Life on Mars: ABC TV Show Cancelled, No Season Two

Life on MarsTo no great surprise, ABC has opted not to order a second season of their Wednesday night drama, Life on Mars. The show was one of the most anticipated of the season. So, what happened? Will viewers be left hanging or will the show’s mysteries be resolved?

A remake of a UK show of the same name, Life on Mars follows Sam Tyler (Jason O’Mara) , a modern-day NYPD detective who’s investigating the abduction of his girlfriend (Lisa Bonet) by a serial killer. After being hit by a speeding car, Tyler wakes up in 1973. While trying to figure out what’s happened to him, he ends up becoming part of his precinct in the past. Is he in a coma, insane, or a true time traveler? The stand-out cast includes Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol, Harvey Keitel, Jonathan Murphy, Dominick Mancino, John Cenatiempo, Chris Miskiewicz, Tom Stratford, Matthew Cowles, and Tanya Fischer.

The series debuted on October 9, 2008 to a solid 11.33 million viewers and a 3.8/10 rating/share in the 18-49 demographic. Unfortunately, the numbers fell significantly in the second week, to 8.22 million and a 2.5/7 — a loss of 25% of the total audience. The ratings for the next five episodes averaged just eight million, sinking to a low of 7.77 million and a 2.5/7 rating/share on November 20th.

Mars then went on a two month hiatus, which is essentially like a death sentence for any serial drama. As expected, when the series returned at the end of January, following Lost, the numbers got even worse. For the past four weeks, Mars has been averaging a terrible 5.5 million viewers, hitting a low of 4.63 million and a 1.6/4 rating/share.

How did Tyler get to 1973?

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As expected, ABC has decided to cancel the series at the end of its 17 episode season. On the positive side, it’s being reported that the producers have time to make that last episode an actual series finale. Though there are many outstanding questions that need to be answered, it looks like most of them will be answered. ABC Entertainment Group President Steve McPherson told TVWeek, “We felt it was the right thing to do for the producers and the fans and creatively.”

Of course, whether ABC actually gets around to airing the episode remains to be seen. Considering that fans are still waiting to see the final episodes of Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone, and Pushing Daisies, the network’s track record isn’t so good.

For now, the plan is to continue airing the series though the March sweeps period, with Mars finishing on April 1st. Let’s hope that actually happens and it isn’t some twisted April Fool’s joke from the network execs.

Canceled and renewed TV show

247 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Richie V. says

    I t got caught up in the prgm. Its a shame it had to be cancelled. Was caught up in “The Book of Daniel”, to, which was cancelled because the Catholics(which I am, also) got offended. Guess it hit too close to home.

  2. Dave says

    Figures, i barely watch tv due to all the junk and i finally run into life on mars by accident and get caught up in the show. Was looking forward to its return. Well back to netflix. I guess reality shows are cheaper due to lack of intelligent content.

  3. says

    It seems that whenever I get to liking a show, it gets cancelled, but then I suppose that you’ve heard that one comment before? Anyway, I just don’t understand how in this vapid “playground of preposterous programming”, a show which stands worthy of being viewed respectably gets axed for some, doubtless reality series about some stupid someone who’s trying to get rid of someone else, and will probably get cancelled or limited itself. I guess that I don’t have to have a show to watch faithfully every week in this limitless, computer, cable TV, DVD world. Thanks anyway for entertaining me for a season ABC…But as usual you are “ASS, BACKWARDS, and COUNTRY” .

  4. Babynjay says

    Extremely dissapointing. I loved this show. And they end it having just landed on Mars? Unbelievable. Screw ABC. At least we still other quality ABC shows like Bachelorette. I’m disgusted.

  5. Big Joe says

    Unbelievable…best show on TV and ABC lets it go. Only show on TV that I made a point of watching each week. Just goes to show you when a show is well cast well written and entertaining that there just aren’t enough smart people to promote it. What a shame to cancel this awesome series. Shame on you ABC, maybe you can give us another waste of time reality show that costs you nothing and gives back the same. Grow a pair and bring back Life on Mars.

  6. Arnie says

    This show was awsome, the actors in here where amazing! Cant belive it, life on mars is a hundred times better than lost and they are still running that stupid show!

  7. Anna says

    I recorded that show and watched it every week, and I am upset that the show cancelled, just when it was starting to get good!! I would love them to bring back the series.

  8. JM says

    Im equally pissed off……2 fav shows, LOST and LIFE ON MARS. Loved that show, was very different than the rest of the crap on tv. With the exception of LOST, abc sucks and has lost a long time viewer. Can’t waste my time watching and getting into any shows cause they keep canceling them. Not gonna waste my time! Way to go dimwits

  9. says

    What a terrible ending. It negated everything that they set up. The father mother thing was all meaningless. “It was all a dream…” is the worst cop out that TV has ever given us. To make it worse we’ve seen that, learned our lesson, and should never see it again… then it shows up here to wrap up a show that had great promise. It wasn’t even left open to go to a better network or a new format. ashes to ashes.

  10. Joe says

    What a drag for ABC to cancel such a great show. The actors, music and story line were fantastic. This was one of the only shows that our entire family were excited to watch. So, ABC, you cancel a great show like Life On Mars and keep all those stupid reality shows airing? What gives? Here’s a reality for you…you guys are clueless.

  11. Donna says

    I loved the season finale!! However, I am extremely sad that the show has come to an end. I would love for the show to keep moving on — the Mars in 2035 was a great touch…I am thinking we could do so much more with that in season 2! Just a thought!!!

  12. Daniela says

    I thought the ending was brilliant but abrupt. In fact I had no idea I was watching the series finale. I thought to myself “Now what will they do next season? Will the show take place on Mars in 2035.” Duh…..I’m so tired of good shows like this getting cancelled while stupid reality shows go on and on.

  13. Karen says

    I had to google this because when my husband said Life on Mars was canceled, I honestly didn’t believe him. What an absolutely great show to lose, on so many fronts. It was inventive, retro, great scrips and acting, interesting and fresh. This is a huge disappointment. What a drag.

  14. steve says

    That show was awesome, america needs to wake up and stop watching this reality crap and start watching quality t.v. shows then maybe I could enjoy a decent series for more then one season before it is cancelled.

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