First off, I have to disclaim that I didn’t bother watching the US version of Life on Mars. I saw a clip of it, and it made me cringe. I’ve seen the original (even did a review here) and the clip was a near shot for shot remake of the original’s scene. The last time I saw this done was with Coupling (again, reviewed here) and it didn’t work. It would have worked if they had kept in the interesting bits, but in the need for commercial time and broad American appeal (ie, relatively clean content) they were edited out. So, coupled with this painful clip that ABC put out, and the fact that every episode will have to be neutered by 25%, I avoided it.
I’m glad I did. MaryAnn Johanson, over at the FlickFilosopher, points out that my fears – and more – were indeed realized. But despite this, it seems that the mainstream reviewers liked it. They probably didn’t see the original when it airied on BBC America, so they’re not tainted by good quality television and therefore can watch this with an open mind. And, like Coupling, only a small handfull of people in the US have watched the original – which explains why (at least in my market) it won it’s time slot, though it did a steady decline each successive quarter hour.
Speaking of it’s time slot (Thursday at 10 PM) it was up against another remake: Eleventh Hour. This is yet another remake of a UK show, except that I never got into the original. Despite it staring Patrick Stewart, it just never seemed to work for me. I, therefore, had no interest in seeing the remake. These were not the only remakes on Thurday night. At 8:30, over at the peacock, was a remake of the Aussie hit Kath and Kim. I believe that this got some air play on BBC America (despite not even being British), so there are some fans of it in the US. It was followed by the successful remake of the Office. It seems that we Americans can’t come up with a good idea to save our lives in Hollywood these days – and you can’t blame the writer’s strike for that, as it’s been going on for decades.