TV Draft Round 7 – Pick 4 – Max Selects – Life On Mars

One of the reasons I started to blog in the first place back in 2017 was to tell people about this British show. The storyline is perfect for me. Life On Mars was made in 2006-2007 so for me, this is brand new! This one caught my attention immediately. The series only has 16 episodes total so it doesn’t take a lot of your time. Unlike America…they don’t usually milk a program to its last drop. 

If any of you are looking for something different…watch it! 

This is the show I most wanted to post about other than the Twilight Zone. It has Time Travel and the early seventies…whats not to like?

Life on Mars is simply great. I’m talking about the BBC original version… NOT the American version. Sometimes I wonder why instead of remaking a series as great as this… why not just show the superior British version in America in prime time? Do they think that it would be impossible for people to understand British accents? Why remake something that is inferior to the original?

The plot is about a police officer (Sam Tyler) in 2006 who gets hit by a car and wakes up in 1973…he doesn’t know if he has traveled through time, gone mad, or is in a coma. When he wakes he is a cop (Detective Inspector) in 1973 and has to deal with a non PC world that is vastly different from where he just came from… People do things with feel more than data gathering etc.

Same begins to understand that the modern world he came from didn’t have everything right. There is room for hunches and gut feelings. Gene sees that some of Sam’s ways work well on cases. The continue to learn from each other but it takes a while. Gene is not above framing a guilty man with little evidence while Sam pleads with him not to. Sam also learns to trust his inner instinct instead of just by the numbers police work. 

Sam had grown up in that neighborhood and he meets his mother and father but of course, they don’t see him as their son…he was only 4 years old at that time. None of the characters know he is from 2006. He only tells one person…Annie Cartwright and she doesn’t believe him. She thinks he received a concussion and this is a side effect. When Sam watches TV by himself…sometimes the people on a show will know who he is and try to communicate. The famous UK Test Card Girl will also come to life. 

They get the era down almost perfectly. The soundtrack is outstanding. The song in which the show is named is my favorite David Bowie song. I found music in this show that I had never known about…like Atomic Rooster’s  The Devil’s Answer…just to pick out one. It has one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard. Plus I never get tired of hearing the title track. 

They asked Paul McCartney if they could use Live and Let Die and he flatly refused. They sent him a few episodes to look at…he agreed instantly after that. The sequence to Live and Let Die is great. This show borrowed heavily from the UK 1970s Cop show The Sweeney…which is a great show itself. 

They made a sequel later on called Ashes To Ashes about a modern female police officer that gets trapped in the 80s with an older version of the original characters except for Sam and Annie. I would recommend watching that one also. I know of two bloggers (Hanspostcard and Lisa) who have watched this show because I recommended it…they both seemed to have liked it. Just DONT get the American version…it’s very cheesy and ends bad.

You can watch this show on Amazon Prime. 

For fans of the show… this was announced in March of 2022.

Life on Mars co-creator Matthew Graham has confirmed that he and his longtime collaborator Ashley Pharoah have scripted the pilot episode to a proposed sequel series.

News broke in 2020 that the team were developing a follow-up titled Lazarus, which would tie up the story that began in Life on Mars and continued in Ashes to Ashes.

The Characters are:

Gene Hunt

Chief Inspector Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister): – One of the best tv characters…EVER. Politically Incorrect to the core but a decent human being although he doesn’t always show it. He is Sam’s superior and although he won’t admit it much…he does respect Sam and Sam begrudgingly respects him. He does police work the old way…by feeling and hunches and it irritates Sam to no end. One of my favorite lines by him is “You are surrounded by armed bastards.” and “Your son, Mrs Bathurst, was a cold-hearted killer. And if there is a hell, he’s going there to be poked up the arse with sharp fiery sticks, forever and ever, Amen!”

The interplay between Gene Hunt and his crew is great:

Gene Hunt: “I think you’ve forgotten who you’re talking to.”
Sam Tyler: “An overweight, over-the-hill, nicotine-stained, borderline-alcoholic homophobe with a superiority complex and an unhealthy obsession with male bonding?”
Gene Hunt: “You make that sound like a bad thing.”

Chris Skelton: “I wonder what killed him?”
Gene Hunt: “That would be the bloody enormous hole in his chest where the bullet went in!”

Sam Tyler

Sam Tyler (John Simm): A modern man stuck in 1973 and he must work on police cases without a computer or data. He learns from Gene also…he doesn’t want to admit it but he finds out that the old hunches work out at times more than the data gathering. Both Sam and Gene need each other and when they are not fighting…they compliment each other rather well.

