On a few blocks of Keap Street in Williamsburg yesterday it was 1973. No it wasn’t a highly localized distortion of the space time continuum, but the US version of Life on Mars filming.
The show, based on the brilliant BBC show of the same name, will follow NYPD Detective Sam Tyler (Jason O'Mara) who wakes up in 1973 after a car accident and has to deal with 1970s policing techniques and an old style cop named Gene Hunt (Harvey Keitel) leading a team of detectives including one played by Michael Imperioli.
However, the American version of show has gotten off to a rocky start. The original Los Angeles set and filmed pilot, backed by David E. Kelly, featured O’Mara as Tyler and Star Trek veteran Colm Meaney as Hunt. Something was definitely lost in translation with a version that was leaked onto the Internet.
A new production team took over and thanks to some incentives signed into law by Governor Paterson, the show shifted coasts and as side benefits the show was able to tap the deeper pool of New York acting talent and have the city act as another character.
During the filming yesterday, the only stars visible were Keitel and O’Mara, but there was a fleet of vintage cars complete with vintage license plates and inspection stickers to provide a proper seventies feel. The only give away would be the modern white on green street signs instead of the period signs which were color coded by borough, although a crew member said they would likely be digitally added in post production.
So will the show wind up like so many other terrific British programmes that didn't make it over the pond properly? We'll find out when the show debuts on October 9th at 10 p.m on ABC.