Life on Mars (2008) Of all the alienated heroes crowding the fall schedule, New York cop Sam Tyler ( Men in Trees ' Jason O'Mara) may be the most… 2008-10-09 Crime Drama Jason O'Mara Lisa Bonet Michael Imperioli Harvey Keitel Gretchen Mol ABC
TV Review

Life on Mars (2008)

Life on Mars | MAKE THE COLLAR Keitel and O'Mara rock '70s style
MAKE THE COLLAR Keitel and O'Mara rock '70s style

Details Start Date: Oct 09, 2008; Genres: Crime, Drama; With: Jason O'Mara; Network: ABC

Of all the alienated heroes crowding the fall schedule, New York cop Sam Tyler (Men in Trees' Jason O'Mara) may be the most estranged. In 2008, he's chasing a serial killer while suffering commitment issues with his girlfriend and fellow detective, Maya (Lisa Bonet, welcome back). Then — bam! — an accident knocks him unconscious, and he wakes up in 1973. Ultimately returning to his precinct, he finds himself surrounded by polyestered cops — including Harvey Keitel and The Sopranos' Michael Imperioli — who are unfamiliar not just with modern police tactics but with modern attitudes: They call a female police officer (Gretchen Mol) ''No Nuts Norris.'' Sam's a man disconnected, out of sequence, trying to get back to 2008 — not that he was any less alienated there.

Based on a popular BBC series, Life on Mars, like Mad Men, makes a long-ago era feel both alien and nostalgic, like in the sweet moment where Sam wanders into a record store and just beams. O'Mara invests Sam with a tricky mix of shell shock and sensibility: Being the pragmatic detective he is, he begins working a 1973 murder that may be linked to his 2008 serial-killer case, buzzing with doubt all the while. Sam believes he must be in a coma, and hopes that once he stops dreaming so realistically, he'll wake up. ''Details, there are only so many details,'' he mutters...and as
 he scans the mad bustle of a New York City street, we all settle in for the duration. B+

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Originally posted Oct 03, 2008 Published in issue #1015 Oct 10, 2008 Order article reprints