Skip to main content


Showing posts with the label Life on Mars

Channel Surfing: Dexter Lures Miller, Jordana Spiro Out at Love Bites, Greenblatt Exits Showtime, Gene Hunt, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. Showtime's Dexter is on a casting role. Variety 's Stuart Levine is reporting that Jonny Lee Miller ( Eli Stone ) is the latest to board the serial killer drama, signing on to appear in a multiple-episode story arc on Season Five of Dexter . Miller will play "a mysterious man who ends up tangled in a storyline with Julia Stiles, who is beginning her first season on the skein." ( Variety ) Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Jordana Spiro has exited NBC's midseason romantic anthology series Love Bites . Spiro's participation in the series was always in second position to her role on TBS comedy My Boys , which returns for its fourth season next month. "Although the odds appear slim that TBS will renew the show for a fifth season (season 4 premieres July 25), it was a risk NBC apparently wasn’t willing to take," writes Ausiello. "It’s unclear if her role will be recast.

End of the (Thin Blue) Line: Televisionary Talks to "Ashes to Ashes" Co-Creator Matthew Graham About the Final Series

Who is Gene Hunt? It's been a question that fans of Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah's Life on Mars and its sequel series, Ashes to Ashes --which stars Keely Hawes and Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt himself--have been asking themselves for years now. The answer to that and many more of Ashes to Ashes ' mind-bendng mysteries will be revealed when the trippy 1980s-set drama wraps up its run later this spring in the United Kingdom, with the third and final series set to launch on Friday evening on BBC One. I had the opportunity to interview co-creator Matthew Graham about the upcoming third season in a one-on-one interview in which we discussed the strange journey from Life on Mars to Ashes to Ashes , the identity of Gene Hunt, where and when we find ourselves when Series Three gets underway, the new character joining the ranks of the Metropolitan Police Force, what viewers should expect from the final series of Ashes , and much more. Televisionary : Series 3 marks the end o

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

Channel Surfing: "Life on Mars" Co-Creator Likes US Version; Jamie Bamber "Too Scared" to Play the Doctor, Potential SAG Strike, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. While everyone is buzzing about the possible SAG strike, I hope you all tuned in to last night's episode of Chuck , the final piece of the three-part Jill storyline. Life on Mars co-creator Ashley Pharoah has praised the US version of the series, calling it "marvelous." In New York to receive an International Emmy for best drama for the original UK version of Life on Mars , Pharoah was pleased that the producers had changed the mythology of the series for the US audience and that the studio had moved the action from LA (where it was based for David E. Kelley's original pilot ) to gritty New York City. "They're changing the mythology, which I think is all right," said Pharoah. "It has to be different. Otherwise everyone just goes on YouTube and sees how it ends." ( Hollywood Reporter ) Just how would a SAG strike affect a television industry still recovering from the crippling 100-day WGA str

Over the Rainbow: The "Life on Mars" Series Finale

Oh. My. God. I don't even know where to begin after watching last night's final installment of Brit import Life on Mars , one of the most gripping, thrilling, and jaw-dropping series finales (or series, full stop) around. While I knew that the writers--Matthew Graham, along with Tony Jordan and Ashley Pharoah--wanted to tie things up in the strange, strange life of Detective Inspector Sam Tyler, I had no idea the lengths Sam would go to in order to return to 2006, who he would betray, and what mechanism by which he'd catapult himself out of his future coma-state. If the above sentence made any sense to you, you're obviously a Life on Mars fan. If not, you've missed out on a series, which over the course of sixteen episodes, redefined genre television, blending science fiction, cop drama, romance, metaphysical drama into one groovy package and populating it with a cast of characters that proved themselves misogynistic, racist, pigheaded... and yet having a sort of p

Hyde and Seek: Sam Encounters A Tantalizing Clue on "Life on Mars"

