Life on Mars: Now That It’s Cancelled, Will Viewers and Sam Be Left Hanging?

Life on MarsTo no great surprise, fans of ABC’s Life on Mars are quite upset that the network has decided to kill the series after only 17 episodes. Granted, the early ratings weren’t that great but the network didn’t help matters either. Will viewers be given closure or will they and Sam Tyler be left stranded forever in the 1970s?

Life on Mars, a remake of the popular UK series, revolves around a modern-day detective (Jason O’Mara) who is somehow transported back to 1973. He manages to acclimate himself but is stymied as to the how and why of his situation. The series also features Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol, Harvey Keitel, Jonathan Murphy, Dominick Mancino, John Cenatiempo, Chris Miskiewicz, Tom Stratford, Matthew Cowles, and Tanya Fischer.

The drama 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, those numbers didn’t last and Mars fell significantly in its 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.

Though the series was struggling, there was still a chance that things could turn things around. But then, the network put Mars on a two month hiatus. For a serial drama, particularly one with an ongoing mystery, a hiatus like that is essentially a kiss of death. As expected, when the series finally returned in January, lots of viewers didn’t come back. For the first four showings in 2009, Mars averaged a disastrous 5.5 million viewers and hit a low of 4.63 million and a 1.6/4 rating/share.

Do you think the Mars finale will be satisying?

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This decline caused ABC to pull the plug but, as executive producer Andre Nemec told the LA Times, it didn’t come as a big surprise. He said, “We were struggling a bit with our numbers… It didn’t seem like we were getting that slow, steady climb every week.” Thankfully, the network execs made their decision early enough for the producers to be able to craft an ending for the series.

Nemec noted, “We’ve felt from the beginning that if the show wasn’t going to get its legs for a second season, nothing would have been more of a gift from the network and the studio than to give us the opportunity to find the creative closure a lot of shows don’t get.”

When ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson called with the bad news, the crew was prepping to shoot episode 17, the final installment of the season. Josh Appelbaum, Scott Rosenberg, and Nemec immediately got busy reworking the script. Nemec reflected, “It was heartbreaking to have to write it and simultaneously cathartic to be able to do it.” Production on the episode wrapped last week and it’s scheduled to air on April 1st.

Though the details are a closely guarded secret, we do know that the last episode of Mars begins with Sam searching for his younger self who’s been kidnapped. The story ends in another time.

For those who have looked to the UK version for clues about the show’s final resolution, they should know that it will be significantly different. In the British version, Sam awoke from a coma at the end of the program’s two season, 16 episode run. Applebaum assures, “This could not be further from that.”

He tells TV Guide that the show’s secrets will indeed be revealed — including those about Hyde Park, the precinct he supposedly came from. Appelbaum said, “We will go to Hyde. We will learn what it is and what it looks like.” He continued, “Everything we did is completely justified. It’s one of those endings I believe will make you want to watch the series again, because you’ll see that we’ve given you very distinct clues that will come together.”

Nemec isn’t sure if viewers will be surprised by the resolution but hopes that they will be pleased. He said, “If you’ve been watching the show and paying attention, I think in the last frame you’ll find yourself saying that we didn’t cheat you.”

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112 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Martinez Wilma says

    I am still waiting for this wonderful show to come back…So many good stories each week and so many great actors. Maybe, just maybe the series will return….

  2. Mike says

    well viewers. It will be a year this April, that ABC really screwed up by canceling a show that was really good and wasn’t given a chance. Last year at this time I started writing to ABC, and until my computer crapped out on me had comments on every blog there was about this show. I still write to ABC and tell them what idiots they were to cancel this show. I still have not tuned into ABC since then.

