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on 29 July 2011
I was hooked from the very beginning to this excellent and classic series that introduced us to the now legendary Gene Hunt and the long suffering and completely confused Sam Tyler. Other previous reviewers will have probably covered the salient points: 21st Century police officer knocked down in random road accident whilst investigating the kidnapping of his colleague and girlfriend wakes up to find himself in 1973. How did he get there? Sam was there the first time round - but he was 4 years old. Now he must try and work out why he's back, who the hell are these strange people he must interact with, why he's doomed to wear cuban heeled boots and why oh why is he stuck with the worst boss in the world ever, DCI Gene 'Genie' Hunt, in order to return to the life he unwilling left 35 years in the future. Its a drama, a homage to the police procedural, with moments of humour, pathos, drunken revelry, fist fights, a pretty cool soundtrack, fashion that makes you shudder, Berni Inns, chain smoking, and a marvellously just underplayed romance for our hapless time travelling cop that helps him find some stability in a situation he can't control and seems to have no way of understanding.
Excellent performances from the leads, Phillip Glenister and John Simm, but the rest of the cast more than do their own bits to make this watchable time and time again.
Oh, and of course, possibly the *most* satisfying conclusion to a tv series *ever* :)
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on 16 June 2010
I heard that US networks were doing their version of this program and that it was quite a hit in England. The premise was so interesting that I thought I would give the original a try before the US version came out.

I am so glad I did - Life on Mars now has a position in my top 20 series of all time. Each episode was full of mystery, action and irreverent fun! Just thinking about the series makes me laugh.

John Sim and Phillip Glenister were the BEST - they developed such memorable one of a kind characters that will stand the test of time.

The ending was one of the best in TV!!

Although the US version had some really first class actors, the remake for our market just missed the mark and I am so glad I decided to 'catch' the original.

I recommend that everyone have a copy in their DVD library.
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on 1 December 2011
This is one of the best series I have watched in a *very* long time. It might even get to the very top of my Top 10 Series ever created list, it is so great! Brilliant acting, script, story, thought provoking and atmospheric, it is not your average cop show of the day, it is instant classic for years to come. The plot keeps you on the edge of your seat and boggles your mind till the very end and then some. If you want to really understand what is actually going on you must watch the Ashes to Ashes series as well, then everything becomes crystal clear and offers a rewarding experience of understanding why DCI Gene Hunt is dubbed a national hero, the top cop AND a sex symbol all rolled in one in spite of what he seems to be and do. Oh and remember the soundtrack! It is the first time I actually felt it to be a meaningful part of the show, not just melodic noise with some emotional effect.

I wish the scientists already invented the device for erasing memories out of one's mind, so I could rewatch the series again and again and again with the same fresh, puzzled and clueless eyes as the first time!
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on 17 August 2007
What a programme! Without doubt one of the best shows to grace our screens in a long while, and unusually, fairly original. No spoilers from me (although you'll probably know the outcome), this serial is to my mind, quite unique that it is set in the past (1973) and at no point decentds into a nostalia trip. Quite the opposite, it highlights how we have progressed on many social issues. The stories are all, without fail, excellent, not one single duffer. And the series wraps itself up before it starts repeating and going over old ground.

John Simms is, as always, excellent in the lead role, and particular praise to Phil Gennister who has, in the role of Gene Hunt, being given continuously frankly superb dialogue and made it even better by his acting skills.

This is a series to cherish and revisit on a regular basis. Comparisons have been made to The Sweeney, but that is quite a myopic point of view; this is so much more, and will have you guessing how it concludes. Indeed, it's conclusion is an interesting talking point, one to discuss with those in the know for years to come. 10/10!
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VINE VOICEon 16 April 2007
Old fashioned police drama series with more twists than a 60's nightclub. DCI Tyler (John Simm)is the clever rather politically correct 2006 copper seemingly transported back to 1973 to Manchester and Salford CID after a car accident or is it just a coma induced dream? DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister)is the refreshingly UN-PC 1970's CID boss who has every "ism" you could wish or fear for. The resulting clash of policing styles of the two men is the main ingredient in this superb piece of retro British television. If you missed it first or second time around, you owe it to yourself to find out what all the fuss was about.
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on 10 December 2011
Top notch TV making, whether you refer to it as a regular cop show (with a surreal twist) ,a tribute to 70's cop shows or simply on its own right.

Great background story,characters,humor,music,nostalgic,non-PC eruptions (ahhh... Gene hunt..) and attention to details.

