"Can a series finale make a show jump the shark?" asks my colleague Mickey O'Connor, referring to ABC's wackadoo Life on Mars wrap-up, in which we discover that time-traveling cop Sam Tyler is actually an astronaut from the year 2035 on his way to Mars. Cue the David Bowie; it's going to be a wild ride.
You see, in order to make the two-year-long journey more bearable, the astronauts upload a type of virtual-reality vacation for the brain. In Sam's case, he thought it would be cool to be a cop "way back" in 2008. But of all the luck, the ship hit an asteroid field or something, which rejiggered the program's calendar, sending Future Sam even further back into the past — to 1973.
Nevertheless, there are some nice touches. Tyler's copilots on the 2035 Mars probe are played by the same actors from the 125, including Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol and Harvey Keitel — who, it's revealed, is actually Sam's father. But otherwise, the finale reveals that the entire show as we knew it was a fiction. All those cases and characters and complications never existed. (Poor Lisa Bonet!)
What did you think of the Life on Mars finale? Refreshingly original or an idea past its time?