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[Drama 2018] Life on Mars, 라이프 온 마스

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It's been a fantastic ride to watch this drama!

I was 100% confident in Lom team's (cast, crew, writers and producers) capacity to make the best possible adaptation, and i'm not surprised that they succeed so beautifully! I'm very happy that they have been rewarded by good ratings and are considering a season 2! :grin:

 

I didn't comment in the thread during the broadcast because it can be exhausting and i needed some time off the forum but i read all the thoughts and speculations and really enjoyed them! 

 

Few quick notes about the end  and personal opinions about how the kdrama compare to the original BBC version:

 

The end of the original LOM was as "open ended" as its kversion and created  a lot of of speculations and alternate theories on what happened to Sam (Tae Joo), so the writers did few interviews to confirme their intention:  

  • Sam (and consequently Tae Joo) was in coma after his "accident". 
  • He died during the final. 
  • The alternate reality is real: people here are not figment of his imagination, but real people who came and stayed on their own decision. 
  • The world they live in (1988's reality) was created with a purpose and has its own rules made independently of the people living inside.
  • Gene Hunt (Dong Cheol) has a bigger role that hasn't been touched on during this season.

 

The english cast, crew writers and producers had the same intense experience of developing a strong friendship/of being a "family" during the filming. The main two actors became best friends and continued to work together (they produced new shows and shared the screen in them).

However, the actor playing Sam decided to not come back for a 3rd season because of family commitment, and he was replaced by an actress, playing a psychologist (Alex) who read the reports that Sam wrote about his experience in an alternate reality set in the past before killing himself.

 

So there's a sequel called Ashes to ashes, which wasn't as successfull (i mean ratings were good enough but it wasn't as popular) but aired anyway during 3 seasons. I don't like it that much because  the romance between Gene and Alex became central to the plot (he was divorced since then) and the change of the period (the 80's) didn't work as well for the show, but it brought  interesting character development for Gene and the final was excellent.

 

I'm totally supporting the idea  of a 2nd season  for OCN LOM

1) if they keep the same cast and the bromance/team spirit  stay central

2) if they keep Tae Joo and the team even if they hire a new secondary female character who challenge Dong Cheol's misogyny. In this case, i hope they won't emphasize too much the romance side.

In LOM, Sam was central but in Ashes to Ashes, all the characters were important and got their past story (about their life before they died and how they died ) explained to us. I want and need this proper conclusion for the kdrama too.        

 

I share completely @40somethingahjumma 's opinion on how the kversion covered more brilliantly the loose ends and interconnected all the subplots in a more satisfying way.  

I have also the same regrets:

  • Very but like VERY sadly, there was no kiss for Tae Joo and Na Young, while the chemistry was off the chart  and the teasing was just pure torture!!! The scene in ep 15 where he dreamt her presence at night and where she shared her opinion on the motivation of Kim Min Suk: Tae Joo couldn't take his eyes off her and looked devastated when she disappeared. I was literally living his state of desolation: frustration, craving  and feeling of abandonment. After that, he should have jumped on her for a kiss the moment he returned!
  • We lost Nelson in the translation: Nelson was the bartender in the original version, a really fun and cool guy absolutely adored by the audience. His korean counterpart wasn't as witty and funny and lost his charisma and charm .More importantly, he was a spiritual counselor to Sam ((he gave him a lot of prophetic/mysterious advices that were helpful), a connection which was proved later to be more insightful than it seemed, especially in the very end of Ashes to Ashes.                   
  • We lost the cars! I'm not a fan by an means of cars but in the BBC version, Gene's cars were legendary in their time (and still are), especially the Ford Cortina  and were stars of the show as much as the rest of the real characters. Gene's driving skills were largely used in multiple and famous  car chases. I didn't feel the same connection between Dong Cheol and his own car (except for the scene where he was angry when Na Young damaged it), and it's a pity because it helped a lot to create his larger than life and fearless vibe/attitude.  
  • However, i cried a lot more during BBC LOM: i felt at time that the kdrama lacked the emotional strength of the original version.   

