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Life on Mars remake courts Jung Kyung-ho, Go Ah-sung, Park Sung-woong

British television series Life on Mars is getting a Korean adaptation on OCN, and the potential cast is coming together nicely. Offers are currently out to Jung Kyung-ho (Smart Prison Living), Go Ah-sung (Radiant Office), and Park Sung-woong (Man to Man) to headline the time-slip crime thriller about a detective who travels back to the 1970s and has to solve crimes to return home. It sounds like Tunnel in reverse, but that’s not a bad thing—I’d watch Tunnel again forwards, backwards, or sideways.

The BBC drama originally aired in 2006 and was subsequently adapted into American, Spanish, Russian, and Czech versions, which is hopefully a good sign that it’s a got a great story. It’s about a contemporary detective who gets hit by a car and wakes up in 1973, where he is still a police officer at the same exact precinct, but as a junior officer one rank lower. The original was more of a classic police procedural, focusing on different crimes in each episode, but the Korean adaptation will be about a serial murder case.

Jung Kyung-ho is up to play the lead character (Sam Tyler in the original), a detective who struggles with the lack of forensic procedure and the old-school way of investigating in the ’70s. A major theme in the original show is this character’s confusion over whether he’s a time-traveler or a crazy person, though it remains to be seen if that ambiguity will carry over in the adaptation.

Park Sung-woong has been offered the role of the section chief who will become Jung Kyung-ho’s supervisor in the ’70s, and he’s described as a macho man who hits first and talks later, but has a warm heart towards victims. Go Ah-sung’s role hasn’t been specified, but in the original series there’s one female police officer on the team, so I’m guessing that’ll be her. In addition, funny character actor Oh Dae-hwan (Return, Live Up to Your Name) is up for a supporting role. Can’t go wrong with a squad like that.

PD Lee Jung-hyo of successful adaptation The Good Wife and stylish crime thriller Heartless City will be at the helm, and OCN is planning to broadcast it this summer beginning in June.

Via Star Today, Sports Chosun 1, 2

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YES! Go Ah-sung and Jung Kyung-ho <3. Please accept.

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I don't know how to feel about this but I for sure know that I'm over the whole "one woman on entire police force" thing

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Yes, it’s so dated but it still happens all the time on both Western shows and Korean shows.

It especially seems to be an issue over at OCN. One thing I liked about Police Unit 38 was that there was more than one female character—although Sooyoung was still terribly underutilized IMO.

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Part of what was interesting in the original was having the guy go back in time and seeing how there were hardly any women on the force in the 70s compared to the modern era - and how they were being treated.

Yes, there was a clash between modern police procedures and the ones from the 70s, as @girlfriday mentions. But what was even more interesting was how it showed the change in attitudes towards women and minorities between then and now.

So you have the modern guy reacting to the 'one woman on the force' thing in exactly the way that you are. I hope they are keeping that.

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yeah though in kdramas you ALWAYS have like one woman per police station (if any at all), so they can play it like that but it'd ring a bit hollow
I'd rather they add more women instead

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Ohhh, that’s good to know! It will be interesting to see if any of that carries over to this version.

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Nice! I’d love to see the incredulous face the main character has when he sees how women are treated in the ‘70s vs the present and then gradually brings about equality for both men and women in the workfield. Now that’s making history.

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> I'm over the whole "one woman on entire police force" thing

does reality still do this or not? because as far as I know, there is not a lot of woman in the police force and that's not a sign of weakness or saying that woman is lower than man,
I am not sure how to reply cause this kind of comment makes me think that "oh woman is discriminated" opinion when it's true that more woman are opt out for the job because it's physically demanding and that just preference which is man has nothing to do with that, it's not a sign of discrimination, the pd and the writer may have no intension on putting it on sexes and this is just reflecting on who is better in the job,

if you flip the side to kindergarten story [even if it's not popular], you'll not hear the "one man on entire kindergarten" thing because the expertise is not usually found in a man

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It's interesting because especially in western European and Scandinavian crime series, there are a lot of lead female detectives. In the UK, a series like Prime Suspect featured a female chief of police. Then you have The Killing and The Bridge, all with strong female leads.

This reflects what's happening in real life, for example the chief of police of the Met in London is a woman.
This was why UK Life on Mars was interesting with it's setting of a throw-back to earlier times where there was much more discrimination.

I don't know how the Korean version is going to deal with this, if at all, but I do think that Jung Kyung-Ho is a good choice for the part - especially after the character he played in Prison Playbook.

