Life on Mars: The Complete Series

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: TV-14

Starring:
Jason O’Mara as Detective Sam Tyler
Michael Imperioli as Detective Ray Carling
Gretchen Mol as Annie Norris
Jonathan Murphy as Detective Chris Skelton
Harvey Keitel as Lieutenant Gene Hunt
Greg D’Agostino as Detective
Chris Miskiewicz as Detective
John Cenatiempo as Sizable Ted
Dominick Mancino as Detective

Special Features:
- To Mars And Back — Journey Back To The ’70s To See Where The Show’s Concept Originated And Discover Hints To Figure Out Where It’s Headed — Plus The Mind-Trip Reality Of Living In The ’70s On A 2008 Set
- Sunrise To Sunset With Jason O’Mara — Experience Jason O’Mara’s Exhilarating And Exhausting “Life On Mars”
- Flashback: Lee Majors Goes To Mars — Lee Majors And Jason O’Mara Step Back Into The Past As They Tour The Set
- Spaced Out — Bloopers From The Set
- Deleted Scenes And Audio Commentaries

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish, French Subtitles
Running Time: 177 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the series:

“Immerse yourself in the groundbreaking series that captivated fans and critics from coast to coast. With an irresistible soundtrack and one of the most celebrated casts on television, including Jason O’Mara, Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol and Harvey Keitel, Life On Mars is smart, suspenseful drama with a finish that will blow you away. ‘It’s one of those endings I believe will make you watch the series again,’ says Executive Producer Josh Appelbaum.

There’s a fine line between delusion and reality. NYPD detective Sam Tyler finds himself walking both sides of that line when he is suddenly hurtled back in time to 1973 after being struck by a car in 2008.

Journey back to the ’70s and uncover the secrets of Life On Mars. Plus, with unique and exciting bonus features — including an insider’s view of where the show’s concept began, a six-million dollar moment in which ’70s legend Lee Majors steps back into the past with the cast and crew, and much more — ‘Life On Mars’ is unforgettable on DVD! ”

“Life on Mars” is rated TV-14.

Mini-Review:
Part-time travel story, part cop drama, “Life on Mars” is a strange mash-up of genres. After getting hit by a car in 2008, Detective Sam Tyler mysteriously awakens in 1973. He doesn’t know how or why he got there, but he’s there. With nothing else to do other than play out his role in this mystery, Tyler starts working with the local cops as a detective. Along the way he meets his long lost father, his mother, and his younger self.

As you might expect, the time travel and culture clash aspects of the show are played-up with jokes about cell phones, women’s rights, sexual harassment, etc. We see 8-tracks, the World Trade Center intact, and Nixon in the Presidency. You get all the typical time travel jokes that go along with all that stuff. It’s a little weird for me to see since I was born in 1973 and actually remember some of the 70′s. It never occurred to me how alien it appears now.

The other part of the series is the major culture clash between Tyler’s 2008 police tactics and Lieutenant Gene Hunt ‘s 1973 tactics. While Tyler respects a suspect’s rights and uses warrants, Hunt has no problem roughing up informants and busting in doors without the proper paperwork. In fact, Hunt doesn’t even have a problem roughing up his own men. I don’t know how much of that stuff is an accurate representation of 70′s New York police, but it certainly creates sparks between the characters. This is also the case with Annie Norris, one of the female cops. She blazes the trail for female cops in the department while enduring all sorts of sexual harassment. Your standard cop dramas and murder mysteries of the week play against this backdrop.

Then, of course, there’s the mystery of how Tyler actually arrived in the past. I won’t spoil it here, but it’s one of the more interesting time travel explanations that I’ve seen. The creators plant clues in every episode that lead up to the big reveal. Even with the big reveal, I still had questions at the end, but it was an interesting twist.

I knock down the rating a bit because a bunch of the anachronisms got old after a while. There are only so many cell phone and computer jokes you can make before they’re worn out. Once you don’t have that, all that’s left is the cop drama and over half the shows on TV these days are murder mysteries. Is the final big mystery worth sticking around for? That’s hard to say, but I think so.

“Life on Mars” is based on a BBC TV series, but I never saw it so I can’t compare it, but I would recommend the American version to anyone that likes cop dramas or shows that have big underlying mysteries (ala “Lost,” “Heroes,” etc.).

You’ll find a number of your usual bonus features on the DVD. There are audio commentaries, deleted scenes, a blooper reel, and a ‘making of’ featurette. There’s also a featurette that follows Jason O’Mara on a typical day on the set. Another bonus feature shows Lee Majors, who has no association with the show, touring the police station set. He acts as the eyes and ears of the audience as O’Mara leads him around and shows all the little details that help make it authentic looking.

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