Life On Mars: The Complete First Series (U.K.)
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The time-warping detective series seen on BBC America
Dreaming, delusional, or displaced in time? Police detective Sam Tyler (John Simm, State of Play) must decide which describes him in this intriguing twist on the police procedural that has won two International Emmys® and rave reviews from critics and fans.
Hot on a killer’s trail in modern-day Manchester, Tyler gets struck by a passing car and wakes up in 1973. The high-tech tools and respect for proper procedure have vanished. Instead, he finds himself working on a homicide squad where hard drinking replaces hard thinking; forensics takes weeks to analyze; and his boss, DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister, Cranford), has no qualms about roughing up suspects--or Sam himself. Still, Tyler has real-world crimes to solve, even as strange voices call him back to his 21st century life. But when he bonds with sympathetic policewoman Annie Cartwright (Liz White, The Fixer), Sam wonders: does he really want to return?
- Audio commentaries for every episode with cast and crew
- "Take a Look at the Lawman," an hour-long documentary with cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage
- Interview clip with director Bharat Nalluri
- "The Music of Life on Mars" featurette with composer Ed Butt
- "Get Sykes" featurette with production designer Brian Sykes
- Outtakes reel
Part of the fun of Life on Mars is watching Tyler come to terms with the primitive state of crime-solving in the era of Starsky and Hutch. Forget state-of-the-art investigative science, and forget institutional regard for suspect rights and police procedure. Rather than accept Hunt's status quo, however, Tyler fights every step of the way for progressive policing, putting him on a daily collision course with other cops. Still, over the eight episodes in Series One, Tyler does make some inroads and gains the respect of his commander--which doesn't mean the two don't throw their fists at one another regularly. As anxious as Tyler is to get back to the future, his romantic connection to a policewoman (Liz White) helps ground him (or trap him?) in his perhaps-unreal surroundings. Still, there's a question: is there a reason Tyler has turned up in a year when he was still a little boy, facing difficult times? The answer is remarkable, as Life On Mars: Series One moves toward a powerful conclusion. Life on Mars proved such an attractive concept that the show was remade for American television in 2008, starring Jason O'Mara as Sam Tyler and Harvey Keitel as Gene Hunt, and with Gretchen Mol, Michael Imperioli, and Lisa Bonet also in the cast. --Tom Keogh
Stills from Life on Mars: Series 1 (U.K.) (Click for larger image)
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Top Customer Reviews
If you happen to have seen the US series please give this version a chance as well. While the premise is the same they are very different in tone. The original UK series is grittier and the 1970's Sam finds himself in is much more politically incorrect adding a bit more conflict and spice to the series. Sam and Gene's relationship is also more of a buddy cop type compared to the father/son type relationship you get from the US version. Even the ending is completely different and in my opinion much more emotionally satisfying than the US one. The UK series is really one of a kind and should not be missed.
Note: This DVD only has the first 8 episodes of the series. The DVD with the final 8 episodes will be coming out sometime in 2010.
Philip Glenister plays DCI Gene Hunt, Sam's new boss in 1973. He's crass, foul-mouthed, sexist, bigotted, and has an insult for everyone. He's also corrupt, but he's not the bad guy...everything is shades of grey.
Life On Mars is a fascinating show. On one level it's a cop drama, but there are a lot more levels underneath it. Add to that a fantastic soundtrack, and it's a show you will watch over and over again.
Our first glimpse of DCI Sam Tyler isn't very promising. He's coolly efficient at his job, but doesn't seem to derive anything more than a grim satisfaction from it. He's dating a subordinate, which tells you everything you need to know about his social life.
Then he is thrust into a bizarre situation: after a near-fatal car accident, he finds himself in 1973. Why 1973? He doesn't know. Complicating Sam's already impossible situation is that some of his senses (especially sight and touch) indicate that he is in 1973, while others (especailly hearing) indicate that he is lying comatose in a 2006 hospital bed.
Lost, confused, and frightened, Sam attempts to work out what has happened to him... and how to get home to 2006. If he can't trust his memories or the evidence of his own senses, what can he trust?
Very slowly, Sam begins to change. He smiles. He rediscovers and reconnects with what he's lost--a family cat, football matches, then his mother and father. We see that 1973 Manchester is, economically, a much bleaker place than 2006 Manchester... but it's also warmer, more organic, all earth tones in contrast to sleekly modern 2006, which is filmed in cool blues and greys. Sam's 1973 bedsit is hideous, a garish riot of oranges and browns, but it's also more lived-in than his spotless white-and-chrome 2006 flat. But 1973 isn't a lost paradise, either; "Life on Mars" doesn't hide 1973's flaws or film it through a rose-coloured camera lens. It shows us what we have gained, and what we have lost along the way. We see that the reforms in policing that stifled Sam and his colleagues in 2006 are a direct reaction to the police abuses Sam sees in 1973.Read more ›
This is NOT a short season. In Great Britain, seasons are 8 shows. If you watched it on BBC, you waited a year to see the next season. Doctor Who is the only current British show to have 13 episodes (like an American season). You end up with 16 total episodes, each a year apart.
As for PRICE: a full season of Doctor Who is between $65 and $75 per 13 episode season, so the price is absolutely in line with that. Judging the British counterpart by its American (failure) is a really poor idea by someone who doesn't *know* anything about the British season and has now artificially lowered the rating of this superior British piece.
BBC's Life on Mars was amazing as it came out. It really ignited my imagination. John Simms gives a stellar performance. If you like the American series, the British series is much tighter, has better symbolism, reminds viewers that the past is different than the present, and it puts into perspective modern detective work as it's performed without CSI and million-dollar-crime labs.
Another BBC show that's trumped its American re-shoot.
The gem here is Sam's interaction with DCI Gene Hunt as they come head to head over policing. Sam brings the modern analytical methods where as Gene bashes heads mainly and relies on his instincts. With a solid set of supporting characters the show has kept me well enteretained.
This DVD is the first of two seasons. The show is now continueing into a sequel called Ashes to Ashes, minus John Simm. And they are also in the works with an American version.
I would recommend this show anyone.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was our second time through. This is a very clever, well-written series. I'm not sure if it would have worked without John Simm as Sam Tyler, who brings just the right... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
All they did was upscale the SD source to HD. May as well have bought the DVD.Published 17 months ago by grif_mcrenolds
There aren't many TV series I'll watch more than once. And even fewer I'll watch 2-3 times. Then there are those I come back to frequently, and this one -- the original UK version... Read morePublished 19 months ago by BeccaM
A great coppers and baddies show! Filled with action and humor! Once you start watching you can't stop !Published 21 months ago by Margaret Thomas
My SO loves Life on Mars. Glad I was able to find series 1 at a decent price.Published 22 months ago by Nick
An excellent show, well acted and with a wonderful premise. Please stream, Amazon!! We deserve to have this on Prime.Published on June 12, 2014 by DsrtRosy
I can't really add more that hasn't already been covered by the other five star reviews, so I'll simply add that this is a fantastic series.Published on December 27, 2013 by GatoRat
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