Life on Mars: Series 1 and 2 [UK]
(UK DVD: 24 Nov 2009)
This international Emmy winning show simultaneously manages to be a credible period cop show, a futuristic (yet ironically retro) science-fiction thriller, and something of a current social commentary (with a critical eye cast on the recent past). With these box sets, American audiences finally get to own the award-winning, original UK series upon which the ABC remake was based. It’s about time! For those who may not yet have seen either and are forced to choose, see this one, set in Manchester, 1973. While I personally enjoyed the Jason O’Mara/Harvey Keitel US remake quite a lot, the original is simply so much better on nearly every level: the retro situation our detective finds himself in provides a new ‘fix’ for the cop-show-mystery inclined; police methods and technology we take for granted no longer apply; and our world as fans, like Sam Tyler’s, is turned upside down; things are simultaneously familiar yet strange. A show of this caliber doesn’t necessarily need any DVD bonus features, but we get great ones here, anyway. In series 1 there are audio commentaries with the cast and crew for each of the episodes—often something of a rarity on series sets—and, naturally they are quite entertaining and informative; series 2 provides a documentary about the show, a featurette about the intriguing storyline’s conclusion, and behind the scenes footage. Life on Mars: Series 1 and 2 is a keeper, and although the UK series is over, the nature of the story will age well for years to come—in a way, it already has.