 

So far, it's my 2nd favourite show of the year just after Tvn Live and even if i had a lot catch up, i'm certain it will stay in my top 5 and will be definitively worth a rewatch... 

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Will there be an epilogue?  

 

I enjoyed this series very much  Great writing, directing and acting.  

 

I am wondering if TJ ever came out of the coma?  Seems to me he almost came out and went back in. Difficult to grasp exactly where he is in reality. We know that he goes back to the time his father died. But how can he coexist with himself as a child and his mother and aunt not realizing who he is?   There are aspects that defy logic, so you just have to be open and accept it as it is. He enters a world where he  has real human bonds, emotional attachments, and he can share affection and joy with the people around him. He let's go. Literally he jumps off the roof, he completely opens and exposes himself to the joy and pain of life.  This world within, the coma, is where his inner life is fulfilled.   It just worked for me. Perhaps another season would be a let down, how do they improve on this?

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I am vey wary about Season 2s....

I would love the team to be back but the writers would have to make a very convincing narrative about TJ and his reasons for staying may be explored (perhaps mirrored by how people are coping with his loss in 2018?) 

 

In any case, it is now up to the PD and writers.

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18 hours ago, maddymappo said:

Will there be an epilogue?  

 

Do you mean a 2nd season?

It's not confirmed but it's very likely based on the very last scene (after the credits) of season 1 and the declarations of the PD.

 

18 hours ago, maddymappo said:

I am wondering if TJ ever came out of the coma?  Seems to me he almost came out and went back in. Difficult to grasp exactly where he is in reality.

 

Indeed, the writers and PD  could have made it more obvious, by using for example  a simple time marker like one month later or few weeks later (after he left the hospital) but clearly it wasn't coma within coma (the writers explored this theory later in the sequel made after  the original show).

The two worlds were established clearly from the start as the two only possible ones and made distinct (through the color palette and the architecture/design of the buildings) and those differences  stayed consistent between the 1st and last episode. Also 2018 was too much "complete" and heavily developed to be a dream.

 

18 hours ago, maddymappo said:

But how can he coexist with himself as a child and his mother and aunt not realizing who he is?

 

His mother and aunt in 1988 never met before the adult Tae Joo: for them it was just a case of funny homonomy. "Their" Tae Joo was unique and he was 5 (or was it 8?) years old. 

 

18 hours ago, maddymappo said:

He enters a world where he  has real human bonds, emotional attachments, and he can share affection and joy with the people around him. He let's go. Literally he jumps off the roof, he completely opens and exposes himself to the joy and pain of life.

   

It's indeed exactly what happened to him: literally and symbolically.

 

18 hours ago, maddymappo said:

It just worked for me. Perhaps another season would be a let down, how do they improve on this?

 

Maybe it could be not so much about improving the drama, but continuing Tae Joo's story: to see how the fact that he opened up to his own feelings will transform him. 

The drama left  for me a feeling of incompletion: though the friends were happily reunited, there's definitely more stories to tell...      

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@titania1000  wrote:

  23 hours ago, maddymappo said:

Will there be an epilogue?  

 

Do you mean a 2nd season?

It's not confirmed but it's very likely based on the very last scene (after the credits) of season 1 and the declarations of the PD.

At the very end just as the credits begin, my version said "An epilogue will air soon"  - I thought that meant another episode, but now I find that there is another scene (perhaps the "epilogue" after the credits. 

We see TJ by himself about to leave the police station when the telephone rings and it is Kim Hyun Seok - that seems to open the possibility of another season, not just an epilogue.  

 

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5 minutes ago, Dramanoona said:

I know. It's been a week and any news about their reward vacation?

 

Havent heard or seen pics about their vacation trip~

 

Anyways, 10th august was Go Ah Sung's aka Nayoung's birthday~ happy belated birthday nayoung!

 

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A snippet of the interview done with the direct Lee Jeong-hyo after the end of 'Life on Mars'.