Annie Cartwright

Annie Cartwright (Liz White): A female in police at a time where women were often ignored, underused, undermined, and taken for granted. Annie is a bright woman, she studied for a psychology degree, wants to help people, deals with sexism well, has to be wary of what she says in front of the men, and leaves the situation otherwise she may get sacked. She slowly gets accepted by the team as a detective and helps solve a lot of cases. She ended up being one of my favorite characters. 

Ray Carling

Ray Carling (Dean Andrews): Ray is a tough-minded man who prefers brutality and corruption to do things Sam’s way. He is the one against Sam the most. Carling had applied for promotion to DI (Detective Inspector) that Sam got.

Chris Skelton

Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster): Chris is extremely naive and is learning on the job. He is generally regarded as a waste of space by Hunt throughout both series and plays only minor roles in the storylines that unfold. Skelton finally proves himself by saving Hunt, Tyler, and Annie Cartwright from death when he shoots and kills a criminal at point-blank range.

Here are some clips…the bottom three are short. 

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

24 thoughts on “TV Draft Round 7 – Pick 4 – Max Selects – Life On Mars”

  1. Great addition to the draft! At your urging, I watched all of the UK and US episodes a couple years ago. The series is truly well done. I think my favorite quote from Gene, went something like, “There won’t be a female Prime Minister in England as long as there’s a hole in my arse.” I’ve started watching Ashes to Ashes, but got distracted. I need to finish it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m so glad you watched it! I learned so much about their culture from this show like Camberwick Green and other things.
      Gene is a one of a kind character. I’m glad you enjoyed it… you make 3 bloggers…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds pretty good and with your recommendation I may look it up since we have Prime here anyway! The Brit sense of humor is different than the American one, or at least what the US networks perceive the American one as …but many times it’s superior, as Fawlty Towers shows.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dave I sure hope you do… if only so I’ll have another person to talk about it with… Gene makes Archie look like a choir boy lol… different situations though… but he is deep down a good guy.

      It has comedy, drama, and a hint of sci-fi … just a hint

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure John… but I really think you would like this show. They get the seventies down… plus the songs are great. They don’t pick the obvious ones always either… but they are great.

      I was curious… two girls played the part.. Rafaella Hutchinson and Harriet Rogers

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, it had to be. Preaching to the converted here Max, we watched it when it first came out here then bought it on DVD. I’ll have to rewatch it. (I always giggle when I hear Americans saying ‘british accents can be tricky.’ Try watching something with a Newcastle or Glaswegian accent- that is another language altogether.
    And I cain’t but hardly unnerstaynd what Jill in ‘My Name Is Earl’ done be yammerin’ bout most of the tiyuuum!’

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m glad you liked it Obbverse. I started to watch it when it was almost over so I binged on it. Ashes to Ashes is pretty good also.

      LOL… I’ve heard people compare the southern drawl to Cockney…different but in their own way related.
      I’m from the south of course but growing up I was aware of that countrified way of talking and after policing myself….I pretty much have lost mine…. People ask me if I’m from Oklahoma a lot…why I don’t know.

      Cockney I like… the southern stuff…I understand because I grew up around it. “going out dare and dig some taters by suppa time”….. instead “a while ago” it’s “a-wallow go”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Accents, ah yes. Our giveaway accent point here is we apparently say ‘fush un chups’ instead of ‘fish and chips.’ I don’t fu- find it so though.’ Love that a-wallow go.’

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My wife if from that God awful state of West Virginia. They talk with a Northern and Southern accent combined. She would say…. “feeesh and chips”
        Fush un Chups…I like that

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I use them also on different shows. There were times I would rewind, stop, rewind…what did he say???? So yes the subtitles helped.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. It was the American version that led me to the original. I love the UK version, though I’m partial to a lot of British shows over American. The writing is par excellence. I’ve always thought that Annie would have gone ignored if Sam wouldn’t have been there. And, of course, the soundtrack is great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They had great actors in the American version…I did not like the end though…come to find out they rushed it.
      Ashes to Ashes is good as well.
      Yea Annie would have been wasted if not for Sam.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, it was a rush job to end it because I think (if I remember right) the network had already canceled its second season before the season had ended. I stay away from American network TV now and focus on foreign media.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree. It’s probably a licensing issue. I remember British TV shows in the 1970s being remade in the USA, most notably the one that became Sanford and Son. I think Hollywood lost its crown for originality and quality writing a long time ago.

        Liked by 1 person

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