Finished ‘Life on Mars’


Gotta say I enjoyed it!

This drama is based off a UK series of the same name, which I watched 10 minutes of like 10 years ago, but couldn’t get into, mostly because the protagonist ends up in the 1970s, which is the decade I hate the most, hahaha. The protagonist of this one goes back to the 80s, so it’s better. Also, 1980s Korea much more interesting than 1970s Britain!

The drama begins when our hero, a cool-as-ice, by-the-book and essentially friendless forensics officer refuses to suppress his opinion that some of the evidence presented in court was questionable, which leads to a serial killer being released back on the street. The serial killer promptly kidnaps the police detective on the case, which happens to be our hero’s ex-girlfriend. The hunt begins, and our hero is shot in the head, but not before the serial killer tells him he remembers seeing him before.

Our hero wakes up in the 1980s, and promptly gets hit by a car, leading to brain injury. So a big part of the suspense of the drama here is figuring out which of our guy’s two realities is the real one, and which is a side effect of his damaged brain. Especially since the serial killer’s M.O. also shows up in the 1980s though the suspect would have been only 9 years old at the time.

It’s a clever set-up and it kept me on my toes wondering what outcome to root for, since one of the scenarios was clearly just his brain misfiring. The writing was also much tighter than your regular Kdrama, which made me wonder how closely they hewed to the British script or if they just borrowed the premise. The drama also had some hella crazy cliffhangers, one of which literally made me scream out loud I was so shocked (reminded me of those amazing cliffhangers in “Time Between Dog and Wolf”!


Jung Kyung Ho is amazing here. His eyes are so unbelievably sad and pretty. I loved his intelligent, competent, strong, silent cerebral character, especially when he’s dropped in the 1980s surrounded by cops who think nothing of police brutality and sexual harassment, who clomp all over crime scenes because they don’t yet know what forensics is. The one woman on the police force does the job of three people, plus has to get everyone coffee, and still gets no respect. It was so enraging.

But the best part of the drama, to me, were the scenes where our hero comes across himself as the innocent young boy he was in the 1980s. There was something so heartbreaking in the way he tenderly tried to befriend and protect his own lil wide-eyed self. Ah, my heart! (some fascinating psychoanalysis at work there if you extrapolate.)


Anyway, I give it three stars. Well worth the watch, interestingly told, great group dynamics, some fine acting, a touch of sweet romance. It doesn’t get the fourth star because the end failed to paper up what I considered a glaring hole in the narrative, though they can get away with it because our boy, with his brain damage, is an unreliable narrator after all. I was still a bit put out that they didn’t make the effort, haha. So it lost a star.

#go-ah-sung, #jung-kyung-ho, #life-on-mars, #park-sung-woong, #police, #time-travel