Tuesday, March 3, 2009
So long, Spaceman
Unofficial word came down today that ABC would not give a second season to its promising freshman series "Life on Mars," starring Jason O'Mara as Sam Tyler, a modern cop who finds himself transported back to 1973 after getting hit by a car. Though I can't say I'm stunned by the news (ratings for the series weren't great), it saddens me nonetheless. "Life on Mars," a remake of a well-received BBC miniseries, wasn't groundbreaking television, but it was fun and charming. It also had a wonderfully over-the-top performance from Harvey Keitel as gruff police Lt. Gene Hunt. In fact, one of the saddest things about the cancellation of "Mars" is that I won't get to see Keitel on my TV every week. I'll also miss seeing Michael Imperioli (who plays another rough and tumble cop) and his fabulous, 70's-era 'stache. And I'll miss the show's excellent use of '70s music. And I'll miss Gretchen Mol's sweetness and pluck as a brainy policewoman. Sigh. I'll miss a lot of things.
However, there is a silver lining to this cloud. Sources say that the decision not to renew "Mars" came early enough that the show's creative team will be able to provide it with a proper ending, explaining just why and how Sam ended up in the past and, possibly, bringing him back to the present. That's a relief, considering that many canceled shows (including another series with "Mars" in the title) get their death notice after their last episodes have been filmed, often leaving major plot threads unresolved.
Glad that fans of "Life on Mars" will at least get some closure.
The other bright spot is that the original British "Life on Mars" will be released on DVD in July, giving fans of the American version who haven't seen it (including yours truly) a chance to view it.
It doesn't totally take away the sting of losing a solid show, but at least it softens the blow.