Powered by i.TV
April 17, 2014

On the Set: 'Life on Mars'

by Andrew Scott, posted Apr 1st 2009 6:00AM
Life on MarsTonight marks the series finale of ABC's 'Life on Mars.'

The show, an American version of a Brit series of the same name, stars Jason O'Mara, Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli and Gretchen Mol and developed a cult following despite only one season on the airwaves.

Unfortunately, there weren't enough fans to warrant a second installment. (Reminding us of that other recent short-lived '70s-set series 'Swingtown' -- oh, 1970s, why must all the good shows that depict your awesome polyester wardrobes, feathery hairstyles and outrageously outdated mores be killed off so quickly? We're not counting 'That '70s Show,' and we think you know why.)

But, ahem, AOL TV was granted an exclusive on set visit to 'LOM,' where we got our '70s fix, but good.

So what was life actually like on 'Mars'? Read through our post to see the highlights (and then shed a tear for the passing of this fine, fine show -- we're nostalgic already).

Life on MarsTonight marks the series finale of ABC's 'Life on Mars.'

The show, an American version of a Brit series of the same name, stars Jason O'Mara, Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli and Gretchen Mol and developed a cult following despite only one season on the airwaves.

Unfortunately, there weren't enough fans to warrant a second installment. (Reminding us of that other recent short-lived '70s-set series 'Swingtown' -- oh, 1970s, why must all the good shows that depict your awesome polyester wardrobes, feathery hairstyles and outrageously outdated mores be killed off so quickly? We're not counting 'That '70s Show,' and we think you know why.)

But, ahem, AOL TV was granted an exclusive on set visit to 'LOM,' where we got our '70s fix, but good.

So what was life actually like on 'Mars'? Read through our post to see the highlights (and then shed a tear for the passing of this fine, fine show -- we're nostalgic already).

Family Ties: 'Life on Mars' filmed at Kaufman-Astoria studios in Queens, which is now home to the upcoming Showtime series 'Nurse Jackie,' starring Edie Falco. Even today, 'The Sopranos' is all in the family.

On-and-Off-Screen Chemistry: One of the scenes we observed featured Jason O'Mara's wife, Paige Turco. As it turns out, television has been very good to the pair. "We met each other six years ago on a show called 'The Agency,'" O'Mara revealed. "We did a whole season together and fell in love in the process ... At home, we help each other with auditions and scripts and give each other helpful hints [laughs]; acting tips ... So to do it in an environment like this is great."




He's Got the Look: In doing research for his role, Michael Imperioli discovered that some New York detectives' looks were influenced by hippies. "Long hair came into style, and the movie 'Serpico' came out the same year, and it influenced the look of a lot of detectives." So how does the '70s look hold up in the modern-day world? "It's rough in 2009 [laughs] ... " says co-star Jonathan Murphy, "But it's great for the show."

Woman on Top: Gretchen Mol thinks it's fun being the sole woman of the cast and says her previous work on the big screen helped her to adjust. "That's the way these Hollywood movies are all made. There are like, tons of boys doing their things, and then there's the girl ... I've always wanted to be part of one of those ensemble films with all of the Meryls [laughs]" Hollywood, take note.

'Life' Behind Bars: We got a sneak peek inside the show's holding cell, where we found fun little details like cigarette butts scattered on the floor and cryptic tally marks written on wall blocks. My sentence: a mere two minutes -- enough to keep me on the right path for good.

Life on Mars' Show Photos

    Harvey Keitel on location for "Life on Mars" on the streets of Brooklyn on November 26, 2008 in New York City.

    Bobby Bank/WireImage.com

    Actor Michael Imperioli on location for "Life On Mars" on the streets of Brooklyn on October 30, 2008 in New York City.

    Bobby Bank/WireImage.com

    Actor Michael Imperioli on location for "Life On Mars" on the streets of Brooklyn on October 30, 2008 in New York City.

    Bobby Bank/WireImage.com

    Actor Michael Imperioli on location for "Life On Mars" on the streets of Brooklyn on October 30, 2008 in New York City.

    Bobby Bank/WireImage.com

    Actor Harvey Keitel on location for "Life On Mars" on the streets of Brooklyn on October 30, 2008 in New York City.

