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Life on Mars - BBC Series 1 (New Packaging) [Blu-ray]

4.7 out of 5 stars 246 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: John Simm, Philip Glenister, Dean Andrews, Marshall Lancaster, Liz White
  • Format: Import, Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 27 Oct. 2008
  • Run Time: 480 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (246 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001CK02OQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,695 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Complete first series of the acclaimed BBC police drama, starring John Simm and Philip Glenister. Detective Sam Tyler (Simm) is a professional 21st century cop, keeping the streets of Manchester clean. But when he is run over in a near-fatal hit and run accident, he wakes up to find himself seemingly transported back in time to 1973. Trying to adjust to the archaic and sometimes brutal methods of Seventies police work, Sam frequently clashes with his abrasive, hard-drinking DCI, Gene Hunt (Glenister), but finds a sympathetic friend in WPC Annie Cartwright (Liz Smith). But is Sam just imagining all this? Is he in a coma? Or is he really back in time? In this series, Sam discovers that some of his colleagues are taking bribes from a local gangster, the murder of a Manchester City fan threatens to spark off a riot, and Sam finds himself investigating his own father after he becomes chief suspect in a murder enquiry. Includes all eight episodes.

From Amazon.co.uk

How would the modern face of policing cope in the land of The Sweeney? That’s the question posed by Life on Mars, as DI Sam Tyler (John Simm) a modern cop transported back to 1973 after a nasty car accident. There, he finds himself dealing with the significantly rougher attitudes and behaviours of "old-school" British policing, as exemplified by his new boss, DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister). It’s a fish-out-of-water story, as Tyler attempts to teach his new colleagues some very modern methods, while attempting to get used to sheepskin jackets, wide lapels and man-made fibres.

This first series of the hugely successful BBC programme sets the scene and introduces the characters that make up Tyler’s new world, but stumbles a bit by trying too hard to explain exactly how he got there (the "coma" subplot just gets in the way). Life on Mars is at its best when Glenister is on screen--he’s bigoted, chauvinistic and aggressive, and goes through each episode alternately bellowing or scowling. But he’s a product of his times, and in his heart, all he wants is to catch the bad guys. For Tyler, it’s all about the means, while for Hunt it’s all about the ends. They may not like each other much, but their on-screen chemistry is undeniable, and just one of the things that make this excellent series so watchable. --Ted Kord --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
With a title borrowed from David Bowie and the presence of John Simm (last seen in the absorbing 'State Of Play'), this wonderfully witty and inventive drama series had me hooked from the moment I saw the advert.

The chemistry between Simm's DI Sam Tyler and Philip Glenister's scene-stealing role as DCI Gene 'The Gene Genie' Hunt (second Bowie reference) is one of the main crux of this show. Their difficult relationship straddles resentment, absolute loathing and complete reliance, resulting in hilarity (such as Glenister's wonderful one-liners) or nail-bitting drama (like Tyler and Hunt's clashes of character).

By blending what could have been just another gritty crime drama with the element of sci-fi and fantasy, the shows creators have made, with the help of a script that's full of wit, warmth and intelligence, a fantastically engaging series. If you missed it when it first aired then I reccommend that you miss out no longer; 'Life On Mars' is proof, along with 'Dr Who', 'Hussle' and 'Cassanova', that the BBC can still make great television when it wants to.

It's also a great DVD package (spanning 4 discs) that shows the producers really care about their series; the two part Making Of documentary (on discs 1 and 2) is insightful and interesting and at about 45mins each, it's not a 15 minute collection of clips and actors telling you who their character is like you don't know. The documentaries about music (disc 3) and production (disc 4) are equally as intriging. I've not experienced the audio commentaries yet but with such a great cast I'm sure they'll be entertaining. Even the imaculately produced packaging shows the care that has gone into this boxed set. Just do yourself a favour and buy it now... my little deputy dawgs.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I live in Los Angeles, California, USA and caught this series when it aired on BBC America here over the past two months. Although it's basically a tried and true setting of a police station, the characters are deep and the acting is spectacular. John Simm is brilliant... Philip Glenister is raw and sensational. It was the one show on any channel (I have 150+) that I not only couldn't wait for the next episode, but that I watched religiously. It's the best show on television... period. It's not perfect, of course, but Sam Tyler and DCI Gene Hunt are pretty close. The writing is solid and witty, the conflicts are realistic, and the juxtaposition between the two worlds is executed more solidly than most anything I've seen. I cannot wait for Season 2.

I purchased the DVD for obvious reasons and as it's not available in the states, I didn't mind paying $50 US for it. It's worth every penny and I would have paid double that.

Writer/Producer David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, The Practice, Boston Legal) has optioned the rights for a US version and although I believe it would be near impossible to carry over the same world and feel to the States... if anyone can do it, David E. Kelley can. He is developing it for next season (Fall 2007-2008).
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By G Parnell VINE VOICE on 25 Jun. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I never caught this series on BBC1 when it first aired, but having read the reviews of people on here, decided I would buy the first series and take a look at it myself, and see what all the fuss was about.

Having watched almost the whole first series in its entirity, (I am six episodes in) on the sheer basis of the first six episodes alone, I give it five stars. John Simm is proving to be an excellent actor, certainly he plays DI Sam Tyler with the right mixture of confusion, vulnerability, sadness and determination that makes him instantly likeable.

The premise is quite simple. DI Tyler is involved in a horrific car crash, and wakes up in 1973 - the time when man made fibres were the order of the day, Ford Cortinas were hot, and when Mobile Phones were possibly "forgein numbers" and the world was still to be introduced to the concept of a TV in a bar. Tyler is left to unravel the mystery of what is happening to him - is this all a dream? a product of his mind, brought on by the coma from his accident? Is he going mad, or is 2006 a figment of his imagination and 1973 is reality?

It's powerful, gripping television and I watched the first six episodes back to back. Sam is an engaging character, a lost man trying to make sense of the world he is in, and get to grips with brutal methods of policing. Reading a suspect his rights "doesn't go like that" there weren't tape recorders used back then, and Sam finds himself regularly haunted by the girl off the TV test card.

Sam also clashes on a regular basis with the hardline methods of his superior "Gene" played by Phillip Glennister. Glennister ignites the screen in every scene he's in, and though the two rarely see eye to eye, together their screen presence is commanding and an absolute joy to watch.
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Format: Blu-ray
Life on Mars is arguably one of the better TV shows of the last 10 years, and so I feel no need to pick apart the series itself. Instead, this review will focus on the differences in video and audio quality between this Blu Ray release and the DVD. Life On Mars is presented with a 1080/24p AVC encode and 5.1 Dolby TruHD sound.

As noted by another reviewer the frame rate has been slowed down from 25fps to 24 - this is the format used on many Blu Ray movies as it is said to give motion a more film-like quality which Kudos are trying to replicate here. Having previously seen the show on DVD I could not notice any change in audio pitch or speed of movement caused by the slowdown, although each episode is a couple of minutes longer as a result.

In terms of video quality this release is everything I expected. Life on Mars was shot on 16mm film and was intended to have a very retro-70s look, so while there is a definite layer of grain (and the occasional scratch-mark/blemish) present, along with a slight softness in long and motion shots, these are all intentional. Close-up detail and colour reproduction show a definite improvement over the standard definition DVD. However, the biggest improvement comes with the sound, as the TruHD track is deeper and more well defined than anything previously released, especially when it comes to the fantastic early 70s soundtrack.

Ultimately, if you're expecting the Blu Ray of Life on Mars to be a pristine, pixel-perfect presentation then you're going to be disappointed. But if you want to see the series at its best and as the production team intended then look no further.
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