• Network: ABC
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 9, 2008
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    100
    The producers ("Alias" alums Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec) have created a Dickensian (with a nod to L. Frank Baum) universe, draped in shadows, pastels and mystery, while aurally wrapped in chestnuts from the Sweet, Five Man Electrical Band and the Ramones. This new series has enormous promise.
  2. Reviewed by: Teresa Budasi
    88
    The time-travel element puts enough of a twist in it to move it a couple of notches above all the other entries in the fall season, not to mention all the same-old police procedurals clogging the networks.
  3. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    83
    The premise of ABC's Life on Mars is ludicrous but irresistible.
  4. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    80
    Life on Mars offers fine performers, some arresting images, sly satire and a terrific song score.
  5. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    80
    This captures the original series’ vibe nicely.
  6. The script, from Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec and Scott Rosenberg, is true to the spirit of the original and exciting enough to make you swallow the premise and beg for more.
  7. 80
    They've pulled together a vivid cast and evoked the ideal tone - not comedy, not psychodrama, not sci fi, but an intriguingly evasive blend of them all.
  8. The new American version moves a little faster, which may sacrifice some of the subtlety of the original, but overall this first episode is a faithful adaptation.
  9. 80
    This idea--that Sam is experiencing his coma as an “alternate reality” via a TV show--is wickedly clever. It’s a question as to whether Life on Mars can sustain and develop this idea, which is really an investigation of limits.
  10. The premiere episode of Life on Mars, by contrast [to "Kath & Kim"], is strange and exhilarating.
  11. 80
    This vivid series puts an ironic spin on nostalgia.
  12. 80
    O’Mara’s Sam is incredibly engaging, and I’m pleased with how well this Americanization of an already very fine piece of flinty cop nostalgia is going.
  13. Four episodes of Life on Mars have by now aired, each livelier and more confident than the last and--despite its mush of a lead character--justifiably so. That's no small triumph.
  14. Based on a popular BBC series, Life on Mars, like Mad Men, makes a long-ago era feel both alien and nostalgic, like in the sweet moment where Sam wanders into a record store and just beams.
  15. If the ambition of the pilot continues, American television may get another remake right. We'll have our first hint this next week. In the meantime, enjoy the pilot.
  16. 75
    Happily, the American version--a second try, after an original pilot was scrapped--makes mostly wise decisions, starting with trusting the show to O'Mara. He's off to an excellent start, particularly in grounding the story by keeping his reactions rooted in reality.
  17. I'm not wholly convinced by the American Life on Mars.
  18. While I prefer the British Mars, the show's premise is so strong that this decent execution of it is hard not to recommend.
  19. It still has some problems, and may not be able to milk the concept any longer than the Brits did, but the central concept--modern law-enforcement veteran has to deal with a world where forensics science is in its infancy and civil rights are treated as inconveniences at best--is still appealing, and in some ways more so when it's transplanted to the early '70s New York immortalized in cop films like "The French Connection" and "Serpico."
  20. ABC sticks its neck out a bit further with Life on Mars, a pretty good remake of a remarkable series that also appeared on BBC America
  21. Both ABC's Life on Mars and CBS's "Eleventh Hour" have the comfortable feel of many shows that have come before them and lasted a long, long time.
  22. The show raises questions, and fans of the paranormal will find they're kept open in reasonably interesting ways. The problem is that time-travel shows require a level of attention casual TV viewers don't always want to invest.
  23. This is a flabbergasting cast, so far called upon to do not much besides posturing. But my fingers are crossed, and my eyes too.
  24. 50
    Purely as a cop show, Life on Mars is competent but not that compelling, though O’Mara does a fine job as Tyler.
  25. 50
    Despite the prestigious presence of stars such as Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli, Lisa Bonet and Gretchen Mol, Life on Mars, a new ABC crime drama, comes off as naggingly undistinguished.
  26. 50
    Jason O'Mara is enormously appealing as the determined but befuddled Tyler....Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Life on Mars' writers, who seem to have been knocked considerably deeper into history than their character.
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 99 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 55
  2. Negative: 7 out of 55
  1. Feb 8, 2014
    5
    Without the charm of Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt and John Simm as Sam Tyler, the charm of the real series just isn't there. I couldn't makeWithout the charm of Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt and John Simm as Sam Tyler, the charm of the real series just isn't there. I couldn't make it through the first episode, it left me wishing for John Simm. Whether or not theres Life on Mars, theres no Life in this tv series. Full Review »
  2. KieranDevlin
    Dec 11, 2009
    3
    It has the music, at least, but this remake of Life On Mars UK was entirely unnecessary and extremely poor in comparison to the great It has the music, at least, but this remake of Life On Mars UK was entirely unnecessary and extremely poor in comparison to the great original. I don't need to watch more than 10 minutes before hitting a WTF moment, as something not in the original is included. Maybe I haven't watched enough, but it was genuinely awful from what I saw. Full Review »
  3. ChuckT.
    Aug 1, 2009
    8
    This show was great. It definitely wasn't just another cop show. There was a great twist and the mystery behind the plot was refreshing. This show was great. It definitely wasn't just another cop show. There was a great twist and the mystery behind the plot was refreshing. I would have given this a perfect 10, but ABC canned the show for some reason and the last episode (whether ABC's or the writer's fault) was absolutely horrible. It made no sense to the show and ended so wrong. Full Review »