The ABC broadcast the second (and final) series of Life on Mars in early 2008.
A friend lent me their DVD’s of Life on Mars insisting that it was a great show and I’d love it. I’m glad they did because I missed watching it when Series 1 was shown on ABC TV in 2007 and once I started watching I was hooked finishing all the episodes within a few days.
Fans can purchase Series 1 & 2 of Life on Mars from Chaos DVD’s for a competitive price…
John Simm (Clocking Off, State of Play, Dr Who) plays policeman Sam Tyler. Knocked unconscious by a speeding car on the way to investigate a crime scene in modern day Manchester, Sam awakes to find himself seemingly in 1973. Is he really from 1973 and suffering from hallucinations and false memory flashbacks, was he transported in time or is he in a 2006 hospital suffering a serious coma?
Before the accident the classic David Bowie song “Life on Mars” had been playing on his iPod in his 2006 Jeep. When his head clears and he gets up Sam finds himself standing next to an old Rover with the same song playing from an 8 track cartridge. As we see the shock and disorientation hit him – the song plays in the background “Take a look at the lawman, Beating up the wrong guy, Oh man! Wonder if he’ll ever know, He’s in the best selling show/Is there life on Mars?”
Either way Sam feels like a man out of his time on a different planet, hence the theme song “Life on Mars” by David Bowie. The shows premise is genuinely haunting … will Sam return to “real life” in 2006, is he trapped forever or is his life in 1973 actually real? It is impossible not to sympathize with Sam as he struggles to find the answers.
Watch the first 10 minutes of Life on Mars and I guarantee you’ll become an instant fan.
- The second and final series of Life on Mars should be broadcast on ABC TV in Australia during early 2008. The show finished with an unexpected twist earlier in 2007 on the BBC.
- Life on Mars is a Kudos Film & Television production. Kudos is also responsible for the excellent BBC shows Spooks and Hustle.
Other People’s Reviews
Three storytellers, Matthew Graham, Tony Jordan and Ashley Pharoah, are credited with conjuring up the idea for this ingenious series, which turns a familiar style of police drama [into] pure fascination, mystery and intrigue.
It also allows the BBC to indulge one of its great skills: the recreation of an earlier era with very different and seemingly archaic technology, plus a grubby style of clothing matching that of Regan and Carter from The Sweeney, still with plenty of flares. It also has a wonderful cast headed by John Simm and Philip Glenister (both from State of Play).
– Robin Oliver (SMH)
If Tyler is, in fact, in a coma, dreaming a parallel and minutely detailed ’70s universe, as an audience we must find out how and why.
Sure, the test patterns, the leather jackets and the Bowie posters are impeccable but all that would mean nothing if we didn’t have to find out what’s really going on. A period-thriller cop show with a science-fiction heart and a politically scientific conscience. Tall order. Perfect delivery..
– Ruth Ritchie (SMH)
Every so often there comes along a TV show that totally defies your expectations of television and this stunningly good spin on the detective series sees modern day cop Sam Tyler (the brilliant John Simm) get run over and knocked unconscious, when he wakes he is more than a little disturbed to find he is now in 1973 – working with the hard as nails DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) … a man who relies on his coppers intuition and his fists to get results.
The characters might drink in quaint old-style pubs and those little white pinpoint dots appear and fade ever so slowly when they turn their black-and-white TVs off – but the nostalgia is not overplayed. The era’s constant power shortages have a starring role – as do the rampant sexism, racism and entrenched brutality of the police force. Everything is dwarfed by the monstrous towering postwar housing blocks and silhouetted by bleak skies..
– Scott Goodings (The Age)
A spinoff series “Ashes to Ashes” (also taking its name from a David Bowie song) attracted 7 million viewers when shown on the BBC in Feb 2008. Set in 1981, this time DCI Hunt is paired with Alex Drake – one of Sam Tyler’s 2006 contemporaries played by Keeley Hawes (Spooks) who finds herself similarly transported back in time. It remains to be seen whether this series is as good although the The Independent has said it was “the same mixture as before – a bit of pop culture, a bit of sci-fi [and] a bit of weirdness”.