Life on Mars: Season 1 (2008 - 2009)


Season 1
Life on Mars

Critics Consensus

While its script might not live up to the quality of its British predecessor, the American version of Life on Mars does feature some fine acting, subtle satire, and real chemistry between Sam and Lt. Hunt.

77%

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Critic Ratings: 30

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User Ratings: 1

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 9, 2008

In the series opener, NYPD detective Sam Tyler (Jason O'Mara) is hit by a car in 2008 and wakes up in 1973. There, he works with politically incorrect boss Gene Hunt (Harvey Keitel) and tough detective Ray Carling (Michael Imperioli) to help find a killer whose case is similar to one he was working on in 2008, all the while trying to figure out how to get home to 2008. Loosely based on the British drama of the same name.

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Air date: Oct 16, 2008

Sam investigates a series of fatal robberies at check-cashing stores, and evidence points to someone in the squad being involved.

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Air date: Oct 23, 2008

Lt. Hunt is on the warpath when a Vietnam vet is murdered, and the complicated and controversial case may lead Sam to some information about his family's past.

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Air date: Oct 30, 2008

Sam tangles with the mob when a woman---who is actually his mother---is assaulted. Evidence leads Sam to the troubling suspicion that members of the precinct may be involved with organized crime.

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Air date: Nov 6, 2008

A black girl is thrown from a rooftop, touching off racial tensions between the black and Puerto Rican communities. Sam works the case with officer Fletcher Bellow, his mentor in 2008, who doesn't know him in 1973. Whoopi Goldberg guest stars.

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Air date: Nov 13, 2008

A hostage crisis at County Hospital finds Sam, Ray, Annie and Lt. Hunt in a gunman's crosshairs while he tries to force a doctor to reverse a dangerous operation on the hostage taker's brother. Meanwhile, Sam is troubled by a phone call in which he seems to hear his mother's voice in 2008 begging him to wake up.

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Air date: Nov 20, 2008

When a baby from a prominent family is kidnapped, Sam is stunned to learn that his father, Vic (Dean Winters), may be involved. Vic abandoned the family under mysterious circumstances in 1973 when Sam was 4, and Sam wonders if his time trip is linked to that incident in some way.

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Air date: Jan 28, 2009

A bank robbery that may be linked to the Russian mob renews a long-standing rivalry between Lt. Hunt's squad and Lt. Nunzio's crew. Meanwhile, Sam takes a shine to a pretty, young social worker.

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Air date: Feb 4, 2009

The squad investigates a series of decapitations, and Ray's shady brother, Eddie (Eric Balfour), may be involved. But there are also connections to a biker, a Wall Street exec and a badly disfigured man.

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Air date: Feb 11, 2009

Death threats against a rock star pull Sam and Chris into the rocker's over-the-top world, where a spacey groupie and an FBI agent known as The Sorcerer (Wallace Shawn) play prominent roles. A turn in the investigation makes Sam wonder if he has now found a way to get back to his time.

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Life on Mars: Season 1 Photos

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Critic Reviews for Life on Mars Season 1

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (19)

It has some bang-up supporting actors, too.

Dec 16, 2019 | Full Review…

The show raises all these questions, and fans of the paranormal will find they're kept open in reasonably interesting ways.

Nov 2, 2018 | Full Review…

I'd like to think that this was a case of the writers being so frustrated with the cancellation that they were venting their anger at ABC with this stupid ending.

Nov 1, 2018 | Full Review…

I knew I liked "Life on Mars" when New York's World Trade Center appeared and I didn't feel like I was supposed to cry.

Nov 1, 2018 | Full Review…

As the swaggering Lt. Hunt, Harvey Keitel walks off with every scene.

Dec 16, 2019 | Full Review…

Life on Mars, like Mad Men, makes a long-ago era feel both alien and nostalgic.

Dec 16, 2019 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

I'm pleased with how well this Americanization of an already very fine piece of flinty cop nostalgia is going.

Dec 16, 2019 | Full Review…

The cast is great and the story is just as intriguing on screen as it sounds on paper.

Dec 16, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

It effectively combines elements of science fiction and procedural crime solving in a way that's both mysterious and entertaining.

Nov 5, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Harvey Keitel makes a great entrance in Life on Mars. You expect as much, of course, because he's Harvey Keitel.

Nov 2, 2018 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…

The new American version moves a little faster, which may sacrifice some of the subtlety of the original, but overall this first episode is a faithful adaptation.

Nov 2, 2018 | Full Review…

There certainly were good things--its quirky sense of humor, its winking nods to present-day pop culture...and the charming performance of O'Mara.

Nov 1, 2018 | Rating: 7.8/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Life on Mars: Season 1

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