• Network: ABC
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 9, 2008
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 99 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 88 out of 99
  2. Negative: 10 out of 99

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  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 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.
  2. Saralyn.
    Oct 10, 2008
    8
    As a great fan of the original BBC Mars, I admit that I approached the remake with more than a little trepidation. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. While I find O'Mara's Sam less engaging than in the original series and the set-up of his relationship with Maya painfully and unnecessarily abridged, I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode! It was faithful to the original As a great fan of the original BBC Mars, I admit that I approached the remake with more than a little trepidation. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. While I find O'Mara's Sam less engaging than in the original series and the set-up of his relationship with Maya painfully and unnecessarily abridged, I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode! It was faithful to the original while introducing some interesting twists and adaptations. I look forward to seeing how differently the idea plays out in '73 New York than it did in '70s England! Expand
  3. timm
    Apr 3, 2009
    10
    This was a fantastic way to make a series of one season. I believe that this is a new-wa and exciting way to make a series. The beginning was or fantastic the plot was captivating.
  4. 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. 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.
  5. MarlaM.
    Oct 9, 2008
    10
    the previews look really good. I like the cast and the backdrop. it's going to be a good show.
  6. ArtH
    Jan 10, 2009
    9
    Life On Mars is very good detective show with a science-fiction twist. I find it inteligent and entertaining.
  7. CharleneC
    Feb 20, 2009
    10
    I love this show! Finally I feel entertained by quality acting and a storyline that is not insulting to the intelligence of it's viewers. I hope it stays a quality program and that it gets the audience it needs to keep it going.
  8. DianneK
    Oct 10, 2008
    8
    Loved everything about the show -- the actors, the scenery, the song track, the premise. Since I never saw the BBC version I'm coming to the show without expectations, and I'm very happy.
  9. GioR.
    Nov 1, 2008
    9
    Loving the show, loving the music. I watched the first 4 episodes on the web tonight and am totally hooked. I was reluctant to add a new show to the long list I already watch, but after viewing it tonight, I can't resist. It's been added to the DVR!
  10. VincentS.
    Oct 10, 2008
    2
    Very disappointing. If this is the stuff that the average critic is finding good %73 as I write this. Then maybe it goes some way to explaining why TV generally seems to be a wasteland these days. To be honest I found it hard to watch. Actors had been chosen for their semblance to the original UK series and not for their acting ability. Most of the time it felt like they were reading from Very disappointing. If this is the stuff that the average critic is finding good %73 as I write this. Then maybe it goes some way to explaining why TV generally seems to be a wasteland these days. To be honest I found it hard to watch. Actors had been chosen for their semblance to the original UK series and not for their acting ability. Most of the time it felt like they were reading from a script. Once again the US has (for some reason best known to itself) tried to copy a series that already existed instead of just showing the original. One again the US has totally failed to pull it off. Nevertheless there are worse things on TV than this, so I give it a 2. Collapse
  11. EricP.
    Nov 20, 2008
    10
    I'm too young to have been there in the 70's. I've heard from people that this show is very close to how it was.
  12. RichardS.
    Oct 12, 2008
    8
    Not quite the punch as BBCA LOM, but still very good. They need to not overdo Imperioli's goofy metaphors and maybe just a single throwback to the twin towers would have been more powerful. Keitel is good, but a bit aged to play Gene Hunt, but maybe "time will tell." Sorry for that.
  13. LisaD
    Nov 6, 2008
    9
    I'm so excited for Thursday nights now. This is the first show that i've been interested in in a long time. Harvey Keitel and Michael Imperioli MAKE the show!
  14. CraigB.
    Oct 10, 2008
    9
    I loved the Brit version. I like the British Annie better but the casting of Harvey Kietel and Michael Imperioli is fabulous. Can't wait for more episodes. The biggest problem I see is that the time slot is very competitive and it may lose out to the other shows.
  15. GabrielF.
    Oct 9, 2008
    9
    You have to accept that the Tyler is (i think) in a coma--the show rocks. It's funny and Imperiola's facial hair alone is worth coming back for more! The Details!!!!
  16. DarenL
    Feb 19, 2009
    8
    Good show overall, not accurate on the soundtrack though, some songs weren't released until 75 or later. Realism is a must to get into the show.
