You all know that I was rooting 100% for the US version of LIFE ON MARS to take hold and become the hit that it so desperately deserved to be. This wasn’t a COUPLING disaster; it was an OFFICE kind of remake, and it should have found solid footing. Sadly, that wasn’t the case, and we’ll see our final LIFE ON MARS starring Jason O’Mara air tomorrow night on ABC after an all new LOST.
Executive Producers Scott Rosenberg and Josh Appelbaum had a few minutes to chat with me about what’s to come, why they’re happy they got the wrap-up, and what they want to say to all the fans that stuck with the show!
I just finished watching last week’s episode for the second time, I can’t get enough! Trying to get as much as possible before it sadly goes.
Josh: Oh that’s great!
Scott: That was a good one, wasn’t it?
It was so good, it’s a shame that not enough people were watching to experience it with me. I guess the big question I have coming up on what is being called the series finale, what did you feel you had to change to wrap things up?
Josh: We really, we always knew, in building what we thought at first was a season finale, there was always going to be a real culmination to it, and we were going to have some big reveals by the end of it. The majority of the episode you are going to see on Wednesday, was what we had always planned. It’s pretty much in the final act. I would say the last 7 or 8 minutes of the show where it really takes a turn. There’s this great, sort of energized story that we kick off within Wednesday’s episode, there was no reason to change it because it totally fits into the themes of where the series was going, so it’s really just the last 7 or 8 minutes that change.
Did it help knowing you were ending versus ending with some big cliffhanger and being stuck with that?
Josh: We basically had engineered in our minds a season finale and a series finale. We sort of knew both. We went to ABC and we said, the ratings are grim. The last thing we want is to shoot a season finale with all the requisite cliffhangers and get cancelled, because we’ve lived in this world before, we did the show OCTOBER ROAD which got cancelled before we could answer some of the questions. That didn’t have like humongous mythological elements to it, but we still felt slightly unsatisfied that we didn’t answer it. And certainly our fans were. With this one, it was sort of a similar thing. We went to ABC and they said, you know what, it’s not looking good, so shoot a series finale. To their credit, it’s not something they usually do. Usually everybody waits until May to hear their fate, because nobody wants to show anybody what cards they’re dealing. As much as it was crushing and devastating to us to get the answer, getting the answer allowed us to wrap it up, and now this thing sort of exists as a 17 hour miniseries, if you will. At least, that’s how we’re rationalizing it.
You also look at the British version of the show, and it ran successfully in a contained set of episodes.
Scott: Their series was 16 episodes in all, and we’ll have 17 [laughs].
I’m a big fan of both, and loved the way you made this version your own. Was there anything that, looking back, you wish had a chance to do this season?
Scott: I think with anything, I can only speak for myself, but with this amazing ensemble, obviously, the show is so much through Sam Tyler’s eyes, we were spending so much time servicing him. If we had been able to live on through him through the years, to more seasons, we would have spent more time with Michael Imperioli’s character, Harvey Keitel’s character, Gretchen Mol’s character. All those characters, I wish we could have explored them more, but at the same time, there’s sort of a cohesion to how it all plays out by the end of Wednesday night’s episode.
There are a lot of shows these days that have been cancelled prematurely, that have gone onto a different iteration / medium. Has there been any talk of something else, graphic novel, etc?
Scott: It’s not something that’s been brought up to us, or frankly that we’ve thought much about. I think what we are at peace with is the fact that these 17 hours will now exist on DVD. Maybe be running on cable channels until the end of time, and it will be this satisfying 17 hours experience that has a beginning, middle, and end, yet still leaves room for interpretation as to what some of the pieces in between meant. In some ways, it feels like to continue to bilk more out of it, almost doesn’t do justice to the time we spent working on it with that team.
What would you say to fans that did stick with you, that are running the fan campaigns, that are sad to see this go?
Scott: I would say thank you, and I really wish you had told more of your friends.