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:
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 (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 (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 (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 (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.