  17. BryanB
    Apr 9, 2009
    10
    It took some time in the beginning to hit stride, but the series eventually found its niche and was incredibly strong the second half of the season. Great cast and visuals throughout. The nuanced and multifaceted Sam/Annie love story was the best of the season and one of the strongest in television history, and the surprise twist at the end of the series tied everything together well. The It took some time in the beginning to hit stride, but the series eventually found its niche and was incredibly strong the second half of the season. Great cast and visuals throughout. The nuanced and multifaceted Sam/Annie love story was the best of the season and one of the strongest in television history, and the surprise twist at the end of the series tied everything together well. The series will be missed. Expand
  18. NathanK.
    Oct 11, 2008
    8
    Provided a solid feel of the time period very enjoyable show to watch.
  19. GlennH.
    Oct 10, 2008
    8
    Great cast. Something a little different.
  20. YvonneC.
    Oct 13, 2008
    10
    Great Show. The cast has great chemistry. I was worried because I already saw the British version but this one is just as good. Love seeing New York again like it was in 1973-Kudos to the prop people!
  21. DonnaT.
    Oct 13, 2008
    10
    Loved the acting, script and music.
  22. nickb.
    Oct 14, 2008
    1
    What a waste!!! You have two fabulous actors in Keitel and Imperoli. One is provided with embarassing.one liners that totally diminish his reputition as an exemplary actor, then "misdirect" an equally prolific actor. The writers should respect Imperoli's abilities by not making him look like a "goof", and a major star like Keitel certainly deserves better direction!
  23. Sean
    Oct 15, 2008
    6
    Not as bad as I thought it would have been. My issue is more that there seems to be chemistry missing between the characters. I was also disappointed in that they used the same plot for the first episode, I was hoping for a different crime or similar. If you're going to almost directly lift the script from the BBC series, you might as well just air the BBC series. What I did like, Not as bad as I thought it would have been. My issue is more that there seems to be chemistry missing between the characters. I was also disappointed in that they used the same plot for the first episode, I was hoping for a different crime or similar. If you're going to almost directly lift the script from the BBC series, you might as well just air the BBC series. What I did like, however was Sam dealing with the future serial killer as a kid. Expand
  24. AndrewF
    Oct 17, 2008
    9
    I haven't seen the BBC version, so I'll wait until after the first season of the US one to compare and judge. And I'll admit, my first thought when I saw previews was "another time travel show? great." But I'm hooked after 2 episodes. While Keitel as Hunt may not work out in the end (Colm Meaney supposedly was axed after the first pilot, which is too bad...I'd I haven't seen the BBC version, so I'll wait until after the first season of the US one to compare and judge. And I'll admit, my first thought when I saw previews was "another time travel show? great." But I'm hooked after 2 episodes. While Keitel as Hunt may not work out in the end (Colm Meaney supposedly was axed after the first pilot, which is too bad...I'd like to see him do the NYC Irish cop thing), I can believe and like him, as well as the rest of the cast. O'Mara? Between him and Dominic West, some of my favorite TV police are Brits/Irish, and I can't tell. Good on them. What locks me in is the setting, both visual and audio. The soundtrack works some timelsss hits into the show in subtle ways. But the visual, wow. When Tyler looks up and sees the WTC towers, I could viscerally feel the "no way" that passed his lips on screen. As someone who watched them fall, maybe that's just a bit of wistful nostalgia. But the rest of the scene, from the cars to the people on the street to the smallest detail doesn't so much dwell on minutiae as it does create a stage for the characters to work on. I can forgive an anachronism here and there, and I'm sure I'll have to. But the atmospheric quality of how the show puts the characters in 1973 works best in how it doesn't go out of the way to scream at you, but exists on a finely ground layer of the show, only jumping out when absolutely necessary. I hate Lost. Sci-Fi/Drama crossovers generally lose me very quickly. But this one I think I can grow to like if the writers can keep the questions about Tyler's predicament to a minimum while still giving him (and us) some hope, but the way the show is being framed, he can take his time getting back to 2008. Expand
  25. DavidS.
    Dec 2, 2008
    1
    It's already been done, and done better. The british Life on Mars was the dog's bollocks. This is just plain bollocks.
