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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)

LIFE ON MARS - GREAT SHOW TOO BAD ITS ENDING. THE ONLY PART I DONT LIKE IS THAT ITS ON TOO LATE. THE INTERESTING SHOWS THEY TAKE OFF THE AIR. I JUST ORDERED A DVR FOR THIS SHOW.

It is a shame. It's the only network show my wife and I regularly watch. Only other regular is an HBO series.

Life on Mars is a clever, well-acted show with incredible set dressing and attention to detail. Unbelievable and heartbreaking that is has been cancelled. There is so much mindless pap on TV, and losing a show with a bit of substance is a cryin' shame.

Sad that it didn't pick up the numbers needed. I guess we are just not the target audience. It sure brings back memories. I , too, am very glad that the producers and writers are getting a chance to wrap it up for us.

I love this show and hope that it will be picked up by an "off-net" channel or internet, which is where we'll ultimately have to turn for creativity.

I heard tonight from a friend who is also a wather of Life on Mars that the show is to be cancelled. I was very upset to hear of this news. It seems everytime that I get interested in a really GOOD show, like Ocotober Road this happens! It makes me not even want to waste my time watcing any new shows. As far as I am concerned these are two of the best series that I have ever watched. I was really upset when October Road left us high and dry. It is such a sad shame that Life on Mars was not given a decent chance!

I love this show. Hopefully another channel will pick it up or perhaps we'll find a new television horizon on the internet. The wild wild west of the internet, where creativity can still flourish.

The only reason I watched ABC was because of LOST, and Life on Mars. I was in heaven when they put Life on Mars right after LOST! Two great hours of great television. ABC are IDIOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FOR CANCELLING THIS SHOW! TV executives would rather have low-cost crappy reality shows instead of thought-provoking, interesting escapism. Sorry ABC, but I don't think I could ever stand to watch your network again.

Please, someone in cable land, pick up this show! I see EMMY's for you in the future!

I feel cheated. My husband read about the cancelation on his comic book blogs & told me. I am broken hearted! How can any one not see what a great show this is? Could another network pick this up?

Canceled. Best show on TV and canceled. Its no wonder the country is going down the tubes. Dosnt seem anyone can make a sound decison. Half the wealth of the country is gone because of bad decisions. Here is another one...........pfft

I was really sorry to hear that this show was being canceled. I just started watching it a few weeks ago, staying tuned after "Lost". I was hooked immediately-intriguing story line, great cast. Oh well, ABC does it again. Add this one to the pile of good well written shows that ask just a little of their viewers... I guess it's not "Dancing with the Stars" or "The Batchelor"...duh!

They had to pull this show because they need to make room for all the other great shows in their line-up. Coming up will be "Cupid", wherein the hero may or may not be a mythological god, here on earth ang in the hunt for chicks. Actually, it takes on serious themes, so you are expected to really suspend disbelief. Don't worry, the pain won't last. They only shot seven episodes before pulling the plug, and it hasn't even aired yet. Then they'll trot out their new cop drama "The Unusuals", all about an outpost NYPD precinct of cops with bizarre personal traits. With great stuff like this in the wings, who's got time to let a story develop?

Maybe NBC has the right idea. Give up primetime and just put on endless celebrity talk shows.

They had to pull this show because they need to make room for all the other great shows in their line-up. Coming up will be "Cupid", wherein the hero may or may not be a mythological god, here on earth ang in the hunt for chicks. Actually, it takes on serious themes, so you are expected to really suspend disbelief. Don't worry, the pain won't last. They only shot seven episodes before pulling the plug, and it hasn't even aired yet. Then they'll trot out their new cop drama "The Unusuals", all about an outpost NYPD precinct of cops with bizarre personal traits. With great stuff like this in the wings, who's got time to let a story develop?

Maybe NBC has the right idea. Give up primetime and just put on endless celebrity talk shows.

C'mon ABC! I hope a cable network picks up LIfe on Mars. Too bad ABC parked it on vacation over the holidays. This is a show that deserved more support from the network. The cast is a creative joy ride and I will miss Life on Mars. Good job everyone, better luck in the future!

I cannot believe they are cutting this show; it has a great cast, an indepth storyline, and quite frankly, I find it extremely entertaining. Im not exactly sure what ABC is thinking on this one...

As I grow tired of Grey's Anatomy and their obsession with death stories, I have become addicted to Life on Mars as it brings ME back to '73. Great story, engaging actors and a reason to fill up the Tivo. I especially enjoy the nuances that people who were hip in 73 would recognize, like sniffing the copy paper from the mimeograph.
What a drag, I don't watch that much TV any more and this was a bright spot for me.

the show was a good idea, but it should have been on HBO, then it would have had less network interference and harvey keitel could have cut loose and been used to the best of his talents. also they fell off the wagon as far as the classic rock was concerned in mid season, but nice to see they are back to it now. also although the show tries to be 1973 consistent sometimes they slip and mess up on authenticity. on tonights episode there was a news van that said channel 3 on the side. NY in 1973 had no channel 3. stuff like that...

not to despair david milch has a cop show set in the 1970 coming out on HBO later in the year, lets hope this one sticks...

I LOVE this show. I also liked "Dirty, Sexy Money," "Pushing Daisies"- I must be death to good TV. Thank goodness "Friday Night Lights" was saved- maybe the producers of "Life on Mars" can try the same thing. Shows are on, they're off, there's a strike, there's this, there's that... I give up. These shows are all so well done and unlike any of the other crap that is out there. I give up.

I am very very very sad right now that this show is gonna end :( I want to see more of Sam and the rest of the gang! Uggh. Crappy shows like Wife Swap and Super Nanny is still going on but this masterpiece is getting cancelled? Gimme a break!

I absolutely fell in love with this show in the first 2 minutes! The music is perfect for the story lines every week! Perfect choices of music and props! The acting is great! I love a good show that makes you think, feel, and relate at some level. I believe this show has done that. Right along with "October road"! (miss that one!) Also miss "Men in Trees"!
I love Harvey Keitel, James O'mara and all the good guys and No-nutts! She is actually quite HOT!
It's clever.........it makes you think! I think having it play right after "LOST" was smart!
Some of the networks need to get rid of the (crap) reality shows and keep these good shows that most of the world can relate to!
Do we still care about Brett Michaels getting laid.........or Tyra Banks finding the next new TOP MODEL? Or Teila tequila finding a guy or girl, or bisexual identical twins looking for a guy/girl! ?Maybe it's just me, but i find these shows to be entertaining once around, but then redundant and shallow!
If i could make a wish, i would wish for "Life on Mars" to continue on and bring back "October Road"

Peace out!

Awesome show! PERFECT 70's music! Great acting, great cast.
I think the problem lies with too many crappy reality shows on tv that should go! How many times do we want to see Brett get laid? Or Telia Tequila find her "Soul-mate" and break up 2 months later and then find her next "soul-mate"(AT our expense of many hours of senseless TV)and be turned down!??? Or how many TOP models does Tyra have to pick? Come on people, get your mind working and watch a good show with some romance, sex, action, drinks, cigars, violence, and drama, and best of all, the soundtrack is superb!
This show has it all!!!!!!! KEEP it please!!!!! While your at it, bring back "October Road"!

P.S. Challenge:
name one TV show that you can hear "The Sweet", "T-REX, "David Bowie", "The Who", "Guess Who", "Tommy James and the Shondelsls"....and so on!

Peace out my friends!

 
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