Friday, November 20, 2009

"Life on Mars, Series 2" released on DVD

Oh America -- how could you?
How could you take a British series that ended on such a dark, strange, emotionally powerfull note and completely neuter it? Don't get me wrong -- our version of the limited run British series "Life on Mars" was pretty solid, with Jason O'Mara ably taking over for John Simm as Sam Tyler, a cop who wakes up in 1973 after getting hit by a car. In fact, some aspects of the American version were even better than the British version. For example, I much prefer Michael Imperioli's performance as surly 70s cop Ray to that of Dean Andrews in the original.
But that ending! America, why did you change the ending?
Well, fear not, British "Life on Mars" fans. The second season of the show comes out on DVD on Tuesday, and you can enjoy the original in all its dark, twisted glory. The DVD also includes a series of featurettes, including an entertaining documentary on the making of an animated sequence featured in one episode. There's also a very insightful featurette on the show's stunning ending, featuring interviews with the writers, directors and actors (note -- it's also kind of a kick to see everyone in contemporary dress in these documentaries).
But, additional features aside, the show itself is the star here. This "Life on Mars" is both vastly entertaining and a thought-provoking meditation on life, death, friendship and love. It's good stuff. Accept no substitutes.
"Life on Mars, Series 2" will be released on DVD on Tuesday. Season one is already available. Also, if you'd like to hear a great interview with Philip Glenister, who played Gene Hunt on the series, click here.

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