I’m against the remake of “Life on Mars” on general principle. It looks like the American version just took the synopsis of the British original and used that to make a bland TV show whereas the British version happened to be in the 1970s but what made it work was wondering whether or not the lead character, Sam Tyler (played wonderfully by John Simm), was dead, insane, or in a coma. The way it ended (after only two seasons of eight episodes as British TV refuses to overstay its welcome) was delightfully ambiguous (although that ambiguity was then ruined by the unnecessary spinoff, “Ashes to Ashes”) and something an American show wouldn’t have the balls to do in a million years…well, MOST American shows.
Yes, come this January, “Life on Mars” will find itself following television’s best currently-running program and certainly it’s ballsiest, “Lost”. But this kind of match-up reminds me of what ABC tried to do last year by using “Lost” as the lead-in for “Eli Stone”: take TV’s most mind-bending, jaw-dropping show and the follow it with a slightly odd-ball new show. It’s like asking if you would like to follow your porterhouse steak with some McDonalds.
So as an enemy of the “Life on Mars”, I’m bemused by this move as the only thing I can think of that would be worthy to follow “Lost” would be a mirror-image of the viewer staring slack-jawed at the television, wondering what just happened, followed by unbridled enthusiasm. But yeah, a shallow copycat of a great British TV show should do just fine.
“Lost” returns on Wednesday, January 21st at 9/8c with a two-hour season premiere. Be excited.