Life On Mars: Series 1 makes its American DVD debut courtesy of the fine folks at Acorn Media in a four-disc set housing all eight uncut episodes. The video quality here is quite rewarding 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with strong contrast and vibrant colors (BBC standards have come a long way in the last ten years). The sound is offered up in your choice of English 2.0 Stereo or 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround. Both tracks are quite strong, but should you have any difficulty with any of the accents (some people do, you know), the English subtitles (SDH) will come in handy.
A great show like this deserves a few special features. Thankfully, this set does not disappoint. There are audio commentaries with cast and crew for all eight episodes (something I haven’t seen done since Daybreak); an hour-long documentary “Take A Look At The Lawman” (also with cast and crew); an interview with director Bharat Nalluri; a couple of featurettes and, finally, an outtakes reel. As best I can tell, these features were also on the original U.K. DVD release of the series. Some of these bonus ditties look like they were filmed with a camcorder, so the quality is often less than what you’d expect, but there’s no use in complaining, gov.
The bottom line here: get it. Life On Mars: Series 1 is a well-acted, well-written trip with some fabulous chemistry between the actors (Simm and Glenister are the tops together). Fans of David Bowie will especially enjoy all of the references to the musician’s many songs. And, if you’re going to watch any of the remakes (especially the American one), by all means see this one first (it’s the decent thing to do).