Friday, October 10, 2008

American Life on Mars Review

God knows I am proud to be an American but sometimes we suck at things. Yes I can admit, we aren't always #1, for example remaking British tv series. The American Version of the Office is unwatchable to me, American version of Coupling didn't even last 5 episodes it was so bad, and there are many other examples... So, with much hesitation I watched the American Version of Life on Mars last night.

Let me preface this by saying I love Life on Mars (UK) and especially Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt...LOVE my Gene Hunt!!! So seeing Harvey Keitel as Gene Hunt in the commercials was painful. Originally they had Colm Meaney cast as Gene and I screamed NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! But now that I've watched this, I do think he would have been better than Harvey. No offense Mr. Keitel-you just aren't Gene Genie!

So, much to my suprise and delight the American version was really good! I am sure it is going to be a big hit. It is very much like the UK version and that is a good thing. There were a few things that 'bothered' me but if you haven't seen the original it won't bother you. For one: the lead actor is more 'manly' or rugged than my version of Sam Tyler. Not bad, just different than John Simm's portrayal. Gretchen Mol totally pulled off Annie but was a bit too "perfect", part of Annie's charm is her vulnerability and softness. Even so, Ms. Mol does a great job in the role. One thing that bothered me was it looked like everyone was wearing a costume, it doesn't feel that way on the UK one. And Harvey Keitel is Harvey Keitel...he doesn't make a good Gene Hunt.

If you watched it, I'd love to know what you thought of it.


BellaKarma said...

Hey Barbe ~

It wasn't until several days ago, after reading your Twitter, that I even knew this was a remake of a British series. Since I wasn't aware of this, I went in with more of an open-mind, perhaps.

I really enjoyed it! I thought it was Very Unique for television (and I felt like the writers weren't dumbing the audience down, either). In a way, it reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Frequency - so maybe I am a *little* bias.

The colors and processing were amazing (as a photographer that loves Paint Shop Pro - I noticed that!). Not only was I entertained - but I was also inspired by the fashions, the street life - and again, the colors in which it was filmed.

And Lisa Bonet hasn't aged.

BellaKarma said...

P.S. I love Harvey Keitel - and for a moment I thought I was going to see him as "Harvey" - but he quickly became (for me) "Gene Hunt"(is that his name on the U.S. version too?).

Barbe Saint John/ Saints and Sinners® said...

Hey Bella!
So glad you liked it!!! After the season is over, you should rent the UK version and see how the 2 compare. I know the US version will sway a bit from the original-I'm looking forward to seeing how!

Debby said...

I think I like Life on Mars...I have not seen the UK version. Look forward to this week's show and see if it is something I will stay with. I LOVE the music.

D.J. said...

Wow...maybe I'm too sentimental for having watched the original while living in the UK, but our American version of Life on Mars is terrible!
1. Harvey Keitel. Great actor, but an awful Gene Hunt. Far too old, weak, and mellow.
2. Jason O'Mara. Even worse as Sam. A cigar-store indian version of Sam...his bad-imitation of Mel Gibson, and too-cool-for-school nonchalance leaves one cold.
3. Where's the period music? Did ABC only have enough dosh to pay for the copyrights to one or two songs per episode?
4. I won't even go into the bad writing/editing of the original dialog...why leave in a reference to a horse that won the Grand National -and not even attempt to translate it to a Kentucky Derby winner/etc.

Michael Imperioli's performance as Ray is the only bright spot on the show...which, if you like the original, makes the whole thing even weirder.

Barbe Saint John/ Saints and Sinners® said...

Hey DJ, I agree with you on all the points.

In my own defense, I thought the first episode was suprisingly good, however I didn't watch it again. I think because I love Live on Mars and Ashes to Ashes so much I couldn't bare to watch. I know it would only go downhill. And speaking of, I can not WAIT to start watching season 2 of Ashes to Ashes, I really disliked the lead actress at first but grew to get over it and enjoy it.

As for the music,you are right- they can't pay for all the rights..Same as why we don't see Dr. Who Confindential in the US.