Normally, I'm not a big fan of American remakes of British shows - for every success like The Office, there are one or two failed attempts (like, say, Eleventh Hour or both of the legendary Red Dwarf pilots. However, one show that I was looking forward to was Life on Mars - having never seen the British version (but thanks, pal Brian, for pointing the way), I checked out the new version with some interest.
This is one of my favorite series of the new season (I'll blog about the other one later).
The premise is simple - Sam Tyler (Jason O'Mara), a detective tracking down a killer in 2008, gets hit by a car, and finds himself back in 1973, unsure of how he got there...and wondering how he can get back to his own time. The producers of the new version do something rather clever - instead of presenting 1973 in terms of "real" police work, it's almost as if Sam Tyler has dropped into an "idealized" 1973. There are some knowing glances and ironic foreshadowing, but what really engaged me was a key moment in episode two.
At the beginning of the last episode, Sam Tyler wrote out "theories" about how he travelled to the past (time travel, coma, drug reaction, etc) - in an age where even casual viewers wonder about how plot lines in shows (like Lost) come together, it's great that the writers actually integrate that very early on - that there isn't a sense of being thrown into the water plot-wise and learning to swim. We, much like Sam, are trying to make sense of it all.
Oh, and Harvey Keitel is in the cast. If there's anything this country needs, now more than ever, it's Harvey Keitel on television.
But don't take my word for it - thankfully, I'm able to post the premiere episode for your enjoyment. Once you watch it, I think you'll agree - this is one of the best (if not the best) series on television, bar none. Although there's already some concern about the show, I think that once you see the premiere, you'll want to watch the next episode. And then tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on...
Sorry, I couldn't help that.
Very Highly Recommended