 

Q : This is the second time you worked with Jung Kyung-ho after JTBC’s ‘Cruel City’.
A : There is not a single scene in this drama without Jung Kyung-ho, we can almost apply for the Guinness World Records for this. He started work together with the crew and ended together with them. He was already prepared for this earlier, so not once did he show any displeasure or complain at all. However he said 3 times that “let’s film it this way”, but I did not listen to him except for the first time, because of various reasons such as the pre-ordered special equipment etc. This is the reason why I cried at the wrap-up party, I felt that I have done him wrong. This time I also felt that as an actor, he is rich in expression and very detailed. We still have 3 more projects to work with each other, because we agreed that we will do a total of 5 projects together. 


Q : Park Sung-woong’s character is also indispensable, it feels more heart-warming compared to the tough character in the movie ‘New World’.
A : I meet up regularly with the cast from tvN’s ‘The Good Wife’, and one day Jeon Do-yeon sunbae suddenly invited Park Sung-woong to a gathering. Because he is a jovial person, he suits the character very well. When I told him that I needed a comical element from him, he asked,“really?” and he had fun doing it. It was his own idea to put on weight for the role as he wanted to have a contrasting image from Han Tae-joo, so he gained 10kg. He also gave many suggestions and ideas on the set.


Q : Go Ah-sung is also a new discovery.
A : I auditioned many actresses, but because of the lines plus the sexist element, most actresses said that “it does not feel good”. But we have no choice because this is a past-generation drama. After handing the script to Go Ah-sung, she said that because this is a past-generation drama, she understood those requirements. Once she arrived at the set, she became 100% Officer Yoon.

 

Q : What is the secret to the popularity of ‘Life on Mars’ ?
A : Actually at the beginning, I did worry whether this will succeed or not. Because we travelled to the past, we need to show the policemen from the present and the 1980s, and there are many things not experienced before. I felt that in order for this drama to succeed, we need to go into the main character’s subconsciousness and view of the world. The audiences enjoyed the chemistry of the team, and this is the actors’ credit. Another important factor is the difference in technology between the original drama and this, as I felt that the original version deliberately did not use much special effects in it. However it had been 10 years since that was aired, so I tried many new things in order to allow technology to solve as many issues as possible.

 

Q : Han Tae-joo and Yoon Na-young’s love line is very subtle, which also played a big part to the success of the drama.
A : In the original script, they have intimate scenes. However I feel that their relationship should be subtle, so I convinced the scriptwriter to change it, because I felt that in Han Tae-joo’s situation, it will be very hard for him to fall in love. However they do have a very cute relationship, like in one scene which Yoon Na-young misunderstood Tae-joo, and acted coldly towards him. Initially it was not meant to be filmed in a comical way, but Go Ah-sung did it in a funny way, and after the rehearsal, we felt that the effect was very good.

 

Q : It is interesting to revisit the 1980s.
A : The big credit goes to the artistic crew. From the beginning, we felt that the crux lies in how do we recreate the 1980s. This is different from tvN’s ‘Reply 1988’ which focused more on daily lives, as we actually needed to create crime scenes. After pondering about it, I changed my mind and decided not to dwell too much on the research.  Because it is most important that the viewers can feel that this is in the 1980s, we focused on passer-bys, signboards, cars etc. Actually if you look closely, there were also people dressed in 1970s clothes and hair-dos.

 

Q : It is surprising that the ending entirely followed the original version.
A : This was decided from the beginning. This drama was shot from the beginning with that ending in mind. The production team liked the ending very much, but we need to convince the viewers in order for it to work. After Tae-joo returned to 2018, he continued his relationship with his girlfriend. When he abandoned those people and chose 1988, it will confuse the viewers as to which one is the real world? There was no doubt filming the scene which Tae-joo jumped down, both Jung Kyung-ho and myself believed that “Han Tae-joo must jump off with a smile”, because to him, he will only find happiness going back to 1988.  


