Skip to main content

TV on DVD: "Life on Mars: Series 2"

Time to go down the yellow brick road again.

Yes, Stateside Life on Mars fans, that day has finally arrived as Acorn Media today releases the complete second season of the original UK drama series Life on Mars on DVD.

Forget about the lackluster (and mercifully short-lived) American version and travel back to the 1970s with the original UK Life on Mars, which has only deepened and grown more mysterious and provocative after its abrupt conclusion in 2007.

Not up to speed on the franchise? Created by Matthew Graham, Tony Jordan, and Ashley Pharoah, Life on Mars is an alternately trippy and gritty crime drama series that follows the adventures of Detective Inspector Sam Tyler (John Simm), a grimly determined investigator in present-day Manchester who is seemingly thrown backwards in time. While in pursuit of the serial killer that abducted his girlfriend, Sam is struck by a car and finds himself mysteriously in 1973 Manchester, where he comes face to face with a personal mystery from his childhood and the best fictional copper on television, the swaggering misanthrope Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister). Can Sam get home and save his girlfriend? Has he traveled back in time? Or is he losing his mind completely?

Season Two deepens the mystery and the drama even as Sam moves closer both to understanding the nature of the place he's in (is he deep within his subconscious? is he in a coma in a hospital someplace) and to a full-blown romance with female copper Annie (Liz White), who might just be one of the most perfectly realized love interests ever to grace the small screen. He's also forced to make a number of life-altering choices throughout the second season. Can be betray his boss, Gene Hunt? Can he leave his police colleagues in jeopardy if an escape route back to his normal life materializes? What price do these decisions have on his very being?

The second season brilliant answers these questions and more, offering a metaphysical mystery that unfolds over eight gripping installments that juxtapose Sam's struggle to regain his life with a vintage procedural police series that's both a parody of such 1970s cop television fixtures as The Sweeney and a gripping tour de force in its own right. (Hell, Glenister's Gene Hunt has proven so popular and so iconic that he's a major element of the sequel series Ashes to Ashes.)

The four-disc release of Life on Mars: Series 2 includes a slew of bonus material including a 45-minute documentary entitled "The Return of Life on Mars," behind-the-scenes footage of select episodes, a tour of the series' set, and a 28-minute featurette entitled "The End of Life on Mars." (Which, if I'm being honest, makes me teary-eyed every time I watch it.)

Ultimately, Life on Mars is one series that is virtually impossible to pigeonhole into a genre and that's a very good thing at the end of the day. Is it sci-fi? A police procedural? Who cares, it’s bloody good television that proves impossible to look away from.

Life on Mars: Series 2 is available today on DVD for the suggested retail price of $59.99. Or pick it up in the Televisionary store for just $39.49 today.

Comments

MyTBoosh said…
Love, love, love this show. The American version didn't even begin to do it justice. The series is truly innovative and wildly entertaining with excellent performances from all of the cast. I can't wait to watch it again!
Beans said…
I watched season 1 from Netflix and liked is so much I will buy season 2 I did like the American version but the English one is so much better
Anonymous said…
It's an exciting and intelligent show and the final two episodes especially offer terrific, emotional and thrilling closure. I cried during the final episode when -- well let's say that the series ends in a pretty definitive way.

But Annie as the best love interest in TV history? Come on, Jace! She's cute and caring but I can name dozens of classic TV characters that are better realized. We saw VERY little of Annie's personal life over the 16 episodes. Compare that to all the great stuff we saw with Mary Louise Parker on the West Wing -- a character who was brought in to be a love interest and wound up totally changing the feel of the show and making some episodes incredibly romantic.

Life on Mars is all about Sam and Gene and their clashing philosophies (powers the conflict in virtually every episode).

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

Me Want Food: Jenna Gets Famously Fat on "30 Rock"

I don't know about you, but I've already ordered my "Me Want Food" t-shirt from the NBC store. Last night's episode of 30 Rock ("Jack Gets in the Game") was, in my opinion, one of the strongest of the series and has officially pushed the zany comedy into the realm of Arrested Development : deftly plotted and intricately layered, with so many jokes piled atop of jokes that it requires several viewings in order to catch them all. While at its heart, 30 Rock is a workplace comedy, it's left that narrow pigeonhole behind to become a witty example of how intelligent and taut humor can work (and flourish) on television... and exist in harmony with hilarious throwaways like the Thriller -inspired Werewolf Bar Mitzvah music video that would have done the AD crew proud. I want Will Arnett to appear on this series whenever possible. His gay exec Devin is hilarious, manipulative, and has an inexplicable weakness for Kenneth the Page, but he claims to have

"Gilmore" Guy: Who is New Showrunner David Rosenthal?

A few days later and I am still processing the news that Gilmore Girls showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino--and her exceptionally talented husband, writer and producer Daniel Palladino-- announced their departure from the whip-smart drama after six seasons. The news wouldn't be such a blow, save for the fact that Gilmore Girls is as much about Amy and Daniel as it is about Lorelai and Rory. In their capable hands, the show explored a supremely complicated family dynamic through the beautiful friendship of mother and daughter Lorelai and Rory... and did so with smart dialogue usually found in a Nick & Nora film rather than on television. Zany subplots abounded as did quirky, beloved supporting characters. And now, after six seasons (including this most recent--and very shaky--season where Amy and Daniel wrote less episodes than usual), Amy and Daniel are passing on the showrunning torch to... Dave Rosenthal?!? For those of you in the audience unfamiliar with David Rosenthal ,