Pop Culture Zoo
Joseph Dilworth Jr.
November 22, 2009
As the saying goes, “ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby.” While the American version of the popular British drama Life on Mars arguably carried the spirit and flavor, it still never achieved the sublime greatness of the original. Thankfully, Acorn Media now gives the Yanks the chance to experience both eight-episode series of this multi-award winning mind-bender of a program. Series one is already out and series two hits stores on November 24th. We take a look at both sets, courtesy of Acorn Media!
Take a look at the lawman beating up the wrong guy
Series one begins in the year 2006 as DCI (Detective Chief Inspector) Sam Tyler (John Simm), with the Greater Manchester Police, is hot on the case after an elusive murderer. Shortly after a fellow officer goes missing in pursuit of the killer, Sam is hit by a car and falls unconscious. Upon awakening, Sam finds himself in 1973, with no idea of how he got there. Upon returning to the police station, which is the Manchester and Salford Police (predecessor to his police force), he discovers he is newly transferred Detective Inspector (DI) Sam Tyler under the auspices of DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister). The first series explores not only Sam trying to figure out if he’s mad, in a coma or an actual time-traveler, but reconciling the comparatively primitive 1973 policing procedures with the more modern, politically correct 2006 methods. Sam is also afforded the rare opportunity to discover why his father left him and his mother when Sam was young. Sam finds a willing apprentice in Detective Constable Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster), an antagonistic rivalry with Detective Sergeant Ray Carling (Dean Andrews), an unexpected romance with Woman Police Constable Annie Cartwright (Liz White) and an eventual mutually respectful friendship with Hunt.
This first batch of episodes are some of the best written and acted television that’s ever been broadcast and this set from Acorn come loaded with some great bonus features. Here’s a breakdown of what each disc holds:
Overall, the picture and sound quality are on par with the excellence of the series itself. All episodes are presented in uncut 16:9 widescreen with 5.1 surround sound.
Wonder if he’ll ever know he’s in the best-selling show
Without a doubt, Life on Mars lives and dies by the performances of the actors and this show would have never succeeded without John Simm as Sam Tyler and Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt. All the other actors do indeed perform impeccably, however the chemistry between Simm and Glenister is exceptional. This continues into series two. Sam is much more an accepted part of the team now while still trying to integrate modern procedures into his fellow officers’ interrogations and investigations. While this still creates lots of conflict between Sam and Gene, there is an obvious sense of mutual respect as well an understanding when the other’s methods might be most appropriate. The mystery surrounding Sam’s condition continue to deepen leading to an unforgettable finale episode that is still being debated. Eight more amazing episodes cap off a tremendous series and, once again, Acorn provides a terrific set.
It’s the freakiest show
Life on Mars is probably one of the greatest series to have ever appeared on television and is definitely a favorite of many. You will want to pick up both of these fine sets from Acorn Media. You can either get them straight from Acorn, at Amazon.com or at your favorite retailer.