August 27, 2008

Worst news all year

I've been brooding about this for a while now, and I guess it's time to talk about it: the American version of Life on Mars.

I'm the only person I know who saw the real Life on Mars on BBC America. I loved it, not because it was British, but because it was good: science fictiony police procedural. What's not to love?

And I'm not an Anglophile. Ask anybody. When you teach English, especially British lit, people seem to expect you to go weak-kneed over all things British. Not me ... for one thing, my main interest is in Irish lit, which is a significant distinction. For another, I don't like the idea of being a fanboy.

So, yeah, Life on Mars. The American version will probably suck ... suck the life and novelty out of the idea and spit it all over the inside of my TV screen. Part of what was good about the real version was the fact that it ended ... they understood that a series is a novel, and all good novels end, many of them sooner rather than later. Think The Prisoner. And the series ended well: convincingly and satisfyingly.

And it started nicely. They had me, I have to admit, at Archie Panjabi ... but aside from the show's kind of silly premise, I love the way it plays with the cop show genre and the opposites-attract-and-repel buddy dynamic as well. Watch the American version if you must ... the casting doesn't look half bad, with Harvey Keitel as Gene Hunt (but the British Hunt is kind of large and menacing). But if you get a chance, try to see the original. I'm guessing, sight unseen, that it's far superior ... and even if it isn't, it's damned good.


Michael said...

So I guess you haven't heard that AMC is doing an American "The Prisoner" with Ian McKellan and James Caviezel? [insert expletive here]... Though McKellan's presence gives me hope, that and the fact that they've only shot six episodes.

JB said...

No, I haven't. I haven't paid attention to AMC since they went to an all shite-with-commercials format.

But good god.