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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

prepare yourself: the American ‘Life on Mars’ is landing (and so is ‘Eleventh Hour’)

The American Life on Mars debuts tomorrow night at 10pm Eastern on ABC. I’m all stocked up on the liquor I’ll need to get through it. This “sneak preview” makes me cringe:


It’s like a horrible nightmarish mirror image of the British show, kinda like how Tina Fey “imitates” Sarah Palin by simply saying exactly what Sarah Palin says, exactly the way she says it, except the other way around. ABC appears to have decided to find out what would happen if Sarah Palin imitated Tina Fey, and I’ll tell you what it looks like from here: pointless, unfunny, calculated, and charmless.

It makes me want to cry. But I’ll watch anyway, because I want to be proven wrong.

Oh, and as if Life on Mars-U.S. weren’t apparent insult enough, at the exact same time that show it is unspooling on ABC, CBS will be doing the exact same thing with Eleventh Hour, a new American adaptation of the ITV series of the same name. While CBS assures us “it’s a masterpiece,” I think I’ll hold off judgment on that till I can see how it differs, if at all, from the British series, which is, indeed, pretty darn gripping.

Ah, there is one glaringly obvious difference: the American show stars Rufus Sewell, who’s fine, but he’s no Patrick Stewart, who starred in the British original, as I think this makes clear:

I honestly don’t get it: Why don’t the American networks simply air the British shows? The Brits are able to cope, somehow, with American accents — is it really too much to expect that American audiences will be able to cope with British ones?



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