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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)

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!

The English version was far better and had a stronger cast. Also didn't have to do go with the whole insanely long television season and was only 12 episodes long per season, cutting down on lame story lines. I gave the show a try and considering that the pilot for the US version was basically word for word from the UK pilot, the UK pilot was loads better.

Life On Mars UK > Life on Mars US. Sorry. And there's enough time traveling going on the hour before on LOST to keep that audience.

Having watched and loved the BBC original, I was surprised and then delighted to find that the show had been remade in the US and with a Dubliner in the lead role! I've been following this online ever since and have just become aware that the show will sadly, not be given a second series.

Is it naive of me to suggest that this show could be picked up by another network?


This was the only show I watched on ABC, and the fact that these idiots are pulling Life on Maras, proves why it's the worst commercial channel!
This is a great show, great writing, wonderful cast, intirguing plot lines . . .
It's appalling, how dumb, just plain dumb, those ABCers are! How could the show get its legs, when it was pulled mid-season?
We can only hope Life on Mars finds a home on cable . . . it truly deserves another chance.
With thanks to the producers, writers, and cast.

Figures.. ABC is my least favorite network...The only show I do like on ABC is "life on mars"...So I guess ABC is afraid to take a chance on anything but, soap operas and bad reality series. Just saying.

I watched the original show and it was gripping and what an ending. I watched one episode of the american version and it was embarrassing. Americans have great tv shows, in fact some of the best i have seen as have the UK. Why oh why do we have to remake each others already classic shows. Remember american red dwarf?. A word to the wise, if it is not broken then dont fix it !!.


I'm at a loss as to how this show couldn't have been given the opportunity of at least one more season to succeed. The cast is excellent and the show offers up avenues for some great guest stars. I hate to see the show leave the air to the point that I may boycott the entire lineup on this particular network :-)

On second thought, I'm not just thinking about boycotting the network. I am Boycotting the network. This is the ONE show I look forward to watching all week and now it's being cancelled.
What a crock. Who decides this and how is the decision made??

I am very upset that this show is being cancelled. It has good writers, great story line, great actors, etc. It is entertaining.
Should have been given a chance.
Of course, they won't be able to bring it back if they end the story line -- too too bad.
People loose.
Instead they keep junk like the Bachelor on tv....which requires zero to no intelligence.
Junk wins.
Too bad.

Great show but to good for ABC. They need to appeal to the dumb ass masses.
I'll really miss this show, but I will really miss "no nuts Norris"

Really liked this show. Saw every episode. Thought writers were very creative and had interesting plots. Every week it left us guessing why he was there and if he'd find the clue to send him home. Hope the execs see these and give it another chance it deserves. Until then I'll continue to flip the channel looking for something to replace it.

Life on Mars was delightful in its multi-layered ways. I will miss a) seeing the Soprano malcontents on the right side of the law and b) enjoying the character-driven and social more humor. Great show.

sadly reality shows are cheap and easy for the networks as well as lazy viewers who unfortunately outnumber people who would rather watch a good show that requires the least amount of thought.

I am still in disbelief of all of this. I feel like the one who wrote I hate you ABC said it all! It wouldn't bother me to never watch ABC again. I did watch the Bachelor and at the end I thought of all the time I wasted watching it. October Road had to be my all time favorite show that I had ever watched. Now my family absolutly loves watching Life on Mars together. I can't say that about any other show on any other network. If cable were to pick up the show I would have to buy cable! What a WONDERFUL cast! We are loosing a brilliant show.

The original version of “Life on Mars” consisted of just 16 episodes. In fact the writers intentionally planned for only 16 episodes. The US series will have 17 episodes in total.

The Brits seem to understand that sometimes you should not exhaust a story just for the sake of keeping something on-air. When a good story is told right one can recognize that it is complete. Why risk insulting the intelligence an audience by belaboring the storyline if it no longer holds up? How long, really, can Sam’s story go on without some sort of solid explanation –an explanation that ties the whole plot together? At least this is a show that one can safely predict won’t “jump the shark”. And hey, maybe ABC is planning to air the sequel to “Life on Mars”, “Ashes to Ashes”?

I can't believe they are canceling this show! I am not a TV person but this show really captured my attention. Everyone I have talked to watched the show & loved it! I think it has fantastic writing & fantastic acting. Perhaps it could run on another network such as the SciFi channel or better yet HBO?? I will be boycotting ABC from now on. What a shame!

I agree with the above comment by Erica... If Shakespeare were living in America in our time, Romeo and Juliet would be in its 8th season on CBS having aired about 40 variations of "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back" . And it would continue on like that until we were just so sick of the show that we were cheering them on in the death scene. Lost should have taken a lesson from Mars. Lost started out great but they have overplayed their story and overstayed their welcome. At this point and time I hope the smoke monster wins.

What a shame, I'm from NY and this is a wonderful tv show. Great acting, great story line and ABC should be giving it a shot

AMEN to all of the comments...it seems as if network TV has their brains up their a#?@'s. First it was Jerico, Studio 60, Pushing Daisy's, Eli Stone and now Life on Mars. They wouldn't know a good show if it dropped out of space as a toilet (Dead Like Me). Sad state of human entertainment. I will dance a jig (and I'm not even Irish) when reality TV hits the skids. Shame on the TV execs for this.....No wonder your networks are failing....

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