Life on Mars

THE BOX – Saturdays from 27 August, 10.30pm

NYPD Detective Sam Tyler (Jason O’Mara) is ripped from 2008 after being hit by a car while chasing down a criminal, and finds himself in the cultural hotbed of New York City in the tumultuous times of the Vietnam War, Watergate, women’s lib and the civil and gay rights movements. Without a cell phone, computer, PDA or MP3 player, Tyler is forced to rely on his wits to get the job done. Not only that, he often finds his 2008 values in conflict with the 1973 values of his colleagues, particularly his boss Lt. Gene Hunt (Harvey Keitel), a hardened older cop who’s largely set in his ways.

The BOX – Tuesdays from 20 July, 8.30pm

Just in the nick of time…

NYPD Detective Sam Tyler (Jason O’Mara) finds himself in the cultural hotbed of New York City in the tumultuous times of the Vietnam War, Watergate, women’s lib and the civil and gay rights movements – without a cell phone, computer, PDA or MP3 player – suddenly hurtled back in time when he’s ripped from 2008 after being hit by a car, while chasing down a criminal. He’s trying mightily to understand what has just happened to him and how he can get back “home.”

Tyler is forced to rely on his wits when the commonplace technologies he’s used to from modern life aren’t available or don’t even exist yet and often finds his 2008 values in conflict with the 1973 values of his colleagues, particularly his boss Lt. Gene Hunt (Harvey Keitel), a hardened older cop who’s largely set in his ways. He accepts and even encourages the casual corruption and physical abuse rampant in the police force.

9:30pm – Monday, May 25 on TV 3

A mysterious caller offers Detective Sam Tyler (Jason O’Mara) a chance to return to 2008 in the conclusion to Life on Mars, screening on Monday, May 25th at 9:30pm on 3.

It’s been a complicated, unknown ride, one full of twists and turns for Detective Sam Tyler who, after a car accident in 2008 got thrown into 1973 New York City. But according to Life on Mars Executive Producer Josh Appelbaum this week’s finale will most definitely bring with it a satisfying close to Tyler’s time-tripping odyssey.

Even though the series was given less time to build up to the finale than originally expected, Appelbaum says that this is the episode the producers had in mind ever since the beginning of the show.

“We always knew that the season finale was going to be this episode, Appelbaum tells American TV Guide, adding “We always knew what our series finale would be.”

Appelbaum reveals that after hearing the series was cancelled he approached the Life on Mars producers asking to shoot a season and series final.

“They thought about it for three minutes and came back to us with: ‘We’ve got good news and we’ve got bad news. The good news is we will let you shoot your series finale. But we will not let you shoot a season finale’,” explains Appelbaum.

“So audiences will get big reveals instead of a bunch of cliff-hangers. And we had planned the best season one cliff-hangers, too! But they will now never be seen.”

But what will be seen is something that many critics have called “the best series finale to come out in years.” And according to Appelbaum this will have something to do with Detective Tyler having to complete a number of “tasks” in order to return to the present day.

“The jumping off point is that his mother and father come back into this episode in a big, big way,” the producer explains.

“His mother comes to the station house and says that his father has reappeared and kidnapped a little boy. So, basically, Sam has to save himself, as it were. And it goes from there.”

Make sure not to miss the revelations that follow when Life on Mars answers all in its series finale screening on Monday, May 25th at 9:30pm on 3.

Life on Mars, TV3’s Monday night cop show, has just been cancelled by ABC.  If you’ve been enjoying it though, you’ll be pleased to know that it will allowed to finish its 17 episode season, which will allow the writers to tie up any loose ends they want to, and to most importantly explain how/why Sam ended up in the 70s!

I guess this means that ABC learnt a lesson after cancelling “Dirty Sexy Money,” “Eli Stone,” and “Pushing Daisies,” last year, all without the opportunity to provide viewers with any closure.  It also means Life on Mars will end up looking more like the BBC show it was based on, which was always designed as a two-season show with a total of 16 episodes.

In better news, depending on your taste, it looks like CBS is preparing to give “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory” both big contract extensions.  “Men” is likely to get a further three years, which would push it into its ninth season in 2012 when its “Half Man” would be 18 years old!  “Men” is currently US primetime’s top rated comedy, and it does well here too.  “Big Bang” is looking at a further two years, which would take it to its fourth season in 2011, although it seems to have been pulled by TV2 here partway through its first year.