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Prime suspect is one of the best tv-series with Bangkok Hilton. It's a long way for k-drama to approach them...

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Wow! What an awesome potential cast!

My dad LOVED the original Life on Mars so I’m wondering if I can get him to watch this one with me. He’s so funny with K-Dramas. Sometimes he walks in while I am watching them on the TV and pays it no attention, other times he’s asking me question after question. I think he’s interested in them and doesn’t want to admit it. 😛

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You father? God, I feel old.

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Hey, maybe she is an adult living at home... like someone I know who isn't me... I lied, it's me

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I'm a college student, haha!

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He low key interested. You should totally tell him about/show him this remake when it comes out and you just might find your next K-drama buddy. 😆

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Oh wow, three of my favorite actors! And the original British Life on Mars was so so good. But please, don't mimic the American version. It was ridiculously stupid. Looking forward to this one, please hurry and make it so!

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Please don't mess this up. Please don't waste a great set up and potential cast.

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**glares at American television....

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I trust in PD Lee Jung-hyo. He really did a good job with The Good Wife. I think that is the best adaptation, if not the only good one. If this cast signs, I'm all in. I just hope the writer is on par.

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I think the difference is that the original Good Wife started out strong but went for about three years too long. So he had a great source text that had spun out of control. The 16 episode standard kdrama was exactly what that show needed. Also that show dealt with themes that are common in Korean dramas, like corruption.

I'm a bit concerned that a lot of what made Life on Mars so excellent won't work in a kdrama and it'll end up being sanitised or overly-stylised.

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Ooh! This is a great cast so hoping they'll all accept but.. if Park Sung-woong rejects it can we get Choi Jin-Hyuk for the section chief, if not can we at least get a cameo as Park Kwang-ho, please!

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This new made my day. I never saw the original Life on Mars so it will all be new to me. Heartless City made me a Jung Kyung-ho fan for life. I totally agree with your sentiments about Choi Jin-hyuk, another one of my favorites but please Producers find a place for Yoon Hyun-min in your cast.

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Me too but I love the premise of modern guy time-traveling to the past! YES to that, they'll make such an awesome trio!

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so much potential for mischief

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Jung Kyung Ho is on a role!!! #notcomplaining

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And the PD of "Heartless City." I'm so glad he ditched "Criminal Minds."

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Right??? Jung Kyung Ho reuniting with the PD of "Heartless City": You've got me hook, line, and sinker =))

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Love him first in PD Kim Jin-min's "Time Between Dog and Wolf" (2007) but he was mesmerizing in "Heartless City."

I hope that this is less physically demanding. He was on some heavy pain medication in order to finish shooting "Heartless City."

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Korean dramas really love serial murders o_O...

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Serial anything lol.

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I bet there are more serial murders in dramas than there are actual serial murders in South Korea.

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I hope so.

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Back in the days, Korean drama used to getting accused for always about romance. Now they are getting accuse of always produce serial murders, ahahahha.

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And some were complaining about too many sageuks. I hope they are freaking happy now. 😭

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Hahhaha....it seems there is lack of good real sageuk. Particularly last year. Sageuk used to be a rating magnet. Same with me for suffering lack of good melodrama haha

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it's OCN,
OCN is all about murder, police, detective, mystery since they've been created
they just getting popular

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So jung kyung ho seems really into anything and everything police related. .heartless city then WPL and now this...not that I'm complaining. .any excuse to see him again.

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He has the look and body that look good in uniform. I'm not complaining.

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I agree but in Prison Playbook when he wore the short sleeve summer uniform he looked really thin to me.

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Jung Kyung Ho with Heartless City PD and Park Sung Woong?
Bring it on! <3

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So I had originally imagined Jo Jin-woong in the Gene Hunt role, but I may like this potential casting even better. I can also totally see Jung Kyung-ho as Sam Tyler and Go Ah-sung is good casting for Annie.

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hope this cast all signs! i am all over it! nice to look forward to this spring

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I'm on a Jung Kyung Ho high after Prison Playbook, so I'm excited for this! ^^

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The original UK series was very well done with actors John Simm as modern cop and Philip Glenister as unreconstructed seventies cop so it will be interesting to see how a Korean version pans out.

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I can totally see Park Sung-woong taking up the mantle behind Philip Glenister as "DCI Gene Hunt". I am so looking forward to this!!!!

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I agree. Reluctant bros. Did you see his cameo in Waikiki?

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Indeed!

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Prays to drama gods "please let them all accept, please let them all accept, please let them all accept..." Drama gods if ya'll can make Subway the supporting lead and sometimes lead in dramas, you owe us this casting! Please let them all accept.

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Haven't watched this BBC show, but the plot sounds pretty good. Would love to see Jung Kyung Ho in a crime drama on OCN! And Park Sung Woong is awesome. Period. :)

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I enjoyed the British version very much. I think the two male actors would very much fit the characters of the leads. But...not serial killer again! So overdone. A variety of serious crimes that would work well to show the clash between old and new police work and the personalities. To spend 16 episodes chasing one killer is boring.

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Perhaps they will have episodic cases along with a longer arc about this particular serial killer? Kind of like I Remember You.

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But I find episodic cases boring.

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"Park Sung-woong has been offered the role... described as a macho man who hits first and talks later"

Yay, he finally talks and not just points repeatedly at everyone and everything. :D

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Even though it is not staying true to the source material, I am actively lobbying for the car accident to be a truck accident. My apology to the purist Beanies in advance if it materializes.

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I just had a vision of Life on Mars with Truck of Doom, Dead Fish Kiss, Second Male Lead Syndrome, Jerk Chaebol, Amnesia and Time Jump.

It was not a pleasant vision.

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Throw in a Birth Secret and then the time traveler can meet himself coming and going. Or be his own grandpa.

Hopefully there will be no gummi brain fetus triggering the time travel. I'm looking at you, DR. JIN. ;-)

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LoL, I want to see it!

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OMG, I've loved the British original for years! I had no idea there was a Korean version in the making.
I hope they'll keep the eerie tone of the original, especially the scenes when Sam Tyler (the cop who went back in time) has his weird visions - I've got the creepy Test Card Girl in mind here! Those eerie and trippy scenes is what made this otherwise bog-standard, but very entertaining police procedural such a stand-out and a hit (its sequel Ashes to Ashes is great as well).

Jung Kyung Ho seems like a good fit for the lead.

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Uhm, yes please!!! I can totally see Park Sung-woong in Philip Glenister's part. This sounds so so so good. I am trying and failing not to get my hopes up on this!

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"time-slip crime thriller about a detective who travels back to the 1970s and has to solve crimes to return home"

Guys...guys... we can't do this again. It's too much. Signal was enough. Tunnel was enough. Come up with different plot already.

Goddamn, what a cast tho...

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No, Life on Mars is different. If they do justice to the British version it'll be fantastic. Besides, there are no new plots, no new stories, it's all in the quality of the telling.

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Agree. Totally different than Signal or Tunnel. If they stick with the tone, story, and pace of the original than 👌👍
@callie if you have a chance you should check out the original UK version. Even the US remake was decent although they changed the ending.

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The U.S. ending was dumb (imo...)

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But if they don't change it, then why make a new version of it? We can just watch the original UK version, which is one of the best television shows ever made.

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But why make the ending so literal? As per usual, it's been my experience when Hollywood remakes a Brit show they don't get it. For example, U.K. House of Cards was brilliant, black humor and didn't take itself too seriously. Just the opposite with the U.S. version.

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@linda-palapala

You're obviously referring to the awful US remake. That was less "adapting it" and more "whacking on a bad ending that renders the entire show meaningless".

I personally think this show doesn't need another remake at all. It was pretty much perfect the first time around.

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But I'd love to see how Koreans remake it, esp with these actors.

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@linda-palapala

I'm curious as well. If it's done right, they could come up with something really innovative and interesting. But I don't want to get too excited because I just loved the original so much.

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I like seeing these adaptations told through a Korean lens. I think that the overall arching plot needs to remain the same otherwise you get something like the US remake, which in and of itself was ok, but it deviated so far the original intention that it lost something and thus was very subpar to the original. The Korean adaptation must walk that fine line between copying and originality. We don't want copy and paste, but by veering too far left field it can run into problems. Korea has a hit and miss track record with US adaptations, so I am hoping that this UK adaptation will be a hit. Fingers crossed!!!

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Bcoz it is made for Korean audience not the foreign audience. And not every Korean can speak or understand English. So better make a remake

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Oh wow wow wow!! Everything - form the casting offers, to the premise of the show, to the PD - has me super excited!! I wold be so thrilled if they all signed up for the show!

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I Ioved "Life on Mars" and the spin-Off "Ashes to Ashes". In the first season, I don't think I liked Ashes to Ashes that much, but season 2 and 3 convinced me and I liked it ever better than Life on Mars.

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Agreed. I think the first series of Ashes to Ashes struggled a bit, because they had to make the show work without John Simm in the lead, but Series 2 & 3 were just perfect, Keeley Hawes really came into her own as the new lead.

I wonder if the Korean Life on Mars is a success will they make the continuation based on Ashes to Ashes?

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Go Ah Sung? I’m in!

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who is the writers? I won't be as excite unless they already announce the writers... AT times like this, when we know the PD and the cast is solid, we should know who the writers. ahahaha....

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Praying for Yoo Sung-yeol <3.

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Never say never. I'm not give up yet. Since they haven't announce who the writers is. Haha. Does he want to write a remake though? It will be limiting his creativity.But I miss him already.

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I was thinking about that and I don't know if he would want to write a remake.
Honestly, I 'd prefer him to write his own stuff instead of adapting someone else's work.

Maybe Han Sang-woon might be interested in this.

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THE DIRECTOR OF HEARTLESS CITY YASSSSS. That is one of my all time favorite noir dramas and Jung Kyung Ho was an absolute BAE in it. I will definitely be watching this just for the reunion if nothing else. Also, Park Sung Woong is in it so obviously.

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On the one hand, I don't think Life on Mars needs another remake. The original was perfection and the US version was terrible.

Having said that, I am kind of curious as to what a Korean writer might make of it.

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It will be better than american, I'm sure. I just watch the first and the last episode of the british version 😁. At the time I didn't feel it was compelling. I will watch the korean version just because I'm used to kdrama style of story telling. I think I will enjoy it more than the british version. Not to mention all the casts are hot!

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I hope they all sign on as I love the casts......so on spot.....

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I'm kinda excited tbh

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anything with the touch of tunnel and/or signal is fine with me! will be looking forward to this one.

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The premise sounds interesting since I guess it calls for more creative ways to investigate crime scenes.

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Oh my God, I LOVE Life On Mars!!! I had a huge crush on Sam while I was watching it, he was suuuuch a great guy. Of course, I saw the American version so let's hope the K version doesn't have the same end. lol This cast seems great, by the way, I hope it sticks.

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My body is ready for this!!

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Go Ah Sung is a good actress. If she signs on, I hope she's not relegated to some damsel in distress type of heroine.

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I am hoping of course that this series will be subbed in English and available to view outside Korea. I am speaking as a kdrama fan in the United States which means programming available on Viki, DramaFever, Netflix and Kocowa. There maybe other streaming services but I subscribe to these.
With the arrival last year of Kocowa (the big 3 networks) and the kerfuffle that ensued it was the cable networks like OCN that I was concerned about. That is, not being able to watch their shows.
Viki and Kocowa joined up so cable isoff Viki as far as I can tell.
The pressure was put on DramaFever for some strange reason.
Netflix made a deal with TvN.
When the OCN drama Bad Guys: City of Evil was not picked up and as far as I can tell only 5 episodes were subbed I was really concerned.
However, the situation my be finally working itself out. The OCN drama My First Love was shown on DramaFever so maybe I am anticipating a problem that won't happen.

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Cable isn’t off Viki. Viki is currently streaming Hwayugi (tvN) and also recently had the streaming rights for Just Between Lovers (jTBC) and Because This Life is Our First (tvN). I’m sure there are more, too.

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Hi @Mindy. I am glad to see that the situation isn't as dire as I thought. I have enjoyed OCN's gritty crime dramas.

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Mmm, excellent staff! I`ll wait.

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Oh! I watched the first season of Life On Mars, the original one after seeing John Simm as The Master on Doctor Who because I just wanted to watch more of him in something. From what I remembered, it was pretty good. Just watching Sam Tyler trying to figure out what exactly is going on and fitting in the new (err) old time was interesting enough. The dynamics between Tyler and Gene was what made it really worked for me. I really like all the people who were offered the roles.... so hoping they all so yes! Though personally, I think Ma Dong Seok is more fitting for phillip's character.

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The 'go-back-in-time police procedural' aesthetic is soooo K-drama. Its frankly a surprise the Brits (and later the Americans) had got there first.

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Im getting Signal vibes from this. It's a solid cast if they accept. So please be like Signal dear drama and less like Criminal minds.

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