    Bobby Bank/WireImage.com

    Actor Harvey Keitel on location for "Life On Mars" on the streets of Brooklyn on October 30, 2008 in New York City.

    Bobby Bank/WireImage.com

    LIFE ON MARS Jason O'Mara as Detective Sam Tyler and Harvey Keitel as Lt. Gene Hunt star in the episode "Things to Do in New York When You Think You're Dead" - A racial confrontation is triggered between the African Americans and Puerto Ricans in the neighborhood when a young African American girl's body is discovered thrown from a rooftop. Tangling with the Black Liberation Army, who is intent on hunting down the Puerto Rican suspect first to levy their own kind of justice, Sam, Bellow and the detectives of the 1-2-5 are in a race against time if Angel Ramirez is to have any chance to answer for the crime. Airs Thursday, November 6, 2008.

    ABC

    LIFE ON MARS Edi Gathegi and Jason O'Mara as Detective Sam Tyler star in the episode "Things to Do in New York When You Think You're Dead" - A racial confrontation is triggered between the African Americans and Puerto Ricans in the neighborhood when a young African American girl's body is discovered thrown from a rooftop. Tangling with the Black Liberation Army, who is intent on hunting down the Puerto Rican suspect first to levy their own kind of justice, Sam, Bellow and the detectives of the 1-2-5 are in a race against time if Angel Ramirez is to have any chance to answer for the crime. Airs Thursday, November 6, 2008.

    ABC

    LIFE ON MARS Jason O'Mara as Detective Sam Tyler stars in the episode "Things to Do in New York When You Think You're Dead" - A racial confrontation is triggered between the African Americans and Puerto Ricans in the neighborhood when a young African American girl's body is discovered thrown from a rooftop. Tangling with the Black Liberation Army, who is intent on hunting down the Puerto Rican suspect first to levy their own kind of justice, Sam, Bellow and the detectives of the 1-2-5 are in a race against time if Angel Ramirez is to have any chance to answer for the crime. Airs Thursday, November 6, 2008.

    ABC

    LIFE ON MARS Harvey Keitel as Lt. Gene Hunt and Jason O'Mara as Detective Sam Tyler star in the episode "Things to Do in New York When You Think You're Dead" - A racial confrontation is triggered between the African Americans and Puerto Ricans in the neighborhood when a young African American girl's body is discovered thrown from a rooftop. Tangling with the Black Liberation Army, who is intent on hunting down the Puerto Rican suspect first to levy their own kind of justice, Sam, Bellow and the detectives of the 1-2-5 are in a race against time if Angel Ramirez is to have any chance to answer for the crime. Airs Thursday, November 6, 2008.

    ABC



Paper Trail: To help authenticate the look of the '70s, the set featured everything from old cigarette machines to telephone booths to photographs of then President Richard Nixon. However, Mol seemed most impressed by the sheer volume of paper floating around the precinct. "That's something you just don't see anymore; just stacks and stacks of paper. It just looks completely unorganized, like somebody's nightmare [laughs]."

'Life' on Earth: Sam Tyler wasn't the only one time traveling on set that day. During our dinner break, we ate right next to the extras, who were still dressed from head-to-toe in true '70s fashions. O'Mara says he'll sometimes use the set to remember where he is. "Sometimes when I feel that I'm getting too used to being in 1973, and Sam's getting too used to being in 1973, I just sort of have a look around to sort of soak in the detail on the set. It brings me right back to Sam's predicament. It's terrific."

Fly on the Wall: Our sit visit lasted well into the evening, where we experienced a few production hiccups along the way. Around midnight, for example, a wall had to be stripped down in order to get the right camera angle. The scene was temporarily brought to a halt, providing us with some good wall-to-wall entertainment.

'Life' Goes On: So if O'Mara were to suddenly time-travel like his character, where would he like to wake up? "I've just become an American citizen, and I've been doing a little bit of reading and research about those early days of American history, and I sort of find that era fascinating ... I don't know whether it would be in America, or Ireland or something, but probably that." But where else would he be surrounded by such a collection of so much manly 'stache action?

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

Follow Us

From Our Partners