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'Life on Mars' producers grateful to have closure

Writer-producers Andre Nemec, Josh Appelbaum and Scott Rosenberg know firsthand what it’s like to leave fans hanging when a series is abruptly canceled. That’s what happened with their last show, “October Road,” which ABC yanked off the air last year before viewers learned the answer to the show’s central question: Was Nick, the prodigal writer who returned to his hometown, the father of his ex-girlfriend’s son? They ultimately resorted to shooting an epilogue on home video for the DVD boxed set to finish the story.

So as much as they’re disappointed that “Life on Mars,” their latest drama, will not be coming back next season, the executive producers are relieved that they learned the show’s fate in time to give the series a proper ending.

“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,” Nemec said. “It’s all a bit sad, but it doesn’t come without its closure and its finality.”

The producers got a call earlier this week from ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson, who told them that “Life on Mars” would not go on to a sophomore season. The news didn’t come as a total surprise.

“We were struggling a bit with our numbers,” Nemec said. “It didn’t seem like we were getting that slow, steady climb every week.”

The crew had just started prepping to shoot the last episode of the season, so the producers quickly went into overdrive to make it a fitting series finale.

“We did go into a bit of a mad dash of rewriting to adjust stories,” Nemec said. “It was heartbreaking to have to write it and simultaneously cathartic to be able to do it.”

The writers are determined to provide a fitting conclusion to the story of Sam Tyler (Jason O'Mara), a modern-day police detective who suddenly finds himself back in 1973 after getting hit by a car. The series is based on a BBC show, but Nemec said the ABC series will not offer the same explanation for Tyler’s situation as the British version, in which the detective was in a coma. He’s not sure whether viewers will be surprised by the answer, but he hopes they will be satisfied.

“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,” Nemec said.

— Matea Gold

 
Comments () | Archives (122)

its too bad they didnt pick this show up! good writing and acting as well as a interesting story line. Its good that they have a chance to conclude the story though.

ABC is premature to cancel this series. Perhaps if they hadn't pulled it for so long... What a waste! Terrific cast, intriguing story. ABC continues to prove why cable is the place for good, solid shows.

Agreed, great show, good writing, awesome cast. Wish it would have been given the chance it deserves.

Let me get this staight..Rock of Love with some washed up 80's has been like Brett Michaels is in its 3rd season but this show is being cancelled? Does this give anyone a clue to the state of our society. Heaven forbid we used our brains and imaginations. Sad to see this wonderful show end so quickly. A great cast and excellent writing made this my favorite show. Cudos to all involved and sorry to see you all go.
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Let me get this staight.. Rock of Love with that washed up 80's has been Brett Michaels is in its third season and they are cancelling this terrific show? Heaven forbid if you actually have to pay attention to follow a storyline. Does this give you some clues about our society? Cudos to all involves with Life on Mars. It is well written and has a first rate cast. Im sorry to see you all go so quickly. You will be missed.

life on mars is an incredible show, it's a shame it didn't catch on. it's also sad that shows like the hills and flavor of love get picked up for more seasons but a good and meaningful show such as life on mars fails to get the audience. i hope the last episode is awesome! i enjoyed the BBC ending, i hope this one lives up

Why doesn't anyone watch this show? Because, the tv corporations need to stick with a plan. Put the series on in September, let it run its course, week after week. Don't take it off one week or say it is coming back in 3 weeks and then come back after the first of the year. It is ridiculous. How do you get a following? You let it gain momentum from week to week. If I wanted to tell my friends to watch it, and then it is off for 3 weeks, who the heck is going to remember to watch it later. Plus, I DVR practically everything anyway. And you can't tell me that they don't monitor the DVR viewing or the DVR recording. They have ways. This show is great - intelligent - and that's its downfall. How about pandering to us with some brains out there, rather than to the lowest common denominator. I wish this show would continue.

Too bad ABC pulled the series. It was so well written and what a great cast! It is such a shame that reality shows dominate the airwaves and good dramas fade into oblivion.

The problem with this show was the writers.

