All last fall, as I watched Terra Nova, YET ANOTHER family-from-the-not-too-distant-future-travels-to-the-past-and-gets-to-hang-out-with-dinosaurs drama, I knew it would be something I should tell you about at some point.
Frank, I thought we’d have more time. Alas, last night the word went out that Terra Nova was no more — at least for Fox, though the show’s going to be shopped around to other networks HAHAHAHAHAHAHA GOOD LUCK WITH THAT GUYS. I mean, I sure did watch it. But that doesn’t mean I think the odds of it returning are anything less than EXTINCT (HAHAHAHAHAH I AM FUNNY TODAY’S LIZ TELLS FRANK IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY COFFEEEEEEE).
With odds of pick-up low, let us memorialize the show the best way I know how — by snarking about it! It’s been a while since the show’s season finale last December, Frank, so I’m just going to tell you the stuff I remember, but that’ll probably all you ever need to know, anyway.
Oh, the tragedy of the great British TV series, pure and original and beautifully executed — and then adapted into something completely different and strange for American consumption. Well, I say it’s a tragedy, and it is — but sometimes it leads to hilarity.
Frank, today I am not going to tell you about the very very good BBC drama Life on Mars (or its 80s-set sequel, Ashes to Ashes), in which a cerebral police detective from the 21st century finds himself inexplicably thrust backwards in time, and is forced to deal with the rough-and-tumble nature of police work in the 1970s (as well as the fashion and lack of iPhones). You should watch it yourself if you get a chance, because if you do you will get to meet Gene Hunt, the chief detective of Sam’s new 1970s precinct, one of modern television’s great alpha male characters and a perennial delight.
Instead, Frank, we’re talking about the American remake of the show, for a very specific reason. See, the central mystery of the British series is the question of what has really happened to Detective Sam Tyler — per the opening credits, is he in a coma, going crazy or traveling through time? The series slowly but confidently reveals the truth over two seasons, and then Ashes to Ashes continues things by asking the question of who Gene Hunt really is, and that takes THREE seasons, but you better believe it was a deeply satisfying conclusion.
Meanwhile, what happened with the American Life on Mars was as follows: Show premieres, fails to really grab an audience despite starring Harvey Keitel and Christopher from The Sopranos, slowly starts to circle the drain. However, ABC did a relatively decent thing, and gave the showrunners a big heads-up that there would be no season two, which gave them permission to end the story in season one.
That alone would be interesting, but several months ago, I got accidentally spoiled for what that ending entailed and HOLY SHIT, FRANK, IT WAS THE CRAZIEST SHIT I EVER HEARD. Read the rest of this entry