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Life on Mars: The Complete Series
Life on Mars The Complete Series
Actors: Jason O'Mara, Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol, Jonathan Murphy
Director: n/a
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2009     1hr 0min

From the studio that brought you Lost, comes the groundbreaking series that captured the imaginations of fans from coast to coast. With an irresistible soundtrack and one of the most celebrated casts on television, includi...  more »

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Jason O'Mara, Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol, Jonathan Murphy
Director: n/a
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: ABC Studios
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 09/29/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 19
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Put all the Emmy's in a box...
John J. Gronkowski | Chicago, Illinois United States | 04/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"...and give them to the actors and writers behind Life On Mars. That's my prediction...another case of "posthumous award giving". The observation has been made that the American LOM has been adapted from the British version but I understand that the US production followed the original storyline for a while and then took a few radical turns. Variations on a theme, I guess, but it has been quite a ride. I assumed that they would have to bring this story to a conclusion within a couple of seasons because the premise just couldn't be strung out forever but ABC sure isn't doing it justice or doing us any favors by cutting it short and telling the producers to wrap it up prematurely.

If you didn't love Harvey Keitel before this series then you owe it to yourself to watch all of these episodes. Michael Imperioli absolutely rules as Ray...I swear that I knew this character back in the Seventies...really. Gretchen Mol is just enchanting. Jason O'Mara makes his lost-in-time character so sympathetic that you can't help but worry about where he'll end up in the end.

So long, Life On Mars...it was all too brief but it was wonderful."
Only the Good Die Young
R. S. Richards | Atlanta, GA | 04/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Just like a person who dies at a young age, this show was dropped right as it was hitting its stride. I watched this show from the very first episode and LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. The acting was superb. Michael Imperioli and Harvey Keitel were brilliant, as were Jason O'Mara and
Gretchen Mol. Since I grew up in the 70's, I was amazed at how effective the writers were able to capture that time period. I couldn't wait each week to see what song choices would be selected for each episode. I was
crushed when it was cancelled but have to give credit to the writers for
closing up a very complicated plot in 10 minutes. The ending, while rushed, did answer many questions for a very clever show. I will
certainly buy the DVD to have something decent to watch since network
television cannot keep any quality shows.
"
Awesome acting!
CJM | TX, USA | 04/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I loved this show when it aired on ABC. I never missed an episode. I laughed many times and was very impressed by how it really looked like 1973. The actors? They looked like they belonged in that era. And though I have never seen the British version, I applaud the Amercan version. Sad to see it go, but I will definitely get the DVDs to watch any time I please. No matter how crammed the ending may seem. I think it tied it all up neatly instead of leaving you hanging as some other shows do."
Highly entertaining! "Life on Mars - The Complete Series" i
Dennis A. Amith (kndy) | California | 10/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Life on Mars" made its debut in the US on October 2008 and was completed in April 2009. The series is loosely based on the BAFTA-award winning series shown on BBC back in 2006-2007.

The series revolves around a NYC homicide detective named Sam Tyler (Jason O'Mara, "Grey's Anatomy", "Men In Trees" and "In Justice") who is engaged to Detective Maya Daniels (Lisa Bonet, "The Cosby Show", "A Different World"). Both are planning to marry but first, they are on the pursuit of a man who is wanted for killing several women by torturing them within the 30 hours they are kidnapped and then killed.

Unfortunately, due to circumstance, the person wanted is released but May suspects that he still is the person they are looking for and tails him. It is realized later that the man they had in custody was the correct person (who has a twin brother) and when Sam goes to find Maya, all he finds is her shirt which has blood all over it.

This leads Sam to pursuing the perpetrator but while going back to his car to get his radio, he is accidentally run over. Next thing you know, Sam wakes up but he is in the wrong time period, waking up in 1973. During this time, he's a police detective who has transferred to New York's 125th Detective Squad as a Detective Second Grade. Before computers and modern technology, things are handled much differently during this time and it freaks Sam out, not knowing if he's dead or alive, if he's dreaming or going mad. What is known is that cases that he is handling now, has to relate to his work in 2008 but most of all, things that deal personally with his life.

But it's about Sam getting used to 1973 and his surroundings. For Sam, being a part of the politically correct and modern technology-based era, preservation of suspects rights and forensic evidence is a priority. Despite everyone are quite OK with how business is done at the 1-2-5, Sam believes in going by the book and being a respectable police officer and thus putting him at odds with the other detectives while winning the respect of the only person who will listen to him, Annie Norris.

