Life on Mars: Series Finale Shocker — A Great Ending or a Terrible Finish?

Life on MarsABC’s Life on Mars didn’t catch on with enough viewers and was unfortunately cancelled after one brief season. Sadly, tonight we had to say goodnight to the outstanding cast of Jason O’Mara, Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol, Harvey Keitel, and Jonathan Murphy.

Thankfully, the show’s creators were given enough time to craft a true series finale. Executive producer Scott Rosenberg told Scifiwire, “Basically, this episode was always going to be the season finale, so we just switched things up towards the end. But we always wanted it to culminate with him and his parents… Amongst our favorite things that we did was always with his father and his mother. Every time we went to that well, it really worked for us. You’ll realize when you see it Wednesday night at 11:00, you’ll see that the whole theme of the entire 17 hours was all leading up to this. It was all about what we deal with in episode 17.”

Fellow executive producer Josh Appelbaum told Variety, “When you see you see the ending. as much as I think it’ll be wildly unexpected, it’s also sort of the inevitable. Even in the pilot there’s a lot of things that are leaning toward what the ending tells you. There were a million ideas thrown out early in the writers room, but when this one landed we all knew that was the one it should be.”

Are you satisfied with the Mars ending?

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Rosenberg concluded, “We’re not only answering the why of 1973 but more importantly, it’s what this whole journey was about for Sam — why it was these particular characters and this emotional landscape. It’s his emotional heroes journey that is answered by the end.”

So, what do you think of the series ending? It was a shocker to say the least. Are you happy to leave Sam and friends on the Martian surface?

Or, would you prefer to think that the Mars landing is actually a hallucination or another piece of Sam’s time travel mystery?

Canceled and renewed TV show

193 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. chaos lord says

    i still have some unanswered questions like the thing with the FBI and the whole trying to see if theres a soul. also what about the other guy he met who was trying to get back to 2009

  2. yoli says

    Love the show not the ending. Good cast and story. I was a kid in 1973 and my father used to watch detective shows. I watch a show about a tunnel where these guy travel in the time. So to me was a perfect convination. So sorry no more of this show. The ending was horrendous. I can not believe that all the writers and creators of the program thought that was the best ending.

  3. karen says

    i dont know why they have to end the life on mars so quickly never had a chance to watch last episode it was an interesting story. Too bad abc never value the show they
    have waited.

  4. Pete says

    I loved the show and loved the cast, so I’m very sorry to see it go.

    I have to say, I was pretty satisfied with the ending, though it was a little shoe horned in to give closure, because I think you can interpret it anyway you want. Is it another of his hallucinations, with the loafer stepping out at the end, or was that finally the true reality?

    I did like the way,w hen questioned by Rose about how she works with/for these men, Annie responded something like “I pretend we’re in the distant future and they’re all working for me.” Tied that whole thing in there nicely. Maybe now we’re in Annie’s dream instead.

    Now, though, part of me kinda wishes they would have ended it back in 1973, with Sam just staying there after hanging up on the voice on the phone, like ‘No, I don’t give a damn if you’re the entity in charge, I’m not going!’ Sort of, like a defiant middle finger to ABC on behalf of all of us fans to say ‘We’re not going to let you tie this up into a neat little package after you canceled this great show!’ Then he could not go back, but his issues would be resolved, and we could always think of them intact in that way.

  5. Doit2it says

    While I love the show, I equally HATED the ending. Maybe it would have been digestible if the production value of the final set were better. I’ve seen better interiors from the 1930s Flash Gordon serials. And the actors seemed to HATE being in the scene. Is it just me or did they seem dis-ingenuine with their lines? While I’m one of the few people out here that loved “Vanilla Sky” I hated seeing it regurgitated on TV to tie everything up. Maybe they could have introduced an autistic child in the series and had him look into a snow globe for the final scene invalidating everything that had happened (eg. St Elsewhere).

  6. Mike says

    viewers: Even though it’s most likely a waste of time, write to ABC and let them know how you feel, and mention to bring it back during this season with reruns until next season. But like all of you I am fed up with ABC. I haven’t tuned into them and won’t, enough is enough. Good luck!

