DVD review: Life on Mars series 2

by Matthew Price Modified: April 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm •  Published: November 27, 2009
Time-displaced police detective Sam Tyler returns in series 2 of “Life on Mars,” in which he’s still trying to determine the circumstances that have the modern-era man living in 1973. Acorn Media’s DVD release contains all eight episodes of the second series of the U.K. drama.

After an accident in 2006, Sam (John Simm, “Doctor Who”) finds himself a Manchester police detective in 1973, his modern sensibilities often putting him in conflict with his boss, the brash detective chief inspector Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister).

In the first series, Sam’s time displacement was his primary concern. By the second series, Sam has become more at home in 1973, and while he has conflicts with Hunt and with brutish co-worker Ray Carling (Dean Andrews), the police officers of 1973 have grown to give Sam a grudging respect. (Of course, they don’t know he’s from the future — his often unusual ways are believed to be a by-product of his being a transfer from Hyde.)

Annie Cartwright (Liz White) becomes the first female detective inspector in Manchester in series 2, and is a key contributor to solving cases. Her willingness to listen to Sam and her ability to handle the often-churlish attitudes of the precinct are among her best qualities.

Whether Sam is truly in 1973, or in a delusion caused by his coma, is played close to the vest by series creators Matthew Graham, Tony Jordan and Ashley Pharoah, making viewers wait until the very end for a resolution. Overall, “Life on Mars” Series 2 is an excellent conclusion to a top-notch series.

Extras include a 45-minute documentary, “The Return of Life on Mars;” a 30-minute reflection on the last episode, “The End of Life on Mars,” behind-the-scenes footage and a tour of the sets.

— Matthew Price

by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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