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Life On Mars: The Complete Collection (U.K.) (2005)

John Simm , Philip Glenister  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Simm, Philip Glenister, Liz White, Dean Andrews
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 8
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: July 6, 2010
  • Run Time: 930 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0038M2SAW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,787 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

"Not your mother’s procedural drama" --Entertainment Weekly

"Intelligently entertaining" --USA Today

Seen on BBC America

"An intoxicating treat" --Variety

"One of the best TV series ever made" --San Francisco Chronicle

Crazy, in a coma, or back in time? Struck by a passing car in modern-day Manchester, detective Sam Tyler (John Simm, State of Play, Doctor Who) wakes up in 1973, where he’s the newest member of his old police squad. Sam’s respect for proper procedure and 21st-century mentality clash mightily with his bullying boss, DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister, Cranford). Still, Sam gamely adapts to crime solving in this retro world, despite hearing strange voices that call him back to his former life. When he bonds with sympathetic policewoman Annie Cartwright (Liz White, The Fixer), Sam wonders: does he really want to return?

Winner of two International Emmys® for best drama series, Life on Mars is "an entertaining collision of bare-knuckled police-procedural realism and mind-blowing surrealism" (TV Guide), acclaimed by critics and fans alike.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 85 people found the following review helpful
The COMPLETE set of episodes for the UK variety of 'LIFE ON MARS' is compelling viewing for crime and mystery fans. Now, with the entire series assembled into one package, the difference between this gritty cop in 2 worlds can be fully compared to the US duplication. The debate will forever rage, but you may find that this UK series is bang-on for several reasons.

A young Manchester detective is struck by a car and sent eventually to intensive care in a coma. However, Sam Tyler (John Simm) is hearing, thinking, and seeing regardless of the fact his body is immobile, speechless, and unresponsive. Doctors, wife, cops look for signs of life, continuing life-sustaining machines and measures, as Sam tries to get his message through.

In the meantime, Sam also returns to a police station with an arrogant, brute commander, Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) leading the team. But it's in 1973, complete with perfection in sets, costumes, props, and antiquated police procedures as well as techniques. Sam remembers the modern style of police work and tries putting it to work in this location, this time, with this drinking, hot-head, abusive boss. It leaves both men frustrated at each other on a regular basis. The conflict between the characters is played brilliantly by the 2 stars.

Crime after crime, is investigated through the series, while Sam tries to make contact with the modern world from his comatose-like stage in a hospital bed. The jump from modern to 70s in issues and times is well done, leaving a continuing plot over the episode crime plot always dangling for its own suspenseful end. There is even romance conflict from both ends of Sam's existence. The show seems to have it all, something for everyone.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But Where is Home? September 2, 2010
If you first saw LIFE ON MARS in the American version then later viewed its original British predecessor, then one thing stands out. The U. S. version was good but the BBC series was compelling. It is not often that any film company can successfully unite two divergent genres, but LIFE ON MARS is a gripping melding of a cops and robbers crime solving series with a cerebral science fiction subtext. In both the American and British versions, the basic plots converge; however, it is the British series that has the far more deft hand at creating and maintaing ongoing interest. John Simm is Detective Sam Tyler of the Manchester Police Force in 2006. He has a car accident and like Hank Morgan in CONNECTICUT YANKEE wakes up some thirty three years earlier, also as a police officer with the same name. He wanders into his reassigned police precinct and wonders whether he is insane, in a coma, or has inexplicably travelled through time. His new comrades seem as if they are little more than brute atavisms, solving crimes the old-fashioned way, mostly through a politically incorrect mishmash of beatings of suspects, violations of every rule of contemporary police procedure, and frequent use of anti-feminist and anti-gay slurs. And to top off matters, no use of personal computers or forensics or DNA technologies. Sam's boss is Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister), a brute of a cop who sees nothing wrong with beating a confession out of a suspect. Hunt drinks constantly, is overweight, and is rude to everyone under his command. When a policewoman Annie Cartwright (Liz White) joins his squad as a detective, Hunt mercilessly taunts her in gross sexual innuendoes. Read more ›
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time? August 18, 2010
This series has to be one of the best series I've seen in years. It's superbly written and the lead actors are fantastic. Sam Tyler (played by the absolutely awesome John Simm), a 2006 detective from Manchester has a car accident and awakes to find himself in 1973. He finds that he's on transfer from Hyde (a real town not far from Manchester) to what was then Salford and Manchester Police (now Greater Manchester Police).

Following his car accident, Sam hears everything that's going on around him and adapts it into 1973 as messages in various forms, such as seeing his aunt on the TV, or hearing his girlfriend on a broken radio. He's unsure what's happening to him and frantically tries to respond to the messages and make it known that he's alive. It's brilliantly done, as is the way the series shows Sam despirately trying to cope with the completely non-PC style of policing of the time and a completely different kind of life in 1973. It shows things we take for granted now that didn't exist then. Things like, when Sam first arrives in 1973, he starts to look around for his "mobile" when questioned as to "mobile what", he looks totally baffled as to why the copper doesn't understand that he means his mobile phone. It just makes you think "oh yeah, we didn't have them then".

He's also trying to cope with his brute of a DCI, Gene Hunt (played by Philip Glenister), who's all too keen to go in with his fists and also doesn't seem to care what he says or who he says it to. The difference in attitudes and the conflict it often causes between the two is wonderfully protrayed by John Simm and Philip Glenister.

There are a couple of small inaccuracies in the timeline that I've noticed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Series Soundtrack Helps Us Navigate Sam Tyler's Changes
I recently purchased this DVD collection and revisited life with Gene Hunt's squad of coppers.

For those who were around then, 1973 had a very distinct "feel" as... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Talón de Brea
2.0 out of 5 stars just as bad as its US copy
Published 25 days ago by David H. France
5.0 out of 5 stars Good fun.
We loved this series - admittedly you have to be willing to accept the time travel twist and some difficult to believe scenarios but Gene Hunt ROCKS!
Published 1 month ago by Fogged
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brought back a lot of memories of the early seventies.
Published 1 month ago by Jonathan Raven
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Usual British Detective Series
My teenage sons and I watched every episode of this series. It was intense in some scenes, amusing in others... We laughed and cheered. Read more
Published 2 months ago by ED78
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy THIS UK version over the US version!
Much, much better than the US version! With a different cast and ending! The Brits got this one right!
Published 2 months ago by Petra Jennai
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
So happy this came in Zone 1!! LOVE this show!
Published 2 months ago by Megan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing Series
Published 2 months ago by Martino Cansani
5.0 out of 5 stars " I loved this series
Wow! What can I say. You need to pay attention to the story line. You can't keep getting up to get a snack or take a phone call, because you may miss one line that will make the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Elaine Yerves
5.0 out of 5 stars Life on Mars good enough to watch over and over
I love this series, despite its irreverant 1970's language and treatment of women, because you watch the characters grow and embrace some change. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jeanne Provencio
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Topic From this Discussion
Comparing the UK and US versions?
There isn't a comparison. The UK series is original and monumentally well done. The American version is a cheap knock off with a cop-out (no pun intended) ending. Don't bother with it. And check out the UK sequel which completes the story.
Jul 28, 2010 by DWGRadio |  See all 5 posts
UK version great!!!!!!!!
I agree that the UK version is terrific television. I do want to mention the bad service done to viewers by the dvd release: The DVD's appear to be a third generation framerate conversion, from 24fps film to 25fps PAL to 29.97fps DVD. The result is that the dvd's are not optimal quality.... Read More
Jul 21, 2014 by x |  See all 2 posts
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