If there's one word to sum up this week's episode of Life on Mars , it's just... wow . The latest installment of the second (and final) season of Brit import Life on Mars has once again managed to bowl me over with its low-key dread and spine-tingling mystery; all this and a plot about the Gene Genie himself, DCI Gene Hunt, arrested on suspicion of murder. Can Sam clear Gene's name? Does he want to? And just what is acting DCI Frank Morgan hiding? I'll admit that the murder investigation had me baffled. While I knew that Gene was somehow innocent, the evidence clearly pointed to him. He had thrown a brick through the victim's window only hours before his death (after threatening Terry Haslam in a courthouse surrounded by witnesses), drunkenly dropped his gun at or near the victim's house, and went back to get it. Next thing Gene knows it's the next morning, Haslam is dead and his corpse staring at him from across the room, and his gun is missing... only

Sam Tackles Heroin, Hate Crimes, and... Big Bird on "Life on Mars"

Just a few quick words this morning about last night's superlative episode of Brit drama Life on Mars , whose second season has been just as captivating as its groundbreaking first. On last night's episode, Sam Tyler found himself once again saving his future by messing about with the past. This time, it's a dangling plotline involving his girlfriend, fellow police detective Maya, who was last seen in the series' pilot and who it was believed had been abducted by serial killer Colin Raimes. How Maya managed to escape from Colin's clutches in the future has yet to be revealed but Sam's early involvement in a 1973 serial killing case (with which Colin was connected as a young boy) may have altered the future. In fact, Sam's entire reason for being in 1973 subtly points to a mission to change the future for the better and protect the people around him. We've already seen how this impacts his beloved Auntie Heather, mentor Glenn Fletcher, and perhaps Maya as

Things Get Trippy for Sam Tyler on "Life on Mars"

Was it just me or were you on the edge of your seat during last night's installment of BBC import, Life on Mars ? This series, which stars John Simm as time-traveling detective Sam Tyler just gets more and more taut as the second season continues. I can't help but wonder what sort of clue was contained in this week's episode, in which the team tracks down a kidnapped woman and her daughter, being held captive in an effort to secure the release of a teenager who confessed to murdering a 14-year-old girl a year earlier. While the CID review their case files, they are forced to wonder if they locked up the wrong man a year earlier; meanwhile, a deeply ill Sam--pulled in from sick leave--passes out at the station. His condition--due, we're told, from his entrance into a deeper coma in the future, due to the wrong balance of medication--is alternately creepy, scary, and just plain weird. Sam is clearly seeing hallucinations (but as Annie says, when is he NOT seeing visions)

Sam Finds Himself Caught Between the Facts and His Gut on "Life on Mars"

While the ongoing dispute between the WGA and the AMPTP might have derailed our favorite series for now, there is one bright spot on the television landscape and that's BBC America's brilliant time-travel/cop drama Life on Mars . While this week's episode, the second season's third, doesn't answer any more questions about the mysterious phone call Sam made last week (and its implications about his "assignment" in 1973), it did forward the story of Sam's possibly recovery from his coma in 2006 and give us an episode based around the constant pull between facts and instinct. The basic thrust of the episode revolved around a car bomb outside a school that the IRA was allegedly behind. Sam knew that it couldn't have been the IRA--they weren't planting explosives on British mainland soil until the 1990s--but his hunches were discounted by the rest of the team as he couldn't prove any of the facts. He also managed to get colleague Ray Carling nea

Talk Back: "Life on Mars" Season Two

So hopefully you all tuned in and watched last night's two-hour installment of Life on Mars (well, two back-to-back one-hour episodes anyway), so here's your chance to talk back about the second season opener. If you haven't yet seen the episodes in question, beware as there are spoilers lurking here. (If you missed my advance review of the two episodes, click here to read.) What was with that near-kiss between Annie and Sam? So tantalizingly close! I am happy, however, to see Annie join the CID as a plainclothes detective (a difference between the UK and potential US version, which already has Annie as a full detective when the pilot begins) as hopefully this will mean she finally gets a little bit of the respect she deserves. One word: stinger. I was completely stunned by that shocker of a telephone call in which Sam connected with the mysterious caller from Hyde, who promptly told him that he should not be contacting him as it's not part of "the plan." Hm

Is There Still "Life on Mars"? Bloody Hell, Yeah.

