Life on Mars is an American television program that blends elements of a standard police procedural with science fiction. It is a remake of the British television series Life on Mars, which aired on BBC One from January, 2006 to April, 2007. The U.S. series was produced by 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios and aired for a single season, totaling seventeen episodes plus an unaired pilot rom October, 2008 to April, 2009. The show starred Jason O'Mara as Sam Tyler, Michael Imperioli as Ray Carling, Gretchen Mol as Annie "No Nuts" Norris, Jonathan Murphy as Chris Skelton and Harvey Keitel as Gene Hunt.
The premise of the show focused on New York City police detective Sam Tyler, who finds himself the victim of an automobile collision that appears to transport him back in time to the year 1973 where he now works for the 125th precinct. Both the character and the viewer are left guessing as to whether Sam actually travels backwards through time, or is perhaps suffering from a coma dream, or if he is just insane. The series finale, "Life Is a Rock", brings closure to all of the show's plot threads.
The U.S. version of Life on Mars was created by Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec and Scott Rosenberg based on concepts originally developed by Matthew Graham, Tony Jordan and Ashley Pharaoh.
Life on Mars aired on Wednesday evenings at 10:00 pm (EST) on ABC.
The title of the program is taken from the 1971 song "Life on Mars?" by artist David Bowie, which was first released as a single and also appeared on the album Hunky Dory.
All episodes of the series were released on the Life on Mars: The Complete Series DVD collection, which was released by ABC Studios on September 29th, 2009. Episodes of the series have also been made available on Netflix instant streaming.
The original unaired pilot movie as the title "Hit and Run".
Many of the episode titles for the series are taken from notable pop culture references of the 1970s - mostly songs, lyrics or albums. For example, the pilot episode, 'Out Here in the Fields" is originally a lyric from the song "Teenage Wasteland" by The Who. "Dark Side of the Moon" is the title track and to the 1973 album of the same name by Pink Floyd.
Life on Mars was nominated for a Saturn Award in 2008 for the Categories of Best Television Series (Drama) and Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series for Harvey Keitel. The show was nominated again in 2009 for a Saturn Award for the category of Best Network Television Series.
Episode 1x03, "My Maharishi is Bigger than Your Maharishi", was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for the category of Outstanding Individual Episode.
Cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for the pilot episode of the series, "Out Here In The Fields", in 2009.