Q : Many viewers are hoping for a second season, if this works out, how would it going to be?
A : We have finished the original story completely. If there is a second season, then it will need to need to consist of new stories that the original version did not have. There are many things to consider for this, I will not deliberately film a second season, as the ending of Han Tae-joo finally smiling is an ‘end’ already. After filming 2 similar genre dramas consecutively, I want to do a rom-com for my new project next year.   

 

11139626.jpg

 


 

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@Prettysup Thank for the sharing the interview.

I kind of expected no season 2, even with that epilogue because it would take a darn good script to explain the continuation of HTJ's story in 1988.

 

Whether he is truly dead or still in a comatose state, TJ is really happy in 1988 and he CHOSE to be there. He made a conscious decision and you can see when he rejects Chief Ahn and turns off the radio, he has accepted that life.

 

But now, my curiousity has increased over these 'intimate scenes' that the director requested to change. Haha.

Actually, the relationship between TJ and NY did fit fot that time, plus as the director said, would it be fair on NY for TJ to start a relationship since TJ always wanted to 'return' in the beginning of the drama.

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Q : Go Ah-sung is also a new discovery.
A : I auditioned many actresses, but because of the lines plus the sexist element, most actresses said that “it does not feel good”. But we have no choice because this is a past-generation drama. After handing the script to Go Ah-sung, she said that because this is a past-generation drama, she understood those requirements. Once she arrived at the set, she became 100% Officer Yoon.

 

My respect for her as an actress just increased even more. There are many things that we might not like about the past but I love that Go Ah-Sung showed her professionalism by acknowledging that it’s important to keep the integrity of the time period even if they didn’t suit her sensibilities. I for one feel uncomfortable seeing the sexism but I also appreciate that it’s a depiction of the time. It’s the same way I feel about the way the cops beat up suspects but that also happened in the past. I hope to see her in another solid project.

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I guess I am too late for the party . Thing is I am enjoying the discussions here (I am already on episode 4, and reading pages 10-11 :) )

 

This show is so good may I say.

 

Also the one thing that strikes me the most is how the director captured each frames with fantastic visuals, the 1988 is becoming more real as I go on. 

 

I am not sure if this was already discussed, but will spew this anyway:

 

Had anyone observed (or I may find out during my progress on this thread) about the red room presented in this drama? Also the same color used in each victims since episode 3 . Red nailpolish, red coat, red scarf . And red jersey of Tae Joo.

DmbHFegUUAANPOL.jpgLoM3_00245.jpgMars-04-00028.jpg

 

There are other interpretations of the scenes of Tae Joo hanging out in Insung club:

 

Spoiler

 

DmbDwLoUcAAastZ.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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20 hours ago, LyraYoo said:

I guess I am too late for the party . Thing is I am enjoying the discussions here (I am already on episode 4, and reading pages 10-11 :) )

 

This show is so good may I say.

 

Also the one thing that strikes me the most is how the director captured each frames with fantastic visuals, the 1988 is becoming more real as I go on. 

 

I am not sure if this was already discussed, but will spew this anyway:

 

Had anyone observed (or I may find out during my progress on this thread) about the red room presented in this drama? Also the same color used in each victims since episode 3 . Red nailpolish, red coat, red scarf . And red jersey of Tae Joo.

 

There are other interpretations of the scenes of Tae Joo hanging out in Insung club:

 

  Hide contents

 

 

 

 

Wow. Keen observation. Thank you for sharing. I didnt know there was a meaning behind the choice of red. I just thought it was a nice colour and popped out in a scene :lol:

 

I hope you enjoy life on mars till the end. I liked it to bits, ep 7 case is one of my fave eps. Besides LoM introduced me to JKH hahaha

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@LyraYoo, I came late to the party as well. I just binged watched it over this week. In a way, I was happy to have binged it since things came together better than if I had had to wait for the installments each week. :)

 

I'm not entirely sure what to think actually, though I enjoyed watching it tremendously. I think Jung Kyung Ho does fantastic nuanced work in all of the roles I've watched him in, and this is a complicated script with the alternate realities that I thought he brought a deft touch to. Plus, he's so solid on the action scenes, which I hadn't really expected until I watched him in Cruel City.

