So in the end, Life on Mars was all just one big gene hunt? Or, better yet, it was an April Fools' day joke with an elaborate six-month long setup. (You know the drill, spoilers to follow.)
Figures that the uncreative minds that brought you the horrible October Road would think a literal interpretation of the show's title would be clever. You see, this is all a mental simulation for an astronaut who's part of a search for life on mars, get it? Going on a gene hunt, get it? Groan. All season long, there was back and forth between hokey and inspired work, and I'd almost forgotten about the terrible OR, but with the last Oz reference ("I'm going to miss you most of all, Scarecrow"), the show jumped us to hokey town. Even the last minute literary reference of Gulliver's Travels turned out to be a red herring.
I'm still steaming mad that I followed this the whole season, even after cancellation, to come to an ending so moronic. It's a slap in the face. Fittingly enough, today comes news that the original series will finally get a region-appropriate DVD release here in the United States (July 28, available today for pre-order). Silver lining, small favors, blah blah blah.
One saving grace of the finale were the inspired scenes that used Elton John's "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters." It was pretty much the whole song running along the scenes, like a classic Cameron Crowe montage or something, where our protagonist contemplates and makes a decision, leading to our Sam and Annie moment ("And I thank the Lord for the people I have found"). But that was just the drive up to the scenic cliff, and what followed drove us off it, passing the finales for St. Elsewhere and Dallas on our descent. At least it was unforgettable, I'll give them that much.
Life on Mars - 1.17
Previously: There's No Place Like Home (Episode 1.16)