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ABC Cancels Life on Mars


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ABC has decided to end "Life on Mars" after a single year -- but in an unusual move, the network will keep the show on the air through the end of its full run, reports Variety.

 

That will give the series a rare opportunity to sign off with a proper finale, wrapping up the series' core mystery.

 

Network insiders said they were fans of the show and pleased with its creative chops -- but that the ratings ultimately didn't warrant a second season. The most recent episode of "Life on Mars" averaged just a 2.0 rating/5 share among adults 18-49, as well as 5.5 million viewers.

 

Five more episodes of "Life on Mars" remain out of the series' 17-episode order. As previously announced, the show's Wednesday 10 p.m. slot will go to newcomer "The Unusuals" in April.

 

"Life on Mars" stars Jason O'Mara, Gretchen Mol, Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli and Jonathan Murphy.

Source: http://www.variety.com/article/VR111800074...yid=14&cs=1

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Too bad.

I've been following the show, even saw a lot of the original Brit series which it is directly based on.

I really like Jason O'Mara, Harvey Kietel is awesome, and Imperioli is a complete gas.

The concept is pretty cool. Occasionally they hit on the stuff that could really make this show great.

Unfortunately it isn't so strong from week to week.

Still, I dig the show.

 

The concept is something I can't see having unlimited potential, but a 3 year series run could have been interesting.

I'm glad at least that it's getting the Journeyman treatment and the writers have a good opportunity to wrap it up in style.

 

Shit, I just mentioned Journeyman. I'm still angry the network and the viewers didn't get behind that show.

McKidd was AWESOME, the writing got better and better, they finally found their legs mid season only to get dumped on their arse.

 

Fairly unforgiving medium.

 

- TB

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I'm a fan of the original series, and I was digging this remake (Imperioli's mustache rules all). Funny thing is, I think it's lasted just about as long as both of the original series' combined. Hopefully they can find a decent way to wrap it up, I know they aren't going to end like the British series so I'm eagerly waiting.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest AdminGuyX

I guarantee you if they'd of held on to the show until Leno takes over the 10pm slot on NBC, EVERYONE would be watching this over Leno. The ratings would skyrocket.

 

I'm a lost fan, so it's nice to be able to just flow from one weird show right into another weird show. And lost is friggin' super weird this season too.

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Well, at least we still have quality shows like The Bachelor and Supernanny. :huh:

 

Yeah, I did not see that ending coming.

 

All I care about is that the ending is satisfying and hopefully different than the UK version.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have to gestate with it for a little bit, but it's pretty big 180 from the original shows ending.

 

Edit: Thought about it for a while, don't like it.

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LifeonMars.jpg

Jason O'Mara as Sam Tyler

 

Josh Appelbaum and Scott Rosenberg—executive producers of ABC's recently canceled time-jumping series Life on Mars—offered SCI FI Wire a few exclusive thoughts on how the show will end its run on Wednesday with the series finale, "Life Is a Rock," at 10 p.m. ET/PT. (Spoilers ahead!)

 

The producers also ruminated on why the show failed to find a larger audience, the differences between their version and the original BBC show on which it's based and the new pilot they're filming in Toronto right now. Following is an edited version of our exclusive interview with Appelbaum and Rosenberg.

 

I know a lot of people are upset that Life on Mars is airing the series finale. When did you guys find out about the cancellation?

Appelbaum: We had two endings [for the first season]. We had an ending for the series finale and the season finale in mind, and we asked if we could shoot both. And that would give us a little more time, and you can see a couple more air dates and how the ratings were. But we really got a sense that things were looking grim. So we said, "What do you think?" Because we had done this show called October Road prior, and it got canceled before we could wrap up some pertinent questions. And we didn't want to have that happen again. So we asked, and word came back that "We have good news and bad news. The good news is they will let you shoot a series finale. The bad news is they will only let you shoot a series finale." So it was quietly devastating.

 

Tell us about the final episode ...

Rosenberg: Basically, this episode was always going to be the season finale, so we just switched things up towards the end. But we always wanted it to culminate with him and his parents. ... Amongst our favorite things that we did was always with his father and his mother. Every time we went to that well, it really worked for us. You'll realize when you see it Wednesday night at 11:00, you'll see that the whole theme of the entire 17 hours was all leading up to this. It was all about what we deal with in episode 17.

 

Of course, you guys knew what the ending was in the original BBC series Life on Mars. And you had to make a decision about whether or not to do the same thing. Is this the same ending you originally planned?

Rosenberg: Different ending than the BBC ending, for sure. But we did know from the first week that the writing staff was assembled, and we were all sitting around trying to figure out "Where is this going?" We kind of came up with a notion of where we wanted to end it. ... When you see the ending in this, whether you love it or hate it—and I'm sure some people are going to love it and some people are going to hate it, as they do with series finales—it's very honest. Meaning we've been laying in clues, building up to what this ending is for the past 17 hours. For sure.

 

Knowing the ending to the BBC series, which is very sad, I have to ask this: Do you think American audiences can take the same sort of ending as British audiences?

