Sunday, November 23, 2008

Life on Mars

Is anyone else watching this show? It's the one where the premise is: a present-day car accident mysteriously sends a detective back to the 1970s. I think it's the only new show this year I've watched more than one episode of. The British version of this show is one I always meant to watch... but never did. Alas. Perhaps some day on DVD.

But I'm really enjoying the American one so far. (And it's yet another American TV series where the lead actor is actually British, well, Irish in this case, by birth... But he was in the Royal Shakespeare Company, etc.) The acting is good, particularly Michael Imperioli, late of the Sopranos, and the story is just interesting enough to keep me going. I loved the pilot and first few episodes. They set up lots of mystery around how this guy was suddenly 35 years in the past and some mind bending things happened. Then, just as I started to worry that they'd made it too obvious what was actually happening, and they were falling into the typical US TV trap of trying to stretch a premise that should have a finite end (the British series had 16 episodes) to a multi-year series -- they added a great twist this past week.

But other than the hunky lead actor, Jason O'Mara, and Michael Imperioli's completely believable performance, what I'm really liking is the music. And oddly, I've read a couple places, that the shows producers have been criticized for the music. People have said they're choosing "obscure" songs from the era. Okay. I beg to differ. I said I was going to stop publicly admitting my age... But I was old enough in 1973 to be somewhat aware of popular music, but not old enough to be listening to anything even vaguely avant guard. Hey, I'm not sure I'd even heard of FM radio at the time (but did carry around a small AM transistor radio I got for Christmas). The only song I've heard on the show that I'm not sure I actually had heard in 1973 was Life on Mars. I don't think North America (never mind Winnipeg) had caught on to David Bowie at that time. (I just Wikipediaed David Bowie and I'm right... Bowie didn't really hit the North American airwaves until 1975.)

All that disclosed, I've recognized and loved virtually all of the songs they've been playing on the show. Cat Stevens. Roxy Music. Bread. The Who. Five Man Electrical Band... Obscure? Only if Winnipeg AM radio stations had obscure music on rotation. Doubtful.


Wylie Kinson said...

It does look good... but I'm scared to watch anything else new since the networks are so cancel-happy these days.

Maureen McGowan said...

Wylie... That's been worrying me, too. I just saw they canceled both Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money, two of the shows I started watching last season.

But for me, both of those shows have blown it this season and deserve to go. Pushing Daisies started to seem the same every week (although still entertaining) and Dirty Sexy Money just wasn't dirty or sexy enough and had started to rely on completely out of character story lines (like the main guys wife kissing one of the Darlings. Please. Like she'd do that.) to add some conflict.

They wimped out. Even had the evil minister son give up the church. Come on, people. That character was so amazing but lost his bite once he took off his collar. (or at least his bite lost a lot of its dramatic irony.) And they took the transgendered girlfriend/boyfriend away from the Baldwin-played Senator as soon as he got elected. Wimps. (although I like how he killed his wife and got away with it...)

Marilyn Brant said...

I've watched most of the Life on Mars episodes and really (really!) find Jason O'Mara's character compelling :). Last week's plot twist was discussion-provoking, too, and my husband and I spent some time afterward chatting about it, which was great...but I'm still not quite buying the paranormal part of the premise. I WANT to, but it's not working for me. How does a car accident make a person go back in time? What's with the weird ear-bug thingies? And who else could've figured out that uber-crypto puzzle involving letters and numbers at the end of the last episode? It reminded me too much of something from Alias that only a genius spy could decipher... Sigh. But I'm trying here because most TV shows are so annoying to me right now and this one is, at least, intriguing enough to keep me coming back.

kayla said...

Ya thats how it always goes you get into a program and they pull it off the air.

L.A. Mitchell said...

Great picture of Jason O'Mara :) Yum.

I had a post on LOM a few weeks ago when it first started. Of course, if it's TT you know I'm there, but it feels fresh to me and succeeds in several places Journeyman failed. I've heard the bigwigs at ABC love it and are willing to stick behind it.

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