Life on Mars, US style

The revamped pilot (with Harvey Keitel, no less, as Gene Hunt) airs next Thursday. Io9 has a puff piece about it, with this interesting tidbit:

In the British version, Sam has really only three options for what’s happening: he’s time-traveled, he’s in a coma and dreaming, or he’s gone insane. But the American version will add another 10 possibilities, for a total of 13. Including the idea that Sam is dead and in purgatory. At the start of the second episode, Annie walks in on Sam writing all 13 possibilities on a chalkboard. And the show’s first 13 episodes will each explore one of those possibilities. “In the second episode, there’ll be a visitor that will come into Sam’s life that alone will open up the mystery significantly,” says Appelbaum.

Place your bets! (I’m hoping for this.)

14 thoughts on “Life on Mars, US style

  1. I actually think that’s a good idea. I hope one of the possibilities explored is the one I think is real – that Sam is in a TV show.

  2. I certainly have difficulty seeing how they could give the original premise the longevity that US network TV demands. But I have to admit, I’m having trouble coming up with another ten possible explanations for his situation. So far I’ve got:

    Time travel
    Coma dream
    Simulation/omega point

    And, as you suggest, a Truman Show-style setup. I’m sure there must be at least three or four obvious possibilities I’m missing, but that still doesn’t get me anywhere near thirteen …

  3. Truman Show is another one, but I meant that Sam is coming to realise that he’s actually a character on a TV show for real – not a person at all. He doesn’t have any real existence. And paradoxically he’s only becoming enlightened because the scriptwriters are writing him that way. It’s a sort of Calvinist Buddhism :-)

  4. Maybe it’s all a game (as in Game.

    You’re too quick to limit ‘it’s a TV show’ options to a Truman-Show-style-setup. It might be more metafictional than that; a Typewriter in the Sky recursive exercise. Or maybe he’s stumbled into another show: Quantum Leap for instance, and Scott Bakula is about to walk through the door.

    Maybe he’s been in a coma for a hundred years, and futuristic historians are poking his brains with electrodes to uncover interesting facts about the past.

    Maybe he’s been asleep for two hundred years and has actually woken up … except that, by strange chance, the year 2200 exactly resembles the year 1970.

    Maybe he has died and been reincarnated in the past: or maybe these events are a race memory stored in his mitochondrial DNA.

    Or maybe he is God, and doesn’t realise it: the amnesiac God, who creates and extinguishes environments around himself in a bumbling attempt to recover his lost memories.

  5. Bizarre drug trip, bodyswap, alien abduction, or maybe he will walk into the ladies’ loos and destroy the simulation.

  6. I like the ones suggested by commentators from my f-list: hyper-realistic computer game, robot in Westworld-style seventies-themed theme park, Sam is just pretending to be from the future.

    Or what about that Philip K Dick type thing – it’s always been the seventies and it always will be the seventies ‘The Empire Never Ended’ but the grey reality has been smeared over with a superficial future. Or something.

  7. Thanks for the link Jimmy! That clip has me even more excited for this premiere.
    I love the Truman Show idea… I am hoping this show is like LOST. I have seen it advertised as LOST meets NYPD blue. I can use a LOST llike show while waiting for season 5.

  8. I just watched the preview also on YouTube and am excited for Life On Mars. As for the 13 possibilities, I’ll leave that up to the writers and producers to play out for me, but I’m thinking he’s in a coma. That would add a great spin for season 2 when he’s out of the coma and has to readjust to life!

  9. As a public service, here are the 13 possibilities:

    1. Coma
    2. Time travel
    3. Different planet
    4. Extraterrestrials
    5. Mind experiment
    6. Heaven/hell/purgatory
    7. Insanity
    8. Brain tumor
    9. Virtual reality
    10. Multi-dimensional travel

    No. 6 apparently counts for three, even though effectively they all mean the same: dead. In fact, there’s a lot of overlap between these ten options. How you’d get to a different planet without extraterrestrial involvement, for example, I have no idea, and for the purposes of this discussion insanity and a brain tumor are the same thing, not to mention that anything that falls under the category of mind experiment is almost certainly either a drug trip or a virtual reality.

  10. Actually, I see that I left drug trip off the list (in the episode it came second, between coma and time travel). Which means that there are either 11 or 14 options on this list, not 13.

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