Tuesday, January 22, 2008

'Life' Doesn't Go On

Today's a sad day for me, as one of my favorite shows of 2007, "Life On Mars" (BBC America, 9 p.m.) wraps up the series with the finale tonight.

It's a good news/bad news type of deal.

The good news - we finally find out if Sam Tyler (John Simm) is a time traveller, in a coma-induced nightmare, or just plain mad. In addition, there is already a sequel to the series already airing in Britain called "Ashes To Ashes," focused on Sam's boss, DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister), which takes place in 1982 in a slightly more politically correct England of Margaret Thatcher.

The premise of "Life On Mars" involved Sam, a cop in 2006, who gets hit by a car while working on a case. When he wakes up, it's 1973. He doesn't know how he has travelled back in time (or if he indeed has) and doesn't know if he can get back to his own time. Meanwhile, he must deal with the antiquated police methods and attitudes (and horrible fashions) of the 1970s, embodied by the old-school Hunt.

The bad news about "Life On Mars" - no idea when or if "Ashes To Ashes" starts airing on BBC America. In addition, the DVDs for both seasons of "Life On Mars" are being held up here because of music rights to all of the great music from the early '70s the series uses, so no idea when those will be out, either.

Finally, the really bad news is that my least-favorite TV hack, David E. Kelley, owns the American rights to "Life On Mars" and is re-doing the series for ABC. Given the fact that a) I hate everything Kelley has ever done, and b) nearly all British dramas that are remade by American TV networks tend to suck (comedies, from "Sanford & Son" to "The Office," have fared much better as US remakes), my expectations are nearly zero, although I do like the casting of Colm Meaney in the Gene Hunt role for the American version.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: It's reality, mostly, as a one-hour "American Idol" (Fox, 8 p.m.) squares off against a two-hour "Biggest Loser" (NBC, 8 p.m.), which is followed by a new "Law & Order: SVU" at 10 p.m.

My buddy David E. Kelley's "Boston Legal" (ABC, 10 p.m.) is also new, as is "Nip/Tuck" (FX, 10 p.m.)

Expect the weekly blog postings to come after lunch this week, since my work schedule has been adjusted slightly.


zodin2008 said...

It's amazing how different the Brits run their TV series, ending them for good, no matter how good or how popular, after 2 short stints. And this 2nd season of "Mars" has felt REALLY short. Yuck.

I have NO interest in all that reality crap tonight, that's for other people, but I will gladly sit down and watch the series finale of "Mars" and my DVR recording of "Sarah Conner", since I was completely engrossed in the non Vince McMahon smackdown last night on CNN between Hillary & Obama. Now THAT was GREAT theater!

Phillip Ramati said...

Obama vs. Hillary might be the most entertaining reality series on TV right now.

Just Me said...

Your headline for this one just about gave me a stroke. Especially when you consider that there is another well written, splendidly acted show (which means that it is ripe for cancellation by NBC) called "Life". Please be more careful. (Tongue firmly in cheek.)

Not having seen "Life on Mars" I can't really lament its departure. The cancellation of "Life" however, would call for much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

Phillip Ramati said...

Oops, Just Me, just wanted to see if you were awake!

While I'm sad Life On Mars has finished, there is still plenty of life for Life, which NBC picked up for the full season. It has quietly become one of TV's most interesting shows, and hopefully, we'll get a few new episodes if some sort of agreement can be worked out.