Don’t Let “Mars” Get Lost in Space
There are hostage situations and there are hostage situations. Last week’s—on “Tuesday’s Dead”—was quite unusual in that, in at least Sam’s mind, his life as a non-hostage at a Manhattan hospital was on the line. It all started one morning in the squad room, when he answered a phone and it was his 2008 mother, giving the docs permission to pull the plug on a comatose Sam at 2:00 that afternoon. Not good news for ol’ Sammy: He correlated his situation in 2008 with his situation in 1973. In other words, if the 1973 hostages in die, then the 2008 Sam will die too. Then, while in the 1973 psych ward, he sees his 2008 girlfriend Maya as a soap opera (“As the World Turns,” I think) TV character who’s hovering over her boyfriend in the hospital and in a coma.
See, this is just one of the unique scenarios that makes this show so unlike the other crapola on TV these days. That a clever and original show like “Mars” is not attracting a sustainable audience floors me. Same thing with Fox’s “Keen Eddie,” whose life was cruelly cut short. So many other dramas, especially the procedurals such as the “CSIs,” “Without A Trace” and “Numbers,” are getting quite monotonous. “Life on Mars” is fresh blood!
And here’s another reason to love life on “Mars”: Besides being set in New York City, it’s also filmed there. “NYPD Blue” was a superb NYC-set show filmed in L.A., yet imagine how much better it would have been had the exterior sets not been a studio back lot in L.A. There is no substitute for Manhattan seeing the East River or the Manhattan skyline in the background, or filming on a street that doesn’t end in a dead end like so many streets on Hollywood back lots do. The City of New York is one of the characters on the show.
Anyway, some of Sam’s references to 2008 were saying “outside the box,” “shock and awe” and “tool,” and calling a squad typewriter “a stupid piece of crap analog machine” and busting some Michael Jackson dance moves (including, of course, the moon walk). P.S.: Rockland County’s Bill Irwin played the psych ward’s psychosurgeon Dr. Schwahn.
Here’s the episode’s song rundown, courtesy of ABC: “Sweet Lucy” The Propositions, “We’re An American Band” Grand Funk Railroad, “Going to Make a Time Machine” The Majestic Arrows and “Tuesday’s Dead” Cat Stevens.
Tonight (10:01-11:00), on “The Man Who Sold the World,” when the baby of a prominent family is kidnapped for ransom, Sam is shocked to discover that his own father, Vic (played by Dean Winters, who was Denis Leary’s brother on “Rescue Me”), may be involved. Sam was only 4 when his father abruptly skipped town under mysterious circumstances back in 1973. Was Sam sent back in time to stop his father from leaving his family? Vic agrees to cooperate with the squad in order to retrieve the missing baby, but the deeper Sam gets into his father’s world, the closer he gets to uncovering some dark, sordid truths, compelling him to face long suppressed childhood memories. His discovery culminates in a shattering face-off, after which Sam will never be the same. Don’t miss it!
(Photos: ABC/Patrick Harbron and John Clifford)