  7. Stacey Morris says

    I am so fed up with ABC, they get great shows and do such a crappy job of promoting them. They put everything on the same night and then ARE SHOCKED when a new show doesn’t get the ratings. They could place it on another night or rerun on weekend, but they again and again just cancel. I get to loving the show and its gone and I am tired of it. They also have made the schedule a nightmare, of breaks and reruns. Its not worth it to invest the time watching their shows! PLEASE, if you have a great show you are trying to get a network to carry GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!

  8. DaFeather says

    What a ridiculous and horrible ending to a really decent show. You have GOT to be kidding me. It looked like last minute they came up with an ending…any ending at all. It was the WORST, and I do mean the WORST ending. It had no originality.

  9. Mike says

    ABC Why don’t you take a chance with ‘ Life On Mars” Do complete reruns and see if that will bring the audiences back and maybe get new one’s for this coming year. What do you have to loose? The Unusals (as one viewer has said) really sucks! Absolutely stupid! I agree with here. For once listen to the viewers. And as another viewer said DVR-ing does make a difference on the ratings, and now millions of viewers do DVR programs.

  10. ellen says

    WHY??? Just WHY did you have to end the show?????? Whenever there is something good on you throw it out…It frustrates me! I love “LIFE ON MARS”!!!!!!!!BRING IT BACK PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Use your heads for heavens sakes….DARN!!!!!!!!!!!!


    The Unusals sucks! Absolutely stupid!

  11. Bill says

    I sent this message to ABC. I hope viewers will keep writing them, and in the mean time boycott ABC.

    Well ABC you really screwed up canceling ” LIfe On Mars”. Just saw the ratings on your new show “The Unusuals”, a 2.2 rating with 18-49

    March 27th, LIfe On Mars had 5.6 had gained 400K. Even the opening back in Oct was 3.2. So according to this ‘Life On Mars” was gaining viewers.

    ABC was the one who set up “Life On Mars” to eventually fail because of the screwed up time slots. Would it be that hard to bring back ” Life On Mars”, you might see the ratings to go even higher

  12. BBussey says

    As many people or more were satisfied with the ending as those who were not. That was the ending planned from the beginning, according to the creators. And if you go back and review, you can see that it was foreshadowed frequently throughout the series, starting all the way back in Episode 1. So it’s not as if there were no hints pointing to this possibility.

    Regarding Lisa Bonet, it seems that she was destined to be in episode when it was scheduled to be the season finale and they forgot to remove her from the opening credits. That leads one to believe that the season-ending cliffhanger would have been Sam returning to 2008 in the last ten minutes instead of awaking on HYDE-125 in orbit around Mars. Plausible since the creators have said that the only change in the episode was what followed the last mystery phonecall, and with Sam having just come to terms of staying in 1973 and starting a relationship with Annie.

  13. JR says

    I loved the show–could not wait for the next episode. I was stunned, disappointed and outraged that the last 10 minutes of the series negated the entire series a la the Dallas/Bobby Ewing dream-like ending. As much as I loved the show–I’m not sure I’d put myself through watching it again even if it were revived (unless there were assurances that the new series would not be so whimisically dismissed by a cheesy ending such as the one we just witnessed). By the way how did you get the fine actors in this great ensemble to agree to take part in that horribly contrived ending anyway?

  14. MeToo says

    The problem is that when you pvr something the network doesn’t get paid for your viewership, since there is a good chance you aren’t watching the ads that pay for the programming. As they say, you get what you pay for (I’m guilty too, I never once watched an episode of LOM at it scheduled time.). Good ending tho, believe me it could have been a lot worse. I especially love the “Gene Hunt” thing, and the fact that he was his father made so much sense, nice work. IT is too bad that Bonet was never seen again after, she was my favorite Cosby kid.

  15. Roy says

    We havent seen the end yet down under but what a retro blast this show has been so far. This whole theme kicked off with the brillant UK series and I am pleased to say,after initial reservations that the US version would be a second rate copy, that both are great in their own right. Well done ABC!! – but what ever you do dont turn it into another “Lost”. That started well but most of us got lost along the way – but I guess it’s whatever youre in to. Keep the retro drama shows coming and you will always be on a winner with me. Cheers

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