  26. KathryneA.
    Dec 28, 2008
    10
    Absolutely one of the best TV shows put forth in years. As one of the critics so perceptively insinuated, several distinct movie genres are rolled into one to carry out this uniquely successful time-travel/cop show concept. I am an active 56 woman well able to keep up in this 21st Century techno world. I believe I have almost forgotten the days of civil rights marches and intense female Absolutely one of the best TV shows put forth in years. As one of the critics so perceptively insinuated, several distinct movie genres are rolled into one to carry out this uniquely successful time-travel/cop show concept. I am an active 56 woman well able to keep up in this 21st Century techno world. I believe I have almost forgotten the days of civil rights marches and intense female subjection. Every episode of 'Life on Mars' extended me a ticket on the time travel continuum between the 70's and present, and because I have already been there the journey is very personal and real. Just as real as the present. Jason O'Mara's acting, especially, is inspired. Expand
  27. JeffR
    Oct 24, 2008
    10
    Did you notice ON 10/23 When they were in the alleyin between houses and the kid was smokingthe house had cable wires hooked up going into the house. this is supposed to be 1973
  28. JulieF.
    Oct 24, 2008
    9
    I absolutely love this show. I can't wait until the next week! It's the best new show so far.
  29. RayS.
    Oct 25, 2008
    10
    I thought i was done with tv, No interest in judging dancers , talent , or music, then Life on Mars came along and I'm hooked . Its nice to see how far we have come in society today since 1973, Great show.
  30. MaryAnnS.
    Oct 26, 2008
    10
    I enjoy the show and the cast immensely! But mostly I find the soundtrack irresistible!!!
  31. DebbieH
    Oct 27, 2008
    9
    I graduated high school in 1973, so I think it's pretty interesting to revisit that time period. I don't think of this as time travel, but rather his mind has gone to 1973 while in a coma. The premise is not that believeable, but they are spot on with the ways things were back then.
  32. LucyG.
    Dec 7, 2008
    9
    Actors and characters are outstanding.
  33. JoyceT.
    Oct 28, 2008
    10
    Love it! Jason is adorable! Don't cae for Harvey much but maybe that's the way he supposed to act in this show.
  34. MattK.
    Oct 30, 2008
    9
    The October 30 episode sealed the deal for me. The plot line and the character development are getting real legs, and shows true promise (if the directors will let these fine actors loose to practice their trade). I graduated from HS in 1970, so the music evokes a lot of memories as well, and with the grainy quality of the video the total makes the period quality quite believable.
  35. BrandelineA.
    Oct 9, 2008
    2
    What TV show were the critics watching? The original Life on Mars had actors who could actually act, chemistry, and style. This one just makes me want to avert my eyes. They tried to imitate the BBC version, but proved they didn't know what actually made the series a hit in the first place with their copy.
  36. JeanW
    Jan 3, 2009
    9
    I love this show; time travel is one of the oldest sci-fi premises and one of the most intriguing. It's interesting to think how one could change the future if one could change the past...
  37. EttaA.
    Feb 5, 2009
    9
    I loved the original, but ABC has done a wonderful job. I love Jason O'Mara and Mr. Kietel
  38. MikeD
    Mar 13, 2009
    10
    Love this show. Great music, entertaining episodes, great cast. Heard it won't be coming back for a second season and I'm very disappointed.
  39. [Anonymous]
    Mar 29, 2009
    9
    One of the best shows in the current season, so why oh why was it canceled?
  40. monac
    Apr 6, 2009
    10
    The three best shows I have seen in the past several years are Life on Mars, Mad Men, and True Blood. It's a crying shame that Life on Mars has been cancelled. That said, the finale was extremely well done. I kept waiting for the writers to lapse into psychobabble or present an ending that was poorly thought out or broke the basic rules of storytelling -- but they didn't. It The three best shows I have seen in the past several years are Life on Mars, Mad Men, and True Blood. It's a crying shame that Life on Mars has been cancelled. That said, the finale was extremely well done. I kept waiting for the writers to lapse into psychobabble or present an ending that was poorly thought out or broke the basic rules of storytelling -- but they didn't. It worked very well. And it made a chump out of me, because I'd been watching for it like a hawk and still didn't manage to predict it, with all the hints right there in plain sight. Bravo! Expand
  41. VickyH
    Apr 7, 2009
    10
    This show is and was amazing! Too bad they cancelled it.