Rosenberg: I think that they probably ... I don't know. ... That's a really good question. I mean, who knows? They certainly didn't take the series. That thing was a huge hit there, and, God knows, ours wasn't. Who knows what they could or couldn't take? We'll never know, because ours is so different from theirs. It really is. It's not that we were worried about what they could or couldn't take. It's just that we had planned to be on for years and years. And anybody with Wikipedia could go look up Life on Mars BBC and find out what the ending is. You know? So we always said from the beginning that we had to do something different. And we just followed the pattern. We never did anything that we couldn't explain in the wrap-up. We never diverged.

 

The BBC did a spinoff called Ashes to Ashes. Did you ever have any plans to do that as well?

Rosenberg: In our dream world, if this had been big hit, it would have been fun to have spun it off, if the original creators were interested. In this world, now, ... they don't do many spinoffs of failed TV shows [laughs].

Well, you certainly have some loyal fans. There were petitions, etc. How gratifying was that?

Rosenberg: It was great. We always say that. We've done these two shows, which have had an incredibly loyal fan base. Which is so amazing. But at the same time, it would be nice just to have a hit [laughs].

 

What do you think it was? The hiatus?

Rosenberg: The hiatus didn't help. I think, at the end of the day, it was the wrong show for the wrong network. A little bit of not enough science fiction for the science fiction people, not enough of a cop show for the cop-show people. The bottom line about the show was that it was like nothing else on television. It was so uniquely original, and those things usually have to be given time. In this world that we live in now, there is very much a box-office mentality to television now. If you don't come up with huge numbers from the gate, you don't last too long.

 

Appelbaum: It's also, and this is a more pedestrian answer, but the title is a tricky one as well. The title and how it reflects on what the show is. I mean, you see that title come up on your TiVo, and you think, is it a Discovery Channel documentary? A flat-out science fiction show? A space-station show? So it might have confused audiences as to what we were offering.

 

Rosenberg: That's why our new show is called Pizza and Girls! [laughs]

 

Appelbaum: You'll know exactly what you're getting when you tune in [laughs].

 

So what do you guys have coming up next?

Rosenberg: We're actually in Toronto right now, shooting a two-hour pilot for ABC called Happy Town.

 

What's that about?

Rosenberg: : It's very much Twin Peaks. It's a scary show. Small town, mall town. Scary show. We're more than halfway done with it, and it's amazing.

Any cast you can let us know about?

Rosenberg: It's a humongous cast. There's Jeff Stultz, who was in our show October Road, Amy Acker. ... Who else is in the show? Dean Winters, who played the dad in . ... Robert Wisdom from The Wire. ... Francis Connelly from Six Feet Under. It's an amazing cast.

Source: http://scifiwire.com/2009/03/the-producers-tease-wedne.php

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I DID like it! It made the color filter they used through the entire series make perfect sense. In hindsight the ending is really obvious and satisfying, at least for me. I really liked the show. Gonna miss it, though I'm looking forward to SOUTHLAND.

 

 

I have to gestate with it for a little bit, but it's pretty big 180 from the original shows ending.

 

Edit: Thought about it for a while, don't like it.

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Guest AdminGuyX

It's a rushed and tacked on ending. It's a pretty terrible way to end a pretty great show IMHO. I have to admit that if this was the ending they were planning all along I am glad I didn't stick with this show for 4 or 5 seasons.

 

I understand wanting to do something different the BBC. I never cared for the BBC ending either, but at least the BBC ending was based on emotion and character. This ending really bowled over character, threw it out the window, and said "lets explain that TITLE. Lets have the title of the show make sense."

 

Which sucked, but after reading some of the comments above I can see that the title was an issue for these guys.

 

Personally I always liked the abstract name for the show. It's a catchy title that I always liked. I certainly never needed it to be a literal thing like this.

 

:blink:

 

 

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Yeah, but when you have to wrap things up in a hurry coming up with something satisfying and unique is a problem. I didn't LOVE it, but liked it better than The Sopranos or Seinfeld finales, that's for sure.

 

It's a rushed and tacked on ending. It's a pretty terrible way to end a pretty great show IMHO. I have to admit that if this was the ending they were planning all along I am glad I didn't stick with this show for 4 or 5 seasons.

 

I understand wanting to do something different the BBC. I never cared for the BBC ending either, but at least the BBC ending was based on emotion and character. This ending really bowled over character, threw it out the window, and said "lets explain that TITLE. Lets have the title of the show make sense."

 

Which sucked, but after reading some of the comments above I can see that the title was an issue for these guys.

 

Personally I always liked the abstract name for the show. It's a catchy title that I always liked. I certainly never needed it to be a literal thing like this.

 

:blink:

 

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Guest AdminGuyX

I agree, it was better than even The Shield series finale, which was a total non-ending for me.

 

And when I say it was rushed and tacked on, obviously they had to do it that way and probably didn't have much of a production budget for the ending to boot. I would hope in the context of a longer run they could make the concept of this ending work better as a part of this story they were telling.

