Life On Mars: The Complete Collection (U.K.)
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"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.
Audio commentaries for all Series 1 episodes
Take a Look at the Lawman documentary (64 min.)
Interview clip with director Bharat Nalluri (3 min.)
The Music of Life on Mars featurette (14 min.)
Get Sykes production design featurette (8 min.)
Outtakes reel (6 min.)
The Return of Life on Mars documentary (45 min.)
Series 2 behind-the-scenes footage and set tour (48 min.)
The End of Life on Mars featurette (28 min.)
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Top Customer Reviews
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. Even the surprise ending that leaves one desiring more of Life On Mars.
Annie Cartwright (Liz White), is the bonny looking policewoman of 1973 who is a "friend" of Sam, often taking his side. You'll love her (how do you say 'hot' in British dialect?). Ah, the British accents. It's no wonder, the US tried to keep it going--but alas, without the UK stars. Worry none about accents: SUBTITLES AVAILABLE.
If you have not tried the UK version of this original version which was recast and rewritten in an American version, it is highly recommended. Then, make your own personal judgment.
"LIFE ON MARS" is unrated, but not for children. If rated, it would likely be PG-21, R, or, in a few fast scene flashes, more. Put the kids to bed first.
....The series cleverly uses period music and recording artists at key spots in the episodes. Included, but not limited to, are artists and songs: David Bowie, "Goodbye Yellow House Road", "The Sweet Hellraiser", Barclay James Harvest, "In the Shining Sun", David Cassidy, Moody Blues, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Elton John, "Rocket Man", Whiskey in the Jar, Traffic, Cream, "Crossroads", The Sweets, "Love Lies Bleeding", Israel Kamakawiwi'de, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", "Changes", and of course, "LIFE ON MARS."
....16 episodes, about an hour each.
EXTENSIVE BONUS MATERIAL-detailed on this COMPLETE set's listing.
Best time travel tale since "The Wizard of Oz".
For those who were around then, 1973 had a very distinct "feel" as culturally the 1960s began to give way to the 1970s. This series uses U.K. rock music of the day to help suggest the place and time quite well while still allowing the creative talents involved to show Sam Tyler's displacement in his bleak workplace and flat. Sam is a character out of time, but the music is of a particular time and helps the viewer suspend disbelief regarding Sam's situation.
I was very pleased that the DVDs of Series 1 and 2 (still) prominently feature music by David Bowie, Roxy Music, Sweet, T. Rex, Elton John, et al. -- and let's not forget the overlooked (in America) Frankie Miller. It's disappointing when DVD releases replace key "original" soundtrack music from the original broadcast with replacement music, for reasons involving song rights and/or the corresponding expense (the DVDs of Northern Exposure and Case Histories come to mind). Some of the music used in Life on Mars is merely in the background, but much of it adds pointed commentary on Sam's plight, and all of it is well chosen.
I won't go into a long winded IMDB breakdown of the entire cast or every episode. Suffice to say that if you like cop series (especially the "kick down the doors & rough up the bad guys" type with a little mystery added in you'll love this.
The ending (without giving away any details) is heartbreaking & joyously fulfiling at the same time. It is one of the best I've seen in a long time.
The nice thing about only 2 series is that the show never gets too bogged down & the mystery angle isn't artificially dragged out.