The boxset is beautifully made, both in terms of content and design (look at the 2 pictures I've uploaded).

John Simm and Philip Glenister (and also the rest of the cast) give outstanding performances. Maybe the roles they'll be most remembered for...

Bonus Features:

Great informative commentaries to all season 1 episodes (alas, no commentaries on season 2).

All the other extras (Featurettes,Behind the Scenes,Outtakes) are also very well done and give a superb added value to the boxset.
I happily devoured them all...

The main feature is well subtitled. All other extras and commentary tracks sadly not subtitled.

Recreating the 70's was beautifully done for both indoor and outdoor scenes,with minimal CGI (like removing satellite dishes from rooftops and adding some neon signs) and using the right props.
They actually succeeded in having many sequences shot in present day Manchester in places where it was on the 90th minute before being demolished, and again, with minimal tricks, like adding tin fences in side alleys to block the view of the modern street view.

Overall - highly recommended and re-watchable. Very happy with the purchase.
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on 11 December 2010
WARNING! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS!

"Life on Mars" is a British series with some pretty odd twists. The main character, Sam Tyler, is a police officer from the year 2006 who mysteriously finds himself in the year 1973 after a traffic accident. It's never made clear whether Tyler is a time traveller or just dreaming the whole thing. However, his physical body still remains in 2006. Are we to believe Wikipedia, Sam Tyler is actually named after Rose Tyler from "Doctor Who", a series featuring time travellers.

Tyler is a very progressive, politically correct and law-abiding police officer. Back in 1973, he is shocked to find a police force infested by racism, sexism, homophobia and corruption. Forensics are almost unknown, and most "investigations" are carried out by simply beating up the usual round of suspects.

But no, the series isn't "PC" in and of itself. Rather, it's built around the tension between the soft cop Tyler and his rogue colleague Gene Hunt (who doesn't understand that Tyler is from the future - he thinks Tyler is simply transferred from another district). The constant conflicts between the two are quite fun to watch! Eventually, of course, they are forced to co-operate.

The plot of most episodes revolves around the usual murder mysteries, but Tyler also meets people from his past which forces him to reflect more deeply on his own past and present. Some of the crimes investigated in 1973 turn out to have connections to events in 2006. Occasionally, our hero is tormented by a supernatural character known simply as the Test Card Girl, who makes him believe that he is going insane (as well he might, meeting a character like this one!).

This DVD contains the first season of "Life on Mars". Another DVD features the second season. Only two seasons were produced, but there is a later series, "Ashes to ashes" in which Gene Hunt meets another police officer from the future. It seems the concept was too good to drop...

So what happened to Sam Tyler, then? Were his experiences in 1973 just a dream, or did he actually journey back in time? The series never really explains it. In the last episode of season two, Tyler apparently dies in 2006, but his alter ego is happily stuck in 1973. Or is it? The end of the last episode could also be interpreted as a near-death experience. Usually, I don't like series with inconclusive endings. I mean, I'm old enough to remember "Twin Peaks"! However, "Life on Mars" is so well done, that the inconclusive ending feels like a logical part of the show.

Five stars.
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on 12 August 2011
For those with a love of nostaligia for the 1970's this is a must. John Simm is excellent in his role as the detective transported back in time, and Philip Glenister is brilliant as the typical 1970's sexist, beer swilling DCI. Watch and enjoy.
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on 2 September 2007
i did actually come into watching life on mars quite late...what a mistake. easily one of the best shows ever put on our television. i thought john simm was a good actor (ok id only seen him as the master in doctor who but that was enough) but after watching this im certain he is one of the best actors around at the moment...he makes this show and im not sure it would have been as good if another actor were tohave played Sam Tyler.
i love the whole mystery surrounding how he got into 1973 and believe it to be incredable well written.
the second series is a lot darker than the first but just a good because of the difference...in the 2nd series we see sam struggling to come to terms with the person he has become.
the ending left me crying but extremly happy because Sam is a character who i deeply began to care about...partly because of the writing but mostly because of simms fantastic acting skills.
a must for anyone who has yet to see it 10/10
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on 28 March 2011
I never saw Life on Mars or Ashes to Ashes when it was on telly, so i bought the DVD's, and I do not regret it. Great show, great writing, especially for Gene Hunt, great soundtrack. Its a cop show that is actually good, and those are rarities these days, so check it out I assure you its worth your time.
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