Life on Mars is an American science fiction crime drama television series co-produced by Kudos Film & Television, 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios as a remake of the British series of the same name, about a New York City homicide detective who suddenly finds himself inexplicably transported from 2008 to 1973.
The series aired in the USA on ABC from 9 October, 2008 to 1 April, 2009. It was not renewed for a second season. There are 17 hour-long episodes in the series.
The series originally aired in South Africa on DStv's M-Net Action channel from 14 January to 6 May, 2010. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Life on Mars premiered on TopTV's Fox FX channel on Wednesday 28 July 2010, at 20h30. New episodes broadcast weekly.
NYPD Detective Sam Tyler finds himself in 1973 in the cultural hotbed of New York City during the tumultuous times of the Vietnam War, Watergate, women's lib and the civil and gay rights movements without a cell phone or computer - suddenly hurtled back in time, ripped from 2008 after being hit by a car while chasing down a criminal.
He's trying mightily to understand what's just happened to him and how he can get back "home," on the premiere of Life on Mars.
In the premiere episode, "Out Here in the Fields," NYPD detectives Sam Tyler and Maya Daniels, partners on and off the beat, are in hot pursuit of Colin Raimes for the murder of a young woman.
A questionable alibi forces them to let Raimes go, but when the couple has a personal falling out, Maya, unconvinced of Raimes' innocence, goes it alone to track him down.
Sam, scared for her safety, desperately searches for Maya and is hit by a car.
Regaining consciousness, he's mysteriously back in 1973 New York, now assisting a new, tough and politically incorrect precinct boss, Lieutenant Gene Hunt, and the other squad members in searching for a killer who seems to use identical methods to those of Raimes.
Is this why he was sent back in time? Will it help him save Maya? And will he ever get back to 2008?
Sam feels like he's on a different planet. It's the Wild West out there - uncontrollable criminals, police on the take.
Forced to use a different moral code and without hi-tech crime fighting techniques, he clashes with his new boss at the 125th Precinct, the irascible Lt. Hunt, who would rather use his fists than his brains to solve a crime.
The other squad members of the 1-2-5 include Detective Ray Carling, a big, mean guy in a street-fight with life. Ray may be a rough, tough sexist, but he's a handy guy to have in your corner.
Annie Norris is a member of the Police Women's Bureau. At a time when females were only allowed to do menial tasks and not real police work, she's the smartest person in the room.
Annie struggles to deal with being undermined, under-used and, in general, against the sexism of the times, even while she dreams of becoming a real cop. She's also the one person Sam can turn to for help in guiding him in his new reality.
Then there's rookie Detective Chris Skelton, a sweet guy trying to make it in this uncompromising world, but out of his league right now with Gene and Ray.
Just how will Sam deal with all this ambiguity while trying to remain a top detective, as he desperately attempts to get back to 2008?
He might just find things aren't so dissimilar in New York circa 1973 and 2008.
There are 17 hour-long episodes in one season
Channel: M-Net Action | Premiere: 14 Jan 2010 | Finale: 6 May 2010 | Thursdays, 19h00
Channel: Fox FX | Premiere: 28 Jul 2010 | Finale: 17 Nov 2010 | Wednesdays, 20h30