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Life On Mars : Complete BBC Series 1 [2006] - 14.98

How would the modern face of policing cope in the land of The Sweeney? That's the question posed by Life on Mars, as DI Sam Tyler (John Simm) a modern cop transported back to 1973 after a nasty car accident. There, he finds himself dealing with the significantly rougher attitudes and behaviours of "old-school" British policing, as exemplified by his new boss, DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister). It's a fish-out-of-water story, as Tyler attempts to teach his new colleagues some very modern methods, while attempting to get used to sheepskin jackets, wide lapels and man-made fibres.

This first series of the hugely successful BBC programme sets the scene and introduces the characters that make up Tyler's new world, but stumbles a bit by trying too hard to explain exactly how he got there (the "coma" subplot just gets in the way). Life on Mars is at its best when Glenister is on screen--he's bigoted, chauvinistic and aggressive, and goes through each episode alternately bellowing or scowling. But he's a product of his times, and in his heart, all he wants is to catch the bad guys. For Tyler, it's all about the means, while for Hunt it's all about the ends. They may not like each other much, but their on-screen chemistry is undeniable, and just one of the things that make this excellent series so watchable. --Ted Kord

Customer reviews (av rating: 5.0):

Rating: 5:
If I was DI Tyler, I'd want to stay in 1973 : "Life on Mars" is one of those modern day rarities; a TV series that is actually quite good.For the most part this series is set in 1973 in a Manchester CID office. Time travelling(?)cop DI Sam Tyler has just blew in from 2006 and immediately tries to set to rights the strange new world he now inhabits. We never know whether Tyler is a time traveller or whether he is having a vivid,surreal dream whilst deep in a coma. Tyler's 21st Century policing methods are at odds with those of DCI Gene Hunt, his boss, a memorable character with a neat repertoire of one liners and a somewhat "old fashioned" approach to law enforcement. Politially correct he most certainly isn't. All of the other characters in the series are convincing and engaging ones and the scripts ,dialogues and plots of each episode are all excellent.There is great on screen chemistry between all of the main characters. Also the 1973 environment is created well with a lot of attention to detail including some fantastic retro cars. Recommended viewing.

Rating: 5:
Life on Mars! : I only saw one episode of this series when it was on TV, and my parents sad I woudn't understant everything cus I wasn't born in the 70s. But I loved it! It was better than I thought it was going to be! With John Simm's performance as it's crowning glory, "Life On Mars" is a must-see and my favourite cop show ever!

Rating: 5:
Sheer Brilliance... : I never caught this series on BBC1 when it first aired, but having read the reviews of people on here, decided I would buy the first series and take a look at it myself, and see what all the fuss was about.

Having watched almost the whole first series in its entirity, (I am six episodes in) on the sheer basis of the first six episodes alone, I give it five stars. John Simm is proving to be an excellent actor, certainly he plays DI Sam Tyler with the right mixture of confusion, vulnerability, sadness and determination that makes him instantly likeable.

The premise is quite simple. DI Tyler is involved in a horrific car crash, and wakes up in 1973 - the time when man made fibres were the order of the day, Ford Cortinas were hot, and when Mobile Phones were possibly "forgein numbers" and the world was still to be introduced to the concept of a TV in a bar. Tyler is left to unravel the mystery of what is happening to him - is this all a dream? a product of his mind, brought on by the coma from his accident? Is he going mad, or is 2006 a figment of his imagination and 1973 is reality?

It's powerful, gripping television and I watched the first six episodes back to back. Sam is an engaging character, a lost man trying to make sense of the world he is in, and get to grips with brutal methods of policing. Reading a suspect his rights "doesn't go like that" there weren't tape recorders used back then, and Sam finds himself regularly haunted by the girl off the TV test card.

Sam also clashes on a regular basis with the hardline methods of his superior "Gene" played by Phillip Glennister. Glennister ignites the screen in every scene he's in, and though the two rarely see eye to eye, together their screen presence is commanding and an absolute joy to watch.

There's chemistry too between Sam and WPC Annie, which develops over the course of the six episodes i've seen so far, and I look forward to seeing what happens next. Unfortunately, being made aware of the ending in the second series before I have even finished watching series one (I didn't read the spoilers on here) does slightly detract from me enjoying the series, but performances all round are so engaging, its hard to resist.

It could have gone terribly wrong. For so many reasons it should have never worked, but John Simm plays his role so well, he makes it believable, and crucially, makes it work. He conveys the right amount of bewilderment, frustration, determination and anguish to make you care, and make you really believe he is trapped in 1973. Had anyone played the role with less enthusiasm, it could have been a very different story for Life On Mars. Just as importantly, the show manages to blend in enough humour to keep you laughing as well, which I feel is important to the story as it could have become very gloomy, downtrodden and overtly gritty. This adds to the overall charm of the show, and I think is another reason why it became such a smash hit.

If you have never seen this, and are a fan of cop shows - and the paranormal, and anything just plain odd - buy this! I can't recommend it highly enough and will definitely get series 2! I only wish I had brought them together, because now I have to wait for series 2 to arrive through the post!

Rating: 4:
Intelligent and entertaining drama 4+ stars : It is very easy to spot the influences for this excellent series. Aside from the obvious such as The Sweeney and all copland shows of the seventies, and indeed films like "Get Carter" Starring Michael Caine. But for me it bore hallmarks of Dennis Potter. And where it lacks the gravitas of the multilayered and slightly screwed up brilliance of Potter - it brings an interesting concept to the mainstream.

I missed it on the tv so bought the DVD. And found it to be really high quality drama. Far outweighing the fluffier "Hustle" and "Spooks" which are made by the same group. It is really worth buying, because though flawed, it is thought provoking and well made. There are also steller performances from the cast - of which the most plum role is 'Gene' (playged by Phillip Glennister). John Simm with the more subtle leading role delivers a complexity of emotions with devastating ease.

As a bonus the extras on the DVD are also very good too.

It's well worth viewing and reviewing. It really is that good!

Rating: 5:
life on mars part 1 : so funny just one of the best thats ever been on tv. we need more like this and not more of the rubbish that is always on our tv. looking forward to the ash's 2 ash's when it comes on.

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