Another CBS show, “The Mentalist,” (which should arrive on NZ screens soon) is sure to be renewed for a second season as it has continued to set new ratings records, and regularly wins its timeslot and night.  The Mentalist is a cop show with a difference and stars Australian actor Simon Baker.

Has anyone been watching Life on Mars?  How do you feel about its cancellation?

Do you think Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory deserve their extensions?

Monday, March 2nd at 9:30pm

Whoopi Goldberg is in for a gender-changing new role – the Sister Act actress will be joining Life on Mars as an underground New York radio personality who goes by the name of Brother Love Butter when the series continues with its action packed season on Monday, March 2nd at 9:30pm on 3.

Life on Mars sees NYPD Detective Sam Tyler (Jason O’Mara) thrown back in to the cultural hotbed of 1973 New York City.

This is the time of the Vietnam War, Watergate, women’s liberation and the civil and gay rights movements. Until now Sam hasn’t fully experienced this side of 1970’s New York, however this is all about to change in this week’s episode titled “Things to Do in New York When You Think You’re Dead”.

When a racial confrontation between the African-Americans and Puerto Ricans communities results in a young black girl’s body being thrown from a rooftop Sam and his fellow detectives must solve the crime before the Black Liberation Army hunts down the Puerto Rican suspect to levy their own kind of justice.

Joining them with their task is none other then Brother Love Butter. “Fresh on all you cats – Brother Love Butter here and in your ear,” says the Oscar-winning Goldberg when audiences first see her as the radical (male) radio personality.

As a respected, militant voice in black New York, Brother Love Butter gets involved in the search for a Puerto Rican man accused of murdering the young African-American girl.

But there’s more to “Things to Do in New York When You Think You’re Dead” than racial tension and an Oscar-winning actress. The episode will also see Sam Tyler encounter the young version of the NYPD detective who would later become his friend and mentor, Capt. Bellow (Clarke Peters). Although Fletcher does not recognise Sam, the two do end up collaborating to investigate the murder.

Will this collaboration help Sam get closer to the truth of why he’s found himself in 1973? Find out when Whoopi Goldberg joins Life on Mars on Monday, March 2nd at 9:30pm on 3

Monday, February 16th at 9:30pm

As Detective Sam Tyler (Jason O’Mara) explores the circumstances surrounding the homicide of a Vietnam veteran he is sent down a mysterious path that may provide clues about his own family’s past on Life on Mars, screening on Monday, February 16th at 9:30pm on 3.

But as the action continues in the American version of the hit BBC series of the same name, some audiences might still be unfamiliar with the Dublin-born actor who portrays the present-day detective who, following a serious car accident, wakes up to find himself in the early 1970s.

O’Mara grew up in Ireland, where he attended Trinity College Dublin, graduating with a degree in drama. Following his studies the actor starred in several British dramas, including Playing the Field, Berkeley Square and Monarch of the Glen.

After arriving in America, O’Mara landed regular roles on Grey’s Anatomy, CSI: Miami, as well as HBO’s Band of Brothers. These various guest roles lead to the Irish actor’s biggest break – the role of Detective Sam Tyler on Life on Mars.

“I’ve been talking about this on and off with the network for almost two and a half years, so I was ready,” O’Mara tells American TV Guide.

And when it was announced that the production of the series changed cities, moving from Los Angeles to New York, O’Mara couldn’t have been happier about the move.

“Relocating to New York, not only do I live here, which makes it easier, I think it gives it that more edgy, gritty and dangerous feel. It feeds me as an actor, and it feeds the work.”

Life on Mars sees Sam Tyler travel back to 1973 after being hit by a car while working on a case in 2008. O’Mara, who considers himself a fan of the BBC version of the series says he didn’t research the 1970s too deeply for the role because he wanted everything to be as new to him as it would be for his time-travelling character.

Instead, he prepped for the role by talking to real New York detectives and working regularly with a dialect coach to get that ever-subtle New York accent just right.

“It’s much harder than I thought it would be,” says O’Mara, who’s first days on set also felt a bit intimidating due to working with two big name co-stars – Harvey Keitel (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction) and Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos).

