Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Life on Mars (US TV Series) - Wow

I just saw the whole run of Life on Mars - an absolutely awesome, yet doomed, sci-fi TV series. They canceled it after 17 episodes, but with enough time to allow a real finale. So, unlike it's kindred brother "Firefly," the story actually ends.

It's probable that you, no matter who you are, won't be affected in the same way that I am by the awesomeness of this TV show. You need to be equally obsessed with (a) 70s music, (b) 1973, (c) New York City, (d) red-headed boys who look like me (and my sons), (e) and time-travel stories that are also 70s cop shows.

The premise is that our hero is a cop in 2008 who after an accident wakes up as the same person in 1973. He meets his father and mother and other mentors when they are the same age as he was in '08. While the show depicts the drama of his home life, and his attempts to help out his mother and young self, the main greatness of the show comes from the depiction of policing, and NYC, in the early 70s - when cops were sexist, racist, and brutal. And so was the city.

The reason why cop shows were much better in the 70s is because the crime in NYC was insanely high. When Law & Order has a murder a week, they are inflating the crime statistics by like 800% - not so in 1973. Also, the music was so much better. When you see a leather jacketed, mustachioed, long haired cop striding around with a long rifle and snub-nosed pistol, there MUST be a funky bassline with a wa-wa pedal. See here for the visuals.

There's also the struggle the hero has in dealing with communications from the future, and what is possibly an attempt to remove him from life-support and other mysteries. Which makes the drama multi-leveled.

It's written very well and has an amazing cast of some of the best in Hollywood: Gretchen Mol, Michael Imperioli and the incomparable Harvey Keitel.

Naturally, it was canceled. Maybe it's for the best - the quality stayed great for the entire, short, run. Wow.

No comments: