Picks and Pans Review: Life on Mars

updated 10/13/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/13/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

ABC, Oct. 9, 10:01 p.m. ET

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In a do-or-die moment on the trail of a potential serial killer, a New York City police detective (Jason O'Mara) is mowed down by a car. He wakes up and receives a second, stranger jolt. The iPod in his car has morphed into an eight-track player. Then, looking up, he's absolutely floored. There stand the Twin Towers. The cop has been thrown back to 1973—or is he in a coma and thinks it's 1973?

He's still a cop, somehow; only now his precinct station is as grim and grimy as any 1970s police movie, and the force includes Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli (with a gnarled mustache) and, the one spot of prim dignity, Gretchen Mol. Weirdest of all, a new assignment seems to put him in pursuit of the same killer from 2008. Based on a British series, Life starts with a smashing pilot. Wrapping procedural suspense in a fantastical premise, it conjures its own way-out atmosphere.


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