Joining Sam at the 1-2-5 squad in 1973 are:

Lt. Gene Hunt (Harvey Keitel, "Pulp Fiction", "Bugsy", "Reservoir Dogs") - The Commander of the 125th Detective Squad. Brash, works with mobsters to get information, beats up the people they capture to get a confession and literally a corrupt cop but is dedicated to protecting the city. He is often at odds with Sam's by-the-book attitude and ends up beating Sam up (or getting into fights with him).

Detective Ray Carling (Michael Imperioli, "Law & Order", "The Sopranos") - A blunt detective who despises Sam for taking the position he wanted. Short-tempered and arrogant.

Annie Norris (Gretchen Mol, "3:10 to Yuma", "Girls Club", "The Thirteenth Floor") - A policewoman who has an undergraduate in psychology and a member of the Police Women's Bureau. Since 1973 was during a time that female's weren't treated in the same capacity as men, she hopes that one day that female police officers will be as equals to men and that she will be a detective one day. Often treated as someone with a lower status by the male detectives at 1-2-5, she listens to Sam (who babbles about being from the future) but respects him for having an open-mind, even though she doesn't quite believe his story.

Detective Chris Skelton (Jonathan Murphy, "October Road", "Wild Fire") - The young detective trying to learn the ropes around the office.

Throughout the series, Sam wonders if he is ever going to back to his time period, especially as he gradually starts to see some changes in the 1973 time line and trying to figure out if what is happening is real or unreal. He realizes certain cases relate to his cases that he handled back in his time period. But also throwing him for the loop is being around the time his mother was raising his younger version of himself and seeing his father and realizing more about his parents and their life back in 1974.

"Life on Mars - The Complete Series" features 17 episodes on three discs. Included are (spoiler-less summaries):

DISC: 1

* EPISODE 1 - Out Here in the Fields - Meeting Sam in 2008 and then seeing how Sam gets used to being in 1973 and working on a case similar to the case he was working on 35 years later.
* EPISODE 2 - The Real Adventures of The Unreal Sam Tyler - Sam and the 1-2-5 investigate the homicides at check-cashing stores.
* EPISODE 3 - My Maharishi is Bigger Than Your Maharishi - When a Vietnam vet is murdered, and when a vet is killed, it becomes a priority for the 1-2-5.
* EPISODE 4 - Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In the Shadows - Sam rescues a woman from a gangster but he realizes that the woman is his mother.

DISC 2:

* EPISODE 5 - Things to Do in New York When You Think You're Dead - Sam meets an officer named Fletcher Bellow, a man he wanted as his mentor in 2008.
* EPISODE 6 - Tuesday's Dead - Sam and the 1-2-5 get caught in a life-and-death hostage situation.
* EPISODE 7 - The Man Who Sold the World - Sam learns that his father may be involved with a major kidnapping and learns why his father may have left him.
* EPISODE 8 - The Dark Side of the Mook - Sam receives a call from a mysterious person directing him to a headless body.
* EPISODE 9 - Take A Look at the Lawmen - The 1-2-5 competes with the 144th Detective squad.

DISC 3:

* EPISODE 10 - Let All the Children Boogie - Sam and Chris have to help out a rock star named Sebastian Grace who is receiving death threats.
* EPISODE 11 - Home Is Where You Hang Your Holster - A tense day at the office when Hunt has to lock down the precinct. Meanwhile, an NYC councilman gives Sam some information.
* EPISODE 12 - The Simple Secret of the Note In Us All - Sam realizes that a homicide case he handled in 2009 may have happened backn in 1993.
* EPISODE 13 - Revenge of Broken Jaw - With the death of the leader of the Weather Underground, Lt. Hunt must deal with threats that may implicate him.

DISC 4:

* EPISODE 14 - Coffee, Tea or Annie - The 1-2-5 goes undercover to investigate a murder of a flight attendant.
* EPISODE 15 - All the Young Dudes - Sam and the 1-2-5 goes undercover to investigate truck hijackings.
* EPISODE 16 - Everyone Knows It's Windy - Ray and Chris are shot by truck hijackers (who Sam is working with via undercover) but with a suspect dead, Sam is suspected in killing the man.
* EPISODE 17 - Life is a Rock - Sam receives a call that if he performs three tasks, he can go back to 2008.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

"Life on Mars" is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1) and is enhanced for 16×9 televisions. While the first episode and flashbacks feature natural colors, it's when we see the 1973 scenes, a filter is used and the colors of the series become more amber with a yellow/orange/brown tinge and is purposely made to look different from the present-time scenes. But by no means does the colors seem distracting.

Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. For the most part, the series is front and center channel driven with the dialogue and 70's music coming in nice and clear. Dialogue is understandable and there are sounds that utilize the surround channels.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

"Life on Mars - The Complete Series" includes the following special features:

DISC 1:

* Audio Commentary for "Out Here in the Fields" with Executive Producers Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec

DISC 2:

* Audio Commentary for "Things to Do in New York When You Think You're Dead" with Jason O'Mara, Executive Producer Scott Rosenberg and Director/Co-Executive Producer Michael Katleman.
* Audio Commentary for "The Man Who Sold the World" with Executive Producers Andre Nemec and Josh Applebaum

DISC 4:

* Audio Commentary for "Life is a Rock" with Jason O'Mara, Executive Producers Josh Applebaum, Scott Rosenberg and Director/Co-Executive Producer Michael Katleman.
* To Mars and Back - (15:35) Viewers journey to "Mars" with Sam Tyler the cast and producers to see where the "Mars" concept originated and if viewers can figure out where it's headed. Interviews with the cast and crew and differences and similarities from the BBC version.
* Sunrise to Sunset with Jason O'Mara - (9:34) An exhilarating and exhausting day experiencing Jason O'Mara's Life on Mars. A typical day in the life of O'Mara.
* Flashback: Lee Majors Goes to Mars - (7:54) Popular 70's actor Lee Majors steps back in the past on the Life on Mars set and taken on a tour courtesy of Jason O'Mara.
* Spaced Out: Bloopers from the Set - (2:43) Bloopers from "Life on Mars".
* Deleted Scenes - A total of ten deleted scenes.

JUDGMENT CALL:

For the most part, "Life on Mars" is a very entertaining, suspenseful and cool drama series.

"Life on Mars" (the US version) definitely differs from its BBC counterpart in some ways. For the US version, the primary similarity is that Sam Tyler uses his 21st Century investigation skills in handling homicide cases and is a bit more politically correct than his 1-2-5 counterparts and his boss Gene Hunt is a crooked cop (although respectful to protecting the people of his city).

But part of the problem was that "Life on Mars" was a series envisioned to lasting more than one season. In fact, despite the series being critically acclaimed at the beginning, the series unfortunately had lower viewership. It didn't help that "Lost", it's lead-in show was also battling with the loss of viewership as well. So, major differences is that the character of Annie Hunt is portrayed much differently in the BBC version than the US. Most importantly, the way the series ends for the BBC and US version differ greatly. And part of the reason of how the season ended is due to the fact that the creators had such a short time of deciding how the series would end.

In fact, fans of the series will probably enjoy the audio commentary for the final episode as we learn what the original finale was supposed to be but also the reason why they made the final minutes of the final episode as is. But its also important to note that like the BBC version, the final second before the credits run in that final episode carries that same ambiguous feeling that perhaps things are not as they should be.

With that being said, the series finale had an ending that is surely going to either be a love or hate moment for viewers. I can't really spoil anything but needless to say, even the creators say in the commentary that the response was either love or hate, nothing in between.

As for the series, I felt the writing was well done and the main talent such as Jason O'Mara, Gretchen Mol, Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli and Jonathan Murphy were a solid group. O'Mara and Mol have great chemistry, Keitel is always a talented actor in playing the tough man role and Imperioli did a great job of playing the disgruntled detective. Each of the talent did well in their roles and even for the short role of actress Lisa Bonet, it was great to see her again on television.

The costume design is top notch. The hairstyles, the clothing... I was quite surprised because there are a lot of extras featured in this series. Since the shows take place in New York and Sam is wandering throughout the city, there are a lot of people in 70's outfits. And it's not just the clothing but also the vehicles and the CG (as the Twin Towers are featured) to make the setting seem realistic.

Also, another positive that I enjoyed about the series is the soundtrack used for each episode. "Life on Mars" would feature popular, classic rock or classic 70's music and for those who enjoy 70's music, would probably get a kick out of episodes where there is a police chase and then Mott the Hoople would be playing in the background.

As for the DVD, we get four audio commentary tracks and a good number of special features. A good number of content and for the most part, "Life on Mars - The Complete Series" is a solid DVD release.

Overall, "Life on Mars" was a series that was just so fun and enjoyable but it's so unfortunate that the series was canceled. There was great potential in this series and the finale managed to end the series in an interesting note but it would have been interesting to see how the writers would have carried things off if they had that second season, more time and a few more episodes.

Nevertheless, I felt that this was one of the more entertaining drama series on television and for those curious about the series or missed the series the first time around, "Life on Mars - The Complete Series" is definitely recommended!"