Life On Mars Canceled

Son of a bitch. Life On Mars, the most intriguing cop show in years,1 has been canceled. There will only be 17 episodes, with the series finale to be aired next Wednesday. Technically, this is one more episode than the UK version, but they cut everything short over there with 6-8 episode seasons. In America, bigger and longer is better (but only for TV shows).

Jason O’Mara (Sam Tyler) and Gretchen Mol (Annie Norris)

If you hadn’t seen it – and you probably haven’t considering the ratings – it’s about a police detective who’s hit by a car in 2008 and wakes up in 1973. I missed the pilot, but basically he’s “transferred” to NYPD. There, he works with other cops (played by Gretchen Mol, Michael Imperioli (Chris Moltisanti on Sopranos), and the great Harvey Keitel) to catch crooks, while figuring out what happened to him and how to get back home. The writing is great and of course, with that cast, the acting is pitch perfect.

Michael Imperioli as Ray Carling

And Michael Imperioli as “Cochese”. Listen all o’ y’all, it’s a sabotage!

I admit, I am a little biased. I was born in 1973, so I have affection for TV shows and movies set there, like Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm. If you’re thinking that I shouldn’t be nostalgic for a year I technically can’t remember, you didn’t grow up in America. The older I get, the more I realize I absorbed huge quantities of ’70s pop culture by watching reruns as a kid. Same with the music of that era through the pop radio my mother always played. So when I see the clothes, hairstyles, cars, and electronics, set to the sounds of NY accents and music by Bowie, Simon and Garfunkel, and others, it just resonates.2 And that’s another thing – LOM has the best soundtrack on TV right now.3 It just ain’t fair.

I guess I should be thankful that the show is supposed to get a proper ending, with loose ends tied and mysteries solved. But I’m not thankful, as I’m too busy being pissed off that America doesn’t appreciate good TV.

  1. Although Life is very good, too. []
  2. Which is why I have no desire to watch the UK version; I’m sure I won’t get any of their period references like I do with the American version. []
  3. Maybe that’s another sign a show will get canceled, as Journeyman also had a great (indie) soundtrack. []

One thought on “Life On Mars Canceled”

  1. I actually caught a few episodes of the BBC version. It was good, and I don’t know that you’d have missed that many of the pop culture references.

    I didn’t realize that they’d even done an American version (though I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, given how much of the rest of what’s on the Beeb makes its way here sooner or later, tweaked for US audiences). It’s probably just as well, in a sense, ’cause if I’d seen it and liked it it would’ve been cancelled that much sooner. I think the only show that I liked from its early days that’s still on is CSI (the original). Anything else, it seems that me watching it is the kiss of death. “Andy Richter Controls the Universe,” “Jericho,” “Boom Town”… all those and then some gone like steam from a bathroom mirror.

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