Tyler finds himself in 1973.

One theory that we're told can be ruled out is the coma that the UK original used to explain Sam Tyler's time travel. It would make the mystery kind of anticlimactic if they used the same explanation. We're also not told if Annie will finally punch Ray once and for all for being a misogynist bastard

The UK version of the series was an actual hit, but designed for the limited format completing two eight-episode runs. Meaning the US iteration, which is being canceled due to low ratings, will still run one episode longer than its successful predecessor. It was a creative decision to end the UK series after two seasons.

I do wish more US series would experiment with the limited and controlled series length idea. It's working for Lost and would allow fans to have a better idea of what kind of commitment they're looking for. It also means we don't have to deal with nearly as many filler episodes as creators try to stretch out their grand concept in hopes of renewal after renewal.

I wonder if this opens up the possibility of continuing the US version with a spin-off. Ashes to Ashes was the continuation across the pond, featuring Gene Hunt (played by Harvey Keitel here) in 1981 dealing with a new person, this time a lovely lady, sent back through time. It probably won't happen, but at least fans can check out that original sequel in the US. BBC America is bringing the first season of Ashes to Ashes stateside, starting this Saturday, March 7th, at 9pm/8pm Central. A second season is filming for air sometime in 2009.

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LOM is one of the better shows on ABC. I've watched it from the beginning. Occasionally, a story would sag but it has remained interesting enough to keep me riveted to my TV ... until now. I'll watch the season finale, and I know I'll cry. I'm sad to see it leave the US. The actors were great. The show deserves better.

March 19 2009 at 10:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Candi's comment

I meant "series finale", not season finale. Wishful thinking, I guess.

March 19 2009 at 10:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Its almost hard to believe that Life on mars is being cancelled but then again the way the channels are being run these days a quality show has no chance. Its bad enough they hurt there own shows with erratic air times. I hate the way your favorite show dissapears for months at a time now and its not even during the summer months. Then you have to hope it picks up its original viewers when it might be on a different day or time slot.
I guess iTsjust another creative show witha excellent cast being tossed out and who knows maby bring on a another greys anatomy spin off? These guys should be fired...

March 12 2009 at 8:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
T. Wilson

NO! You can't cancel this show...it's one of the best on TV right now. It's because of the title...people don't know what it is...they think it's a Schi-fi. It's good for teens and those born after 1980 to really see how life was in the 70s. It's very well done and better than all those other predictable detective shows and not to mention a refreshing reprieve from those reality shows. Folks, this depiction of the 70s is reality for all who lived it! Excellent, please KEEP IT ON THE AIR! Give it another chance/season.

March 04 2009 at 11:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
In A World (XBL)

The BBC version was leaps and bounds better; after that I just couldn't downgrade to the American version, especially since they didn't even bother creating a unique story (i.e. "The Office") and instead made the mistake of trying to do a word-for-word interpretation of something I'd already seen, so of course making comparisons is gonna be unavoidable. To me, the actor playing Sam Tyler in the US version is guilty of very wooden acting, and all the characters in general have lost the personality present in the UK version. I guess this is a case where ignorance would've been bliss, but anybody looking for closure: do yourself a favor and watch the BBC version from start to finish.

March 04 2009 at 1:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

ABC strikes again. I gave up on ABC years ago after they burned me yet again with "Murder One". I did not start "Desperate Housewives" or "Lost" or "Grey's Anatomy" for this very reason. When "Life on Mars" came along I thought, albeit quite tepidly, that I would give ABC another shot because they have stuck with these other shows eventhough they have, in typical ABC fashion, tried to kill them off as well. Remember the successful "George Lopez" show was not renewed in favor of the ABC owned "Caveman" series from Geico."Mars" was not doing poorly enough to cancel at this point. Greed rules the day.

March 03 2009 at 4:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great writing, terrific cast. I guess we need more Dancing with the Stars.

March 03 2009 at 3:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That's it. I swear if they cancel Life I'm done with television. Maybe I'm cursed. All my favorite shows get cancelled. Fringe, Life and Bones better watch out.

March 03 2009 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Beth's comment
In A World (XBL)

Fringe's strength is when it's trying to be less like CSI and more like Lost. Fringe doesn't know what it wants to be yet, but I hope they ditch the procedural crap and focus on continuity and flesh out the "Massive Dynamic" story arch.

March 04 2009 at 1:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

BBC America is starting the "sequel" to the British version, called Ashes to Ashes, sometime soon, I've seen ads for it.

March 03 2009 at 12:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to John's comment

I'm starting to think I should only start watching shows once their first season is over and done with. Because seriously, this is about the fifth show in five years I've gotten completely engrossed in, only to see it canceled in its first season!

Now I'm depressed.

March 03 2009 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Very disappointing. Had great writing and excellent acting.

March 03 2009 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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