  42. TonyG.
    Oct 11, 2008
    0
    When a police detective can't figure out he's in 1973 after all the clues (newspapers, signs, people, even the WTC) and still calls the 'operator' to connect him to a cell phone after walking into his old police precinct and wondering what happened to his desk, you have to figure the writers don't have much of a story to tell. Maybe they should import the original When a police detective can't figure out he's in 1973 after all the clues (newspapers, signs, people, even the WTC) and still calls the 'operator' to connect him to a cell phone after walking into his old police precinct and wondering what happened to his desk, you have to figure the writers don't have much of a story to tell. Maybe they should import the original instead of remaking it. Expand
  43. RogerV.
    Nov 11, 2008
    10
    Damn near the only thing I watch regularly on TV anymore. Hoping for a full season, if not more.
  44. FrazierF
    Nov 2, 2008
    10
    Love love love this show...it's been a long time since I have rewound my TVO to watch a scene from a TV show for a second time...by far the best show of the season. Oh and the music is a huge bonus.
  45. RobB.
    Nov 23, 2008
    10
    A week is too long between episodes. LOM captures the fun of a TV Cop show, and then intricately intertwines character depth, emotional stories, and an element of the supernatural flawlessly.
  46. TerryW.
    Oct 16, 2008
    0
    Weakly executed rehash of the superb BBC original. ABC's answer to "deepen the mystery" is to add alien robots? How sad and pathetic. And sorry, but Harvey Keitel is just to old to portray Gene Hunt convincingly. We'll see if this thing even lasts one season.
  47. KathleenE.
    Nov 7, 2008
    10
    I absolutely love this show...the interaction between the attitudes of the 70's and the present are wonderful. I am turning into a huge fan of Sam Tyler and te Loo.
  48. JasonM.
    Nov 9, 2008
    8
    This is a good show. The elements of an old school cop show are very good. I do wish they would do more with Michael Imperioli. It seems all his character does is complain. I do question whether things were as insensitive as they are portrayed.
  49. Roberta
    Oct 23, 2008
    9
    great twist, compelling. Hate cop shows but this grabbed my attention. Love the look back, it was fasinating to recall how far we have come in style, technology and humane behavior in such a short time. Try to keep this one.
  50. MeganC.
    Oct 31, 2008
    10
    Great show, great cast, great story line! I really look forward to this show each week and it doesn't hurt that the lead, Sam, is gorgeous! Worth watching!
  51. 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 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.
  52. BillN
    Jan 22, 2009
    9
    I was a huge fan of the British version and had a lot of questions as to whether the US could really adapt it. But they are doing great. Of course they may have assembled one of the best casts in television drama history and it is paying off. A premise that easily could have been handled wrong has kept close to the original conept of the the Brits. Focus on the new guy and his boss and I was a huge fan of the British version and had a lot of questions as to whether the US could really adapt it. But they are doing great. Of course they may have assembled one of the best casts in television drama history and it is paying off. A premise that easily could have been handled wrong has kept close to the original conept of the the Brits. Focus on the new guy and his boss and their extreme differences as the young gun brings in modern techniques. THe otehr great thing they have continued from the original is the use of music. Many great classics and a few more obscure "B" tracks make you believe that it really is NYC in the 70's. Hopefully ABC will put out a soundtrack album. Expand
  53. JamesW.
    Nov 21, 2008
    10
    Best new show of the year! I watched the Season Premiere and was instantly hooked.
  54. JimM.
    Nov 22, 2008
    10
    Engaging, entertaining broadcast television, what a concept! Outstanding. Only HBO's John Adams held my attention better. Dense, well acted, thinking television. Maybe too well done for an old-media lowest common denominator US broadcast audience. Unqualified A+ from this non-broadcast television watcher (I gave up long ago.) If major networks make more series this good they just Engaging, entertaining broadcast television, what a concept! Outstanding. Only HBO's John Adams held my attention better. Dense, well acted, thinking television. Maybe too well done for an old-media lowest common denominator US broadcast audience. Unqualified A+ from this non-broadcast television watcher (I gave up long ago.) If major networks make more series this good they just might survive. Or at least get my eyes/business again. Expand
  55. KretzM.
    Nov 22, 2008
    9
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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    83
    The premise of ABC's Life on Mars is ludicrous but irresistible.