  3. Nastia says

    Раз тут есть русский ширифт я на пишу еще и на своем родном языке. Возможно это заставит вас прочесть ниже написаный английский вариант этого текста.
    Вы не может остановить этот замечательный показ! Этим Вы ударите на сердцах многим поклонникам из России.
    Это – лучший сериал от всех просмотреных мной! И не только мной! А еще очень многих ваших фанатов! Британская версия может быть и оригиналом, Но то что Амереканская версия всего лишь ремейк, не значит что дерьмовый ремейк! Напротив она понравилась мне гораздо больше чем версия британцев! Магия! Я не спала каждую ночь, когда шла “Жизни на марсе”, с нетерпением ждала каждую новую серию ! И герои в версии США так или иначе более стали связанными со мной.
    Вы сделали настоящий фильм! Здесь есть все и любовь, и криминал, и мистика, и самая важная вещь – небо… Место. Марс. Я знаю, что Сем, проснушвшись в космическом коробле понял, что 73-летний была во всем мечта! Это было реально! Существует только настоящие, и все что существует настоящие! Он жил лихорадочными мечтами о прекрасном мире гдето по ту сторону радуги… “Где беды тают как лимонные капли над жерлами дымоходов…”, Например 2008 год. Мечта… Девушка Майа возникшая не откуда не просит Сема познакомится с родитялями, сам Сем работает старшим детективом, который блестяще ловит преступников и разгадывает самый запутоные истории!!! Таковые мечты погружают обычного человека в глубокий, глубокий сон. И многие некогда не просыпаются! Его практически невозможно было спасти если бы одна девушка, по имени Энни Норис, которая по НАСТОЯЩЕМУ любит(я не могу не воспроизвести ее слова в 16: “Все это настоящие Сем! Внутри ты тоже настоящий! И мои чувства к тебе НАСТОЯЩИЕ”, на самом деле эта сцена заставила меня по настоящему плакать…” серии Тайлера, не протянула руку помощи. Сем стоял перед выбором “Настоящие-не настоящие”. Пора жить! И сем выберает настоящие. т. е. целует Энни и обнимает своего отца Тома(Джина Ханта). И просыпается!

    Спасибо вам за этот чудесный сериал, он заставил меня думать и довел до слез!

    Всем сердцем я жду продолжение! Прошу вас не разбивайте его!

  4. Nastia says

    This cannot be stopped remarkable show. It you will strike on hearts to many admirers from Russia.
    It is the best serial from all seen by me! And not only me! And still very much and to very many fans. The British version can be and the original, but that that Amerekansky only “remake” does not mean that it is a crappy remake. On against! I liked your version though the first I looked British more. Magic!
    I did not sleep every night display “Lives on марсе”, with impatience waited each series! And heroes in the version of the USA somehow have more become related to me.
    You have made tremendous cinema! The cinema presents! Here there is all and love, and криминал, and the mysticism, and the most important thing is the sky… Space. Mars. I know that that that This проснушвшись in space коробле has understood that 73 year was at all a dream! It was the presents! There is only a reality and everything that exists really! This lived feverish dreams of the fine world, somewhere on that party of a rainbow! “… Where troubles thaw as lemon drops over muzzles of flues…” 2008 it is its dream вооброжение! This girl Maja who has arisen not whence which does not ask gets acquainted with parents! And work as the senior detective which excellent catches criminals! Such dreams immerse the usual person in a deep deep sleep, and Much never wake up! Anni has forced to believe Sema in the presents! I should reproduce its words from 16 series:” All is the presents This! Inside you too the present! And my feelings to you too the PRESENTS “This scene under the truth has made me cry! This faced to a choice”present-artificial”And he has chosen the presents! That that was real! Has kissed Enni and has embraced the father Hunt (the Major of Volume)! And he has woken up! It is fine history of eternal, spiritual love!

    I ask to you with all my heart return show! All my relatives, the friends, familiar ask тогоже! They also empathize heroes from марса! Some of them do not have possibility to sign the demand about continuation!

    I ask to excuse me for so clumsy English, I hope to you the sense above the written has reached! Thanks, I love you.

  5. Jay says

    To all those people in the U.S. who love Life on Mars and are gutted at it’s cancellation,well I urge you to get hold of series 1 and 2 of the English and original version of this show-not exactly what you’d want but a least you would know how it all ends properly and it would give you the ending and closure you deserve.Maybe you’d enjoy it just as much after all it is an English idea and written over in the UK. you may even enjoy the follow up series Ashes to Ashes

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