I hear the British version, with a somewhat different story, is brilliant - and I look forward to seeing that - but the American version of Life of Mars brilliant was not. And that's saying a lot for me, because I'm always willing to give any story with even a whiff of time travel the benefit of the doubt, and usually much more.
Until the last few minutes of last night's finale, the episode did about the only thing the series was good at - providing brief instances of Sam's inexplicable, paradoxical life in 1973/2008-9. Last night had another compelling scene of adult Sam in 1973 watching himself on television in 2008 (taking care of an aged Norris), and a good exchange between adult Sam and his father in 1973, in which Sam's father says he knows that the adult Sam is his son. Gene (Harvey Keitel) and Ray (Michael Imperioli) were ok, but, as in the entire series, these two were acting way below their talent.
The denouement did wrap everything up, with some nice touches, but the "everything was just a dream" resolution, even when Sam is dreaming on a mission to Mars way in the future, is one of the tritest gambits in fiction and science fiction.
I'm glad the series tried to do something different, sorry it didn't do it better, and will look forward to seeing the British version when it's available in Region 1 DVD.
See also Life on Mars Debuts in America ... Life on Mars 2nd Episode in America: Coma, Time Travel, Mars Rover ... Life on Mars Goes On in America: What Happens When a Time Traveler Runs Into His Earlier Self? ... Life on Mars #4: All in the Family ... Life on Mars #5 Meets the Wire ... Life on Mars #6 Meets Itself on Television ... Life on Mars #7: Is Annie Real? ... Life on Mars Returns with a Glimmer of Sanity
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