For decades now, American TV has adapted some of the better British shows. The one that comes to my mind immediately is Man About The House which we know as Three’s Company. There have been more successes, but there have been some flops as well — Coupling comes to mind, which was a smash in the UK, but fizzled out very quickly here. Recently the hit series Life on Mars was adapted for American TV and sadly lasted for only 17 episodes.
The series follows New York City homicide detective Sam Tyler (Jason O’Mara) who is tracking down a criminal in 2008 when he is hit by a car. When he comes to he somehow finds himself transported back to 1973. The series combines a number of genres including science fiction, thriller, and police drama as well as being a period piece.
Tyler has to determine why he was sent back to the '70s -- is it real, a dream, or something else? He goes to where his police department was in 2008 and must deal with how the police were in the '70s. He finds things are done much differently and works with Lt. Gene Hunt (Harvey Keitel) who hits first and asks questions later. There’s also Detective Ray Carling (Michael Imperioli) who calls Tyler “Spaceman” (that’s a clue to the end of the series) and Policewoman Annie Norris (Gretchen Mol) who is nicknamed "No Nuts Norris" by her co-workers.
I won’t do a comparison of the original to the American version for a number of reasons, including the fact that I’ve only seen the first series of the UK version and am eagerly looking forward to the final season. But I like both shows. I do think the UK version is a bit better, but both have great casts and deal with time in the 1970s in a great way.