Friday, October 17, 2008

Life on Mars is stillborn

The second episode of the American remake of the hit British television series, Life on Mars, aired last night on ABC and I'm almost ready to throw in the towel. If you're not aware, LOM is about a contemporary police detective who is seriously injured in a hit and run and "wakes up" as a cop in 1973 NYC. The original series was critically praised and there were high hopes for the new version, but it's just failing miserably. The writing is atrocious; characters are cliches and the plots meandering and because the writing is so abysmal and the directing not much better, the excellent cast is floundering and in the case of Harvey Keitel, actually kind of embarassing in their performances. And, for some reason, the writers and production team feel that it's necessary to constantly reinforce the message that we're in 1973...we're overwhelmed with excessive amounts of set dressing, costumes, songs, cultural references and stereotypes of the era to make sure the audience is aware, "Hey! It's 1973! Isn't it kooky?!?!?" I think most of the problem is with the show runners, the producing/writing team hired to run the show; it's a bunch of hacks from that crappy Dawsons Creek/One Tree Hill wannabe October Road that aired on ABC over a year ago. If I were the execs at ABC, I would have checked into the availability of some of the writer/producers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They had a crackerjack team that knew how to blend drama and fantasy elements so that one didn't overwhelm the other. (Also, they come up with brilliant scripts and very intelligent dialogue week after week for 7 years). Oh, and ABC, dump your current set and costume designers and cinematographers and hire some of the people who worked on the Tales of the City miniseries, or the movie Zodiac, or even That 70's Show...they were all much, much better at recreating a believable and realistic version of the era than the hacks currently hired.

Pictured: Lead actor Jason O'Mara one of the few good reasons to watch the show...

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