Following a three-season spin-off and at least five local-set remakes around the globe, a Mandarin-language Chinese remake of the BBC’s critically acclaimed and popular time-travel cop series “Life on Mars” is on the way.
Airing for just two seasons of eight episodes each from 2006-2007, the story followed modern-day Manchester police detective Sam Tyler (John Simm) who gets hit by a car and wakes up in 1973. As he tries to figure out how he got there, he must deal with the cultural and occupational differences of being a cop in the 70’s – including his no-nonsense politically incorrect new boss Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister).
The format allowed the producers to essentially deliver a 70’s cop drama with post-modern comedy touches and serialised sci-fi elements such as a girl from UK TV test patterns being able to jump out of the screen. A U.S. remake hailed from David E. Kelly and was not as well received with that take starring Jason O’Mara, Harvey Keitel and Michael Imperioli.
Spain, Russia, the Czech Republic and South Korea all remade the series for their own markets. BBC Studios and Phoenix Entertainment have now closed a deal for the Chinese version which will change the time periods – this time a modern-day lawman is transported back to 1990s Beijing. Twenty-four episodes have been ordered for the first season, the deal following on from a planned Chinese remake of “Broadchurch” which was ordered earlier this year.