“What I discovered, and this is always true, when you’re on set and the cameras are rolling, you’re just two actors playing a scene, and all the other stuff falls away,” he says.

“Now that I’ve done some scenes with [Keitel and Imperioli], they’re just great actors and we’re lucky to have them on the show.”

So make sure not to miss this dynamic trio when Life on Mars continues on Monday, February 16th at 9:30pm on 3.

Monday, February 2nd at 9:30pm

The night viewers have been waiting for is here! The star studded American version of the hit BBC series Life on Mars, is finally coming to our screens when the series premieres on Monday, February 2nd at 9:30pm on 3. 

Life on Mars sees Jason O’Mara (Men in Trees) star as NYPD detective Sam Tyler, who, after a car accident, gets thrown into 1973 New York City. While there, he tries to fit in while juggling his job under Gene Hunt (Bugsy, Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction star Harvey Keitel) and working alongside Ray Carling (Michael Imperioli – The Sopranos), Annie Norris (Gretchen Mol) and Chris Skelton (Jonathan Murphy).

But even though the series is set in the 1970s, viewers may be surprised to learn some things will be carried on from present day. 

“I don’t think it’s really necessary to do anything to my hair,” O’Mara told the Daily News. Adding that his character, Sam has been living in 2008, so his hair will be styled as is.

But regardless of his hair style, O’Mara promises to give his character some spunk, as he is working on an accent.  

“I’m gonna try and give it sort of a New York flavour,” he says. “That’s very difficult to do, to do a subtle New York accent. It’s easier to do Italian or something very specific.”

O’Mara, whose previous television credits have include those in The Closer, Grey’s Anatomy, CSI: Miami and Criminal Minds, also admits to Life on Mars being a little bit more challenging for him. Not just because of the accent, but because he takes the lead in the series for the very first time.

“I’ve been working with ABC [Life on Mars creators] for the last four years and this is kind of the culmination of a lot of that work,” he explains. “This is a big deal for me; I’ve never had a big launch like this.”

So make sure to tune in and find out how the actor does in his first leading role when Life on Mars premieres on Monday, February 2nd at 9:30pm on 3.

Life on Mars has debuted in America with a new series and Sam Tyler located in New York City. My reviews begin with Life on Mars Debuts in America.

UKTV – Thursdays from 16 October, 8.30pm

“My name is Sam Tyler. I had an accident and woke up in 1973. So am I mad? In a coma? Or back in time? Maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get home…”
Life on Mars is a fast-paced, suspenseful crime series with a twist. Smart, savvy, sharp-suited detective Sam has his world turned upside down when the hunt for a cold-blooded murderer becomes a desperate rescue mission for his own girlfriend and fellow cop Maya. After a near-fatal car accident, Sam is mysteriously transported back to 1973 – only four years after he was born. Confused, frightened and alone, Sam must quickly come to turns with what has happened by doing the one thing he knows best – his job. The murderer he was chasing in 2006 began his killing spree in 1973 and the police force of the time need his help to solve this and other parallel crimes. But there are no computers, forensics or sophisticated surveillance devices, and his CID colleagues are a bunch of unashamedly sexist, macho men with no qualms about roughing up suspects and manufacturing evidence to put a villain inside. Can Sam overcome their rough and ready ways and maddening lack of forensic technology and will he be able to get back to the present day and find Maya?
Stars: John Simm (State of Play), Philip Glenister (Clocking off), Liz White (A Thing Called Love).

‘Utterly brilliant … I can’t remember the last time there was a police drama worth getting so excited about …’ Daily Mirror

‘This has been the coolest, sharpest, wittiest, most inventive new police drama in many a year’ Daily Star

‘One of the best TV shows of the last ten years’ The Times

‘Crisply scripted, funny, imaginative – why can’t more telly be like this?’ Guardian

Good news for Life on Mars fans! The second season starts on TV ONE on Monday 16th June at 8:30pm.

In the first episode of the second series, time-travelling DCI Sam Tyler remains trapped in another era – the 1970s – where he encounters the young incarnation of a nasty villain he put away in 2006.

He sees the chance every policeman dreams about: stopping the killer before he kills.