 

Park Sung Woong is also fantastic for bringing a comic character to life. Actually, I guess this is a second time watching him in a comedic role (after Man X Man), but I like him here better where he is just true to his nature rather than having to continuously deal with his ego as a point of comedy.

 

I've liked Go Ah Sung since she shared a high school kiss with Yoo Seung Ho in Master of Study, and continue to be impressed with the way she tackles each role, but also impressed with her choice of roles.

 

I like that the romance between Tae Joo and Na Young was so low-key. I thought it was clear that they like each other and are growing closer, even without an overt date or skinship. However, both TJ and NY stayed true to their characters in slowly developing their attraction for each other which seems to have grown as much out of respect for each other as anything else.

 

The ending left me with mixed emotions actually. The rest in a spoiler since not sure what episode LyraYoo is on, and I wanted to talk about the way the drama ends.

Spoiler

So, TJ jumps off the building so that he can return to his coma state and be with the Violent Crimes Team 3? I appreciate that this is possibly a riff on the nature of reality or perhaps alternative realities, as well as how far could one go in making a choice of alternative realities, but it's still TJ basically harming himself in one reality to return to a different reality.

 

I feel for his family and friends in 2018 who must now face the prospect of either a "coma" TJ, if he had survived the jump after all and is back in the hospital, or a dead TJ, if he had not survived the jump and so is permanently in the alternative reality. Speaking of which, they never clarify whether he has to be alive in the "present day" reality in order to also be alive in the 1988 reality. Otherwise, TJ would surely just be dead? So, TJ's choice to go to a reality where he is happier means grief for his mother, aunt, and friends. Btw, if TJ is still in a coma rather than dead, one wonders who is footing the bill for his permanent hospital stay. As a comatose patient, I think he would be in the ICU? Anyway, it would be bloody expensive.

 

On the other hand, TJ is clearly happier back in 1988 with the Violent Crimes Team 3. He's learned to like and respect his team, and he has a budding romance with NY, and that isn't something that he would have learned in his original timeline perhaps; as much because he was a forensic whizkid who didn't really listen to anyone else. Whereas with his whizbang abilities blunted by the lack of technology that he was used to, he has to learn to cooperate more in order to get the data that he was able to gather independently previously.

 

So, I guess the upshot is that I'm happy for TJ, but sad for his mother.

 

I think it's a measure of how much I enjoyed this drama that I'm here, long after most posters have left to leave a comment discussing bits of this drama. :)  LyraYoo, not sure what the problem with tagging is, but I'm having problems with tagging. Anyway, I was trying to say I'll be curious to see what you think of the ending.

  @LyraYoo

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@LyraYoo

With a show like Life on Mars, there's no such thing as late. ;) It's one of those rare television experiences that everyone should embark on and talk about. If it weren't for Prison Playbook, this would have been my favourite thing this year because it was just unbelievably good. Even without reference to the BBC series, it is a wonderful piece of storytelling. The nice thing about having followed it from start to finish is reading people's ideas and speculations about what on this side of 1988 was going on.  And the best part was going on the journey with HTJ as he navigated through all the messiness of being a fish out of water.

 

But I really, really wanted TJ and NY to go undercover as husband and wife. ;)

 

Thanks for the stuff on the Red Room. I didn't think too much about the colour red as a theme/motif in the drama but thank you for your observations. I kept thinking the entire time that the Red Room was a bit empty compared to the BBC version... which was always packed full of cops. :D

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On 9/20/2018 at 4:04 PM, 40somethingahjumma said:

 

But I really, really wanted TJ and NY to go undercover as husband and wife. ;)

 

Hoping theres a season 2 or a spin-off to see more of the 1988 squad especially TJ and NY going undercover as husband and wife :lol:

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