Saturday, 21 June 2008

Life on America

There's a lot of new shows (sf-wise) coming out at the moment, one of which is the American version of Life on Mars. Now, let's be honest here. American versions of British shows general, in the large, DO NOT WORK. The classic example that one can always point to is Red Dwarf. Oh your gods.

However, some shows do work. Three's Company was a successful translation of Man About the House. And, again to be honest, The Office American Style is so good that I can easily think these are episodes of the British version!

Thus, I do not immediately want to dislike Life on Mars A. I've seen the pilot, which is largely a reshoot of the pilot of the UK series. Yep, Sam Tyler... girlfriend... car accident... Gene Hunt- Okay, stop right there.

Gene Hunt is played by Colm Meaney. Yep, Miles O'Brian. Yes, he has played some great roles, but Gene Hunt... Gene is supposed to be a big imposing bastard, and Colm... isn't. He's more the small dirty fighter type. He just doesn't feel right. (Sam is played by Jason O'Mara, but I don't recognise him, made up to look quite pretty, but can't really comment further.)

And, if we've met Chris and Ray, we haven't been told (there's a guy that's probably Ray, but if we learnt his name, I missed it). Annie, yep, looks to be a successful translation of the time (she looks to already be a detective, did women make better strides in America in the 70's?).

What this really comes down to is that so far, I'm trying not to judge it. The next episode should be a new take by the writers, as opposed to a redo of a British episode, so that should be the real test. I'm waiting, and remaining cautious at the moment.



Jack Yan said...

Jamas, the US wasn’t that far forward with women’s rights in the 1970s (e.g. Charlie’s Angels was considered a step forward!). So the US (well, she’s Canadian) Annie would be hassled far more than Alex Drake in Ashes to Ashes. I agree with you about Meaney—hadn’t the producers of the remake heard of Dirty Harry or Popeye Doyle? His Gene Hunt should have been patterned after them just as Philip Glenister’s evoked Jack Regan.
   Remember that regular US audiences will not see the pilot you saw: it has been scrapped, and it was reported about three weeks ago that it will be reshot and even recast in some cases.

Jamas Enright said...

Wow. Thanks for the comment! Didn't know that.


Jack Yan said...

My pleasure! Hey, I only just realized you are in Wellie, too.

Foo said...

Actually, Colin Meaney has played some very nasty roles and I saw him recently in a very old episode of Taggart where he played a hitman (IRA I think) and I have heard he also played another 'tough cop' type in another US cop show.

Below are some info I stole from the IMDB message board site (

1. Recasting: Lenny Clarke (out!), Rachel Lafevre (out!), Stephanie Jacobson (out!) and Jason O’Mara and Colm Meaney are staying. We’ll get more details later about who the new folks will be cast in the show. (Source: Mediaweek)
2. Production moved to New York, actually to Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens and they are set up a ready to go! (Source: LA Times, Mediaweek)
3. The new series will be filming in July barring an actor’s strike. Another pissing contest going on! (Source:
4. Writers redoing and even scraping the pilot and making it their own. Don’t have a lot of detail in this area. But I’ll report back when I do. (Source: Mediaweek,
5. And finally, if you are an actor and live or want to live in the New York area they are now casting for three roles which are Annie Norris, Det. Ray Carling and Det. Chris Skelton. Please have your agent contact Donna Rosenstein's office for details of location, date and times for auditions. Keep in mind these are SAG roles only! You must be a SAG member to audition!
(Source: Showfax)

Jamas Enright said...

I'm not saying Colin Meaney can't play a cop. In fact I think he would be a fantastic Ray! Just not Gene Hunt.