Friday, March 20, 2009

R.I.P. Life On Mars

The US Life on Mars needed to be on cable...It's not made for a mainstream audience. My cable box description calls it a crime drama, when it really is/should be a sci fi show. I had heard the title of the show before I saw an episode, and had no idea what to expect. Then I think I heard a Good Morning America interview with Michael Imperioli, heard a bit about the rest of the cast and the premise, and decided to watch the pilot. From there, I've grown to appreciate the show.

I think ABC really did this show a disservice. First, it's not really a crime show. It's like calling last year's Journeyman a show about journalism. It cuts the border, kind of like Medium, but there's no sense of normalcy for people to latch onto. The promos for the show don't really do a good job emphasizing the shows good points. A show like this really needs time to build an audience.

Second, the old episodes aren't available online to watch for free. ABC only has the last 3-4 episodes up (I don't remember if it was in iTunes). Then they also switched up an episode that had a cliffhanger the week before, which left a lot of people confused.

Finally, the tone of the show is not right. I recently got the UK version to see if I could figure out the difference, and it is HUGE. I'm not in the "biz," but I would expect anyone who does this professionally to see a dramatic difference between the two versions. The UK version uses a lot of the same plots, scenes, and even lines. But it has a serious, twisted Twilight Zone feel to it. The acting is first-rate. It's like there's a joke about the 70's going on, but the whole show is in on the joke. At it's best, the US version can bereally good, but there are times when it feels like a Starsky & Hutch spoof. And while the US cast is like an A-movie, the scenes that display real acting chops are rare. For that, I do resent the creators of the show. They've taken a great premise and a great cast, and squandered it. I would sum it up by saying the UK version is Connery and the US is Roger Moore.

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