 

There is more I want to say, but I'll hold off until Tim sees it.

 

I'm going to miss the show too. I had begun really looking forward to it.

 

I'll give The unusuals a shot, and southland does look good too.

 

 

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I guess we should be happy it at least HAD an ending, unlike one of my favorite abruptly canceled shows, Nowhere Man. Now THAT pissed me off! LOL

 

Looking forward to The Unusuals, also.

 

 

I agree, it was better than even The Shield series finale, which was a total non-ending for me.

 

And when I say it was rushed and tacked on, obviously they had to do it that way and probably didn't have much of a production budget for the ending to boot. I would hope in the context of a longer run they could make the concept of this ending work better as a part of this story they were telling.

 

There is more I want to say, but I'll hold off until Tim sees it.

 

I'm going to miss the show too. I had begun really looking forward to it.

 

I'll give The unusuals a shot, and southland does look good too.

 

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Americans love the BBC. We love them so much that we keep taking their shows and remaking them. Opinions vary, though, about how much we mess them up—as with the American remake of the BBC show Life on Mars, which just wrapped up on April Fools Day.

 

After a full season of staying relatively close to the source material, the ending seemed to come out of left field. Producer Josh Rosenberg had previously addressed the difficulties of delivering a big surprise ending for a series based on a well-respected BBC show that already had its own, different twist ending. "Anybody with Wikipedia could go look up Life on Mars BBC and find out what the ending is," he said. "So we always said from the beginning that we had to do something different."

 

If you didn't watch, here's the gist of what you missed Wednesday night.

 

[beware: Spoilers ahead!]

 

• A mysterious caller gives Sam a series of three tasks that will finally take him home. First he has to save himself. (Child Sam has been kidnapped by Vic.) Second task? Duck. (Someone is shooting him. Hardly a task worthy of a quest to go home.) And last ... well, Sam doesn't care what that is.

 

• Then he gets dizzy and wakes up with a tiny robot (aha!) running all over his face. A pod opens over his head and ...

 

• The whole thing has been a computer-induced dream.

 

• Sam, and everyone else he knows in 1973, are astronauts. They are on a mission to Mars in 2035 that has taken two years.

 

• The computer, who is Windy (Tanya Fischer), by the way, has programmed them to dream a scenario during the trip.

 

• Sam had asked to be a cop in 2008, but because of some glitch, he ended up in 1973. As he wakes up in the spaceship, he looks around and sees everyone he knows.

 

Is anyone else hearing Wizard of Oz quotes in their head right now? "And you were there, and you were ..." No surprise. They make references to that throughout the episode. All the names, numbers (Hyde is on his jacket, and it's the name of the mission) are from 2035.

 

• Annie is there in a godawful brown wig, and so is Ray without the facial hair. He, of course, got himself programmed to dream about being on a desert island with two women, where none of the other men had penises.

 

• They are told that President Obama wanted to be there with him for this historic occasion, but her father was sick (ah, the twists and turns), and she wishes them well.

 

• And when Gene (Major Tom) wakes up, we realize that this is Sam's real dad, and they make up.

 

It's almost as if someone heard about the BBC and the basic premise. Guy gets shot in modern times and wakes up in 1973. Is he in a coma? Is he dead? Did he actually travel back? Hmmm ... It's called Life on Mars. You know what would be really cool? If they really were on Mars. Yeah, that's the ticket. It was all a dream.

 

After the 17 hours we've invested in these characters, this all we get? There was never any conspiracy? No one was really corrupt? There was never any redemption? Annie was never finally promoted to detective after all her work to be accepted?

 

The BBC version was so much more satisfying because we actually got to see what happened to everyone. The stories were resolved. Sam waking from a coma, taking a leap off the hospital roof when he realizes that he doesn't belong in the modern world and ending up back in 1973, open to interpretation as that might have been, at least gives us an idea of where everyone was. But really? They're actually on Mars?

 

While that revelation could be considered somewhat clever as a shock ending, it's a shock of entirely the wrong kind. Because with this series finale, the writers basically told us that the entire season had been a complete waste of our time and none of it mattered.

 

The prevailing opinion around the net is that the creators should have stuck with what worked the first time. Brad Trechak from TV Squad wrote, "the ending of the British series was hands-down better." Alan Sepinwall from the Star Ledger was even more blunt. "I wasn't expecting a rehash of the original finale (though, based on the reaction this morning of several disgruntled Life on Mars USA fans whom I told about the old ending, they might have been better off copying it wholesale). But I also wasn't expecting anything as dumb and/or as insulting to the viewer as the ending we got."

 

As SF writer Paul Levinson points out, "the 'everything was just a dream' resolution, even when Sam is dreaming on a mission to Mars way in the future, is one of the tritest gambits in fiction and science fiction."

 

It had to be a huge challenge to wrap up such a nuanced show in a single episode, but after all we invested in these characters throughout a season of really good storytelling, to wrap it up in a happy little package that erases all that happened before makes us wonder why we even bothered.

Source: http://scifiwire.com/2009/04/how-life-on-mars-lost-its.php

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