So, last Thursday US Network ABC broadcast the American version of the British made international hit series, Life On Mars. As a fan of the time travel story / police procedural, I thought I'd sneek a peek at their version, especially given that no less than Harvey Keitel is in the much loved Philip Glenister role of no nonsense 70s cop.
On the whole, the first episode was largely faithful to the original to a great degree, sharing pretty much the same plot, similar dialogue (minus some of the more extreme stuff that, while ok for hardened UK audiences, probably doesn't cut it with sensitive US advertisers and their sensibilities), and even a lot of visual similarities. Some of the same camera shots at key moments, Sam Tyler's natty leather jacket, and the office of the police station were identical. Makers must have been keen to capture and distill the magic that made the original so loved by audiences across the world.
Sam Tyler is played by Irishman Jason O'Mara in this version, who does a creditable performance as the confused policeman who is run over in a car accident in 2008, and mysteriously wakes up in 1973. The local references of 70s Manchester were transferred to flower power Noo Yawk faithfully, with a background of Vietnam, beautiful people and a funk-soul soundtrack. The pace kept up as the first episode set up Tyler's predicament for the audience.
I understand that in the second episode the story will depart from the original, which seemed to clearly suggest that Tyler was in fact in a coma in a hospital bed in the present day. The remake will be far more ambigious in the variety of possibility of explanations for the detective's apparent predicament, with him writing down 13 different reasons on a blackboard, and each of these being explored over the rest of this first series.
With Life On Mars being a ratings success on its first outing last week, the series is likely to make its way to our shores soon enough. For those who can't wait, here's a taster.....
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