Review: UK Life On Mars Complete Series DVD

STUDIO: Acorn Media | DIRECTOR: Bharat Nalluri, others | CAST: John Simm, Philip Glenister, Liz White, Dean Andrews, Marshall Lancaster
RELEASE DATE: 7/6/2010 | PRICE: DVD $79.99
BONUSES: commentaries, two documentaries, three featurettes, more
SPECS: NR | 15.5 hours | Crime drama | 1.78:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The innovative 2006 U.K. police TV drama Life on Mars is at once intense, intelligent and humorous—much more so than the U.S. version starring Harvey Keitel and Michael Imperioli that ran for one short season and was cancelled last year.

In the British television series, John Simm portrays a modern-day Manchester detective who gets struck by a car and wakes up in 1973, working for that era’s homicide squad and trying to figure out if he’s insane, in a coma or truly transported back in time. The period details, music and songs of the time are never poured on too thick, as the science-fiction-inflicted detective gets to work on crime solving and a possible romance in early-70s style

The winner of an international Emmy Award and many other awards in Britain, Life on Mars enjoyed a two-series run (“two seasons” for those on this side of the pond) before kicking off a notable airing on BBC America. (Most agree that the first season was the superior one, but both have their merits.)

It also spawned another David Bowie-monikered sequel entitled Ashes to Ashes, which has yet to be issued on DVD.

The well-supplemented, eight-disc package of Life on Mars includes commentaries on all the Series 1 episodes and a pair of solid documentaries on the origins and production of both series.


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.