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Life on Mars - (S01E17)

Drama . Mystery . Crime . Action & Adventure

When Sam Tyler receives a phone call that presents him with three tasks he must perform so he can return to his life in the future, he must weigh his alternatives and decide whether to stay in 1973 or go home.

Episode Title: Life is a Rock
Airs: 2009-04-1 at 10:00 pm
  • Verne Gay

    The producers ("Alias" alums Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec) have created a Dickensian (with a nod to L. Frank Baum) universe, draped in shadows, pastels and mystery, while aurally wrapped in chestnuts from the Sweet, Five Man Electrical Band and the Ramones. This new series has enormous promise.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Teresa Budasi

    The time-travel element puts enough of a twist in it to move it a couple of notches above all the other entries in the fall season, not to mention all the same-old police procedurals clogging the networks.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • James Poniewozik

    The premise of ABC's Life on Mars is ludicrous but irresistible.

    Time Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    Life on Mars offers fine performers, some arresting images, sly satire and a terrific song score.

    Variety Full Review
  • Barry Garron

    The script, from Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec and Scott Rosenberg, is true to the spirit of the original and exciting enough to make you swallow the premise and beg for more.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    They've pulled together a vivid cast and evoked the ideal tone - not comedy, not psychodrama, not sci fi, but an intriguingly evasive blend of them all.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    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.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Cynthia Fuchs

    This idea--that Sam is experiencing his coma as an “alternate reality” via a TV show--is wickedly clever. It’s a question as to whether Life on Mars can sustain and develop this idea, which is really an investigation of limits.

    PopMatters Full Review
  • Alessandra Stanley

    The premiere episode of Life on Mars, by contrast [to "Kath & Kim"], is strange and exhilarating.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Hal Boedeker

    This vivid series puts an ironic spin on nostalgia.

    Orlando Sentinel Full Review
  • Robert Abele

    O’Mara’s Sam is incredibly engaging, and I’m pleased with how well this Americanization of an already very fine piece of flinty cop nostalgia is going.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Dorothy Rabinowitz

    Four episodes of Life on Mars have by now aired, each livelier and more confident than the last and--despite its mush of a lead character--justifiably so. That's no small triumph.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Gillian Flynn

    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.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Tim Goodman

    If the ambition of the pilot continues, American television may get another remake right. We'll have our first hint this next week. In the meantime, enjoy the pilot.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    Happily, the American version--a second try, after an original pilot was scrapped--makes mostly wise decisions, starting with trusting the show to O'Mara. He's off to an excellent start, particularly in grounding the story by keeping his reactions rooted in reality.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Robert Lloyd

    I'm not wholly convinced by the American Life on Mars.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Aaron Barnhart

    While I prefer the British Mars, the show's premise is so strong that this decent execution of it is hard not to recommend.

    Kansas City Star Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    It still has some problems, and may not be able to milk the concept any longer than the Brits did, but the central concept--modern law-enforcement veteran has to deal with a world where forensics science is in its infancy and civil rights are treated as inconveniences at best--is still appealing, and in some ways more so when it's transplanted to the early '70s New York immortalized in cop films like "The French Connection" and "Serpico."

    Newark Star-Ledger Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    ABC sticks its neck out a bit further with Life on Mars, a pretty good remake of a remarkable series that also appeared on BBC America

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Jonathan Storm

    Both ABC's Life on Mars and CBS's "Eleventh Hour" have the comfortable feel of many shows that have come before them and lasted a long, long time.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • David Hinckley

    The show raises questions, and fans of the paranormal will find they're kept open in reasonably interesting ways. The problem is that time-travel shows require a level of attention casual TV viewers don't always want to invest.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • John Leonard

    This is a flabbergasting cast, so far called upon to do not much besides posturing. But my fingers are crossed, and my eyes too.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Maureen Ryan

    Purely as a cop show, Life on Mars is competent but not that compelling, though O’Mara does a fine job as Tyler.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Tom Shales

    Despite the prestigious presence of stars such as Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli, Lisa Bonet and Gretchen Mol, Life on Mars, a new ABC crime drama, comes off as naggingly undistinguished.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Glenn Garvin

    Jason O'Mara is enormously appealing as the determined but befuddled Tyler....Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Life on Mars' writers, who seem to have been knocked considerably deeper into history than their character.

    Miami Herald Full Review

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