Life on Mars
- Brian Donaldson
- 18 May 2010
Transplanting a classic British show into a US setting has more often than not borne rotten fruit. The Office and Queer as Folk are two that never quite lived up to the UK original. Remaking Life on Mars proved so tough that the original pilot was shelved and a rehaul of the cast ordered, with Harvey Keitel drafted in as a crotchety Gene Hunt, Gretchen Mol became Annie ‘No Nuts’ Norris and Michael Imperioli wielded a massive mouser as the bitter Ray.
Remaining in the Sam Tyler role, though, was Irish-born Jason O’Mara and once you get past his velvety Clooney-esque tones, he delivers a decent performance as the cop from 2008 who slips back in time to a 1973 New York where hippies line the sidewalk and the Twin Towers still point skywards. While some scenes are virtually frame-for-frame reshoots, an alternative, bizarrely literal ending was concocted. The DVD extras of this five disc set of the first series are disappointingly limited to some deleted scenes and a ‘you-had-to-be-there’ bloopers session.