Just in the nick of time (what with the holidays upon us and the strike in no signs of wrapping up any time soon), BBC America is finally bringing the second season of Life on Mars to this side of the pond. For those of you who don't know, I'm absolutely obsessed with Life on Mars , which stars John Simm ( State of Play, Doctor Who ) as Sam Tyler, a police detective who--following a car accident in 2006 during the pursuit of a serial killer who may have taken his girlfriend prisoner--wakes up in 1973 Manchester to the sounds of David Bowie, bell-bottom pants, rampant sexism on the force, and a general lack of policing savvy. The first season of this groundbreaking series focused on Sam's attempts to get home and to determine whether he had (A) gone mad, (B) fallen into a coma, or (C) truly traveled back in time to the year 1973 and joined up with the Manchester police force under the steely and often pigheaded gaze of DCI Gene Hunt (Phillip Glenister). At the end of the fi

Return Mission to "Mars" Finally Set

Remember Life on Mars , that absolutely brilliant BBC series starring John Simm as a detective in pursuit of a serial killer who wakes up in 1973? For a while it seemed as though David E. Kelley's Americanized version of the series (stuck firmly in pilot status for the last year or so) would make it to air before the second season of the brilliant British series would ever air on digital cabler BBC America. You can exhale now. BBC America has finally announced the launch date for Season Two of Life on Mars (coincidentally the last season of the skein), which will kick off on Tuesday, December 11th... only fifteen months after the conclusion of Season One in September 2006. I'm not quite sure what's responsible for the delay in transmission as the second season of Life on Mars wrapped in the UK in April, but I'm glad for something to look forward to in these dark days. What's On Tonight 8 pm: Ghost Whisperer (CBS); Deal or No Deal (NBC); Friday Night SmackDown (

"Wonder If He'll Ever Know He's In The Best Selling Show": Is There "Life on Mars"?

Time travel is a funny thing. Especially when the traveler in question has gone backwards in time, rather than forward. Can you change the future by altering the past? Can you save yourself? Such questions have been plaguing Detective Sam Tyler (John Simms) for the last eight episodes of the superbly twisted British import Life on Mars . For those of you who have heretofore avoided the trippy time-travel/cop drama and weren't lucky enough to get a DVD box set from BBC America (it's already in a prized spot on my living room bookshelves), here's a quick primer on the story so far. In 2006, Sam is on the hunt for a twisted serial killer abducting young women. After his own girlfriend, a police colleague, is abducted, Sam is hit by a car in a near-fatal accident. When he wakes up, he finds himself in 1973, still assigned to the Manchester police force, on the hunt for a serial killer abducting young women... But is Sam mad? Or in a coma? Or has he traveled back in time? It app

More "Life on Mars"

Just a brief post today as I am still celebrating the virtual death of cable company Adelphia, who have made my life here in Los Angeles a hellish oblivion over the last four years. So buh-bye Adelphia, and hullo Time Warner... Which brings me to a point about the joy of digital cable, specifically the pride and joy of my digital cable lineup: BBC America. If you are not watching Life on Mars , then you are officially dead to me at this point. (Well, you're getting there anyway.) While I usually try to avoid discussing a series so soon again after it's just started to air, last night's deliciously brilliant episode of British import Life on Mars has compelled me to mention it yet again and to pose a delicate yet vexing question: if you're not watching this show, why the bloody hell not? Last night's episode was another turn of the figurative screw, as poor, stranded Sam Tyler (John Simm) seemingly inches his way to madness... or self-realization, depending on wheth

From Across the Pond: "Life on Mars"

No, this isn't another declaration of my love for Veronica Mars . (Though there's nothing wrong with spreading the love of Mars .) Rather, I'm referring to the Stateside premiere of the trippy crime drama Life on Mars , which launched its first season last night on BBC America. While it's nominally a mystery series, Life on Mars is far from being your standard crime procedural. Instead, it's a deft blend of police procedural, pitch black humor, and crime drama, with a sci-fi twist. In 2006, Detective Chief Inspector Sam Tyler ( State of Play 's John Simm) is on the hunt for a man he believes is a serial killer targeting young women, keeping them alive for 24 hours, and then strangling them. Tyler thinks he's caught his man when he brings in ginger-haired Colin Raimes ( Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 's Sam Hazeldine), a troubled schizophrenic, but when his social worker has an airtight alibi for him, Tyler's back at square one. However, Tyler&