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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)

I say boycott ABC they kill all the good shows dirty sexy money,pushing daisy now life on mars
I know that I will not be watching any on of the new shows coming on ABC
they don't listen to the people they have a guy with a dart board to say which shows stay and go
I am sticking with Direct TV and NBC and boycotting ABC by way of there sponsors and I would say everyone should do this.

I say boycott ABC they kill all the good shows dirty sexy money,pushing daisy now life on mars
I know that I will not be watching any on of the new shows coming on ABC
they don't listen to the people they have a guy with a dart board to say which shows stay and go
I am sticking with Direct TV and NBC and boycotting ABC by way of there sponsors and I would say everyone should do this.

How sad! Life on Mars is a wonderful show with amazing acting and story lines. As a "baby boomer" going back to 1973 with this cast of characters was like visiting an old friend. My husband and I loved this show. Television is a constant glut of insipid reality shows like Dancing With the Stars...I guess it's back to HBO for us. Is the American public really that stupid that they can't support a great show like Life on Mars and puts American Idol at the top of the ratings every week or America's Top Model goes on one dreary season after another!

This show was one of the best for ABC. Well written. Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli & Jason O'Mara are the best things to happen to cop shows since Hill Street Blues. Hopefully Mars gets a look by cable network who sees the value in having such a series.


I am so upset this is cancelled. I looked forward to watching it everytime.................. POO

BIG SURPRISE! Once again, another of my favorite shows canceled by ABC. It seems I can't get into a single show anymore that it's not canceled! Maybe I just need to stick to HBO. The major networks are a joke!

Who do we talk to about this....I mean come on, this is a great show. The cast is awesome and there have been some really good episodes out there.

Pleeeezzz don't let this show end!! Why are all these "Reality Shows" surviving and along
comes a fantastic show like Life on Mars with the great tunes, and 70's sayings, 70's fashions and good story lines leaving??? Lots of Baby Boomers will certainly miss this show!!

What in the world do these TV executives want? This show has great acting, great writing, and a fresh premise on time travel that doesn't have multiple, confusing trips back and forth through time.

You can't rely on your onslaught of self-promoting spots to get new viewers. You need to let good shows mature and allow the viewers to spread the word to get the numbers you are expecting.

Someone out there needs to start a network that can pick these shows up that get killed too early and run them all. Pushing Daisies, Journeyman, Life On Mars . . .


This is the same thing every season. I hear about a show with a great concept. I watch it, I like it, it gets cancelled, and I feel cheated, while 80% of the rest of the audience get all their stupid reality shows, talent shows, game shows, and CW college-dropout-mentality melodramas. Broadcast TV's a fickle bitch.
R.I.P. 'Life On Mars', 'My Own Worst Enemy', 'Journeyman', 'Jericho', 'The Nine', 'Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip', 'Day Break', 'Reunion', and many other shows that tried to provide something interesting and innovative in an otherwise barren entertainment wasteland.

The writing and the production value was getting increasingly better. I hope the producers have a escape clause written in, maybe a cable network will pick it up. Great sound track, good acting and set design. There is a great potential audience out there with all the baby boomers, too bad ABC didn't give it time to build a audience and at least give it a shot at a second season

I can't believe Life on Mars is being canceled! This show is fantastic, so much better than all the reality garbage that's being tossed around. I'm disappointed that it will not be continuing. What a great cast of characters, there is so much more to explore of their lives, it could go so much further.

I love this show and am so upset they are pulling the plug. I think the issue with the show is that its a remake. They really did not do much from the BBC version. If you watched that one the element of suprise is gone. I liked the BBC Gene Hunt better than Harvey Keitel. It would have been nice to see Michael Imperioli used more. The music is great! Plus I used to watch OZ on HBO. Its nice to see many of those actors making apperances in this show. My favorite episode was the one he encountered his father.

PLease someone pick this show up.

we luv this show.ABC sucks.music was great,the star of the show was gorgeous,nothing but crap on tv.liked the fact it was on after "LOST,had 2 shows to watch.KINKS songs i havent heard in 20yrs.too smart for abc,whoever cancelled this show should be "TARRED&FEATHERED".

This show was great,star was gorgeous,kinks,t-rex songs,i loved october rd too.what is going on?

I just found this show 3 weeks ago! My husband & 18 yr old son have started to watch and we all really enjoy it. Best part is the 70's-my husband & I graduated in 75 & 79, so the music, cars are great. The clothes-well it is as it was. I really wish someone else would pick this up, I think if it had ads that show cased the music & cars first, then the story line it would pull in many more baby boomers-and don't we have what little $ there is to spend out there? Having Harvey Keitel as Captain is a wonderful casting job. Though most of what is shown is not "PC", it is entertaining, and I for one am sick of all the PC correct pussy that now are in charge. If someone had the "stones" at ABC, they would give this show another chnace & market it with the music & muscle cars-the way the 70's truely were.

ABC is rubbish anyways, without Lost, Life On Mars they would be completely useless the president of abc is a spanner wouldnt know a good show if it hit him in his fat face this was the best cast on TV and its a shame kudos to the cast and crew you lot were brilliant i would say it was even better than the orignal BBc version


I am fascinated by time travel tv shows/ would have loved to see the characters in 2009, capt. retired, Michael Imperio with only daughters now grown up top in their professions.and Annie Chief.

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