You give us the great premise of a 2008 cop waking up in 1973... there's so much that could have been done with conspiracy theories and other sci-fi themes.

Instead, we get a brief scene or two with Sam seeing or referencing something from the future, and then the rest of the episode being just the same old generic cop show.

It was billed as a sci-fi/mystery series but was anything but. I'm really sad to see it go but I blame the writers for giving us the bland stories instead of the greatness that it could have been.

I can't believe this show is going to be canceled!! This is one of the best series on TV.. the acting, the scripts, the actors!! Please don't end it..I have been telling everyone at work to watch this show. It is creative, funny, interesting and I look forward to watching every Wednesday night. PLESAE !PLEASE! DONT END IT!!!

Yeah, I love investing my time, energy and emotions in a show only to have the powers that be decide that it really wasn't worth it after all. I'm always of the mind that if many of the shows that are considered classic today were produced and aired now, that they would most likely meet the same fate. I guess we should be thankful that we'll have some kind of closure. Yeah, thanks, ABC, thanks for nothing.

Typical yanks. Take a good show, add a trans-atlantic twist and then kill it off. Longevity is not your strong point is it cousins?
Why not download the original English series? Far superior in so many ways, just like The Office.

I agree with Tina... ABC is premature in cancelling the show. This is the only show I watch on the major networks... guess I won't be watching anything on ABC now. Just glad that "Breaking Bad" and March Madness is getting ready to start. Do not and will not watch those "reality" shows. Perhaps HBO will pick up "Life on Mars"... we can only hope.

I agree with Tina... ABC was premature in cancelling the show. This is the only show I watch on the major networks. Guess I won't be watching ABC now. I do not and will not watch those "reality" shows. Just glad that "Breaking Bad" and March Madness is getting ready to start.

Life on Mars is our favorite show this year with interesting plots and terrific music. As part of a baby booming generation, I suggest ABC very carefully follows this group rather than cater to the realty cheap production cost shows. We have a substantial number of us who have come from a revolutionary climate of change and fairness. There are a substantial number of us who continue to spoil and support our kids,although they are in their late 20's and early 30's, who just might boycott ABC entirely for not enabling a well written and acting show to grow. Sometimes I wonder what would of happened to NBC's Seinfield, had thay only evaluated the show in it's first year.

Don't upset the boomers, we still have the abilty to change culture like before.

Life on Mars is our favorite show this year with interesting plots and terrific music. As part of a baby booming generation, I suggest ABC very carefully follows this group rather than cater to the realty cheap production cost shows. We have a substantial number of us who have come from a revolutionary climate of change and fairness. There are a substantial number of us who continue to spoil and support our kids,although they are in their late 20's and early 30's, who just might boycott ABC entirely for not enabling a well written and acting show to grow. Sometimes I wonder what would of happened to NBC's Seinfield, had thay only evaluated the show in it's first year.

Don't upset the boomers, we still have the abilty to change culture like before.

Life on Mars is our favorite show this year with interesting plots and terrific music. As part of a baby booming generation, I suggest ABC very carefully follows this group rather than cater to the realty cheap production cost shows. We have a substantial number of us who have come from a revolutionary climate of change and fairness. There are a substantial number of us who continue to spoil and support our kids,although they are in their late 20's and early 30's, who just might boycott ABC entirely for not enabling a well written and acting show to grow. Sometimes I wonder what would of happened to NBC's Seinfield, had thay only evaluated the show in it's first year.

Don't upset the boomers, we still have the abilty to change culture like before.

Wow, canceling the show, I think this decision is premature, but then again this show is too smart for ABC, it belongs on HBO where it could be a bit grittier.

Wow, canceling the show, I think this decision is premature, but then again this show is too smart for ABC, it belongs on HBO where it could be a bit grittier.

What reality show are they planning to replace Life with? No wonder viewers are going to channels like History, A&E and others instead of the 4 national channels. They are doing it to themselves. Maybe Obama will pass a law making it manditory to watch the other crap the national offer us.

 
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