Comparisons To The Original: What Planet Are You From? (POSSIBLE SPOILERS)
Posted Oct 9, 2008 @ 8:43 AM
Posted Oct 9, 2008 @ 8:56 PM
But I love Harvey Keitel. So I'll give the US version that.
Posted Oct 9, 2008 @ 10:52 PM
I'm a great defender of O'Mara's; I've seen him kick some serious arse in other roles. And he did better in the re-tooling than in the original pilot. But he's still no Simms. I'm hoping they'll make his Sam different enough that I'll stop comparing them.
Keitel = great but Gleinster = the poo (poo is greater than great in case you're confused).
Posted Oct 9, 2008 @ 11:06 PM
U.K. Sam - Visibly torn to pieces and outright weeping at the thought of what he thinks happened to Maya. Pops up in the past, and his default state is confusion. He's got an occasional tremor, a distance to how he looks at people. He often LOOKS like a person in shock--at least in Episode 1.
U.S. Sam - Angry at what he thinks happened to Maya. Pops up in the past, and his default state is annoyed, followed by defiant.
U.K. Annie - A bit of a marshmallow. She actually gives some amount of lip to the male coppers, but her ambition never seems that sharp, and she's too ready to listen to Sam--she doesn't really question his babbling strongly enough.
U.S. Annie - She doesn't dare give any serious lip to the male cops, but she IS ambitious--its just reigned in. Although she's "giving in" too easily at the Precinct, she's angry about it. She has much sharper, tougher edges than U.K. Annie. And she seems a lot less likely to cater to Sam's seemingly mad claims about himself.
U.K. Gene - A bully boy. A thug with a badge. But he's got his own kind of honor, and in his own way you can immediately see it.
U.S. Gene - Due to the physical difference in casting, he doesn't really come off as a thug. He seems a bit greasier, slimier. U.K. Gene is in many ways a quite straightforward person. My sense is that U.S. may not be so straighforward.
U.K. and U.S. Chris - Seem remarkably similar so far.
U.K. and U.S. Ray - U.S. Ray seems a bit too accepting of Sam by the end of U.S. episode 1.
Posted Oct 9, 2008 @ 11:44 PM
Posted Oct 9, 2008 @ 11:55 PM
There were so many exact duplicate scenes to the UK version, I'm guessing that in itself would annoy a lot of people no matter how well they seemed to work, and I supect the fact that they were under such time pressure to shoot a whole new pilot at the last minute contributed to it being that way, but I suspect at least the one scene which would most likely have had to have been identical to the UK version even if the rest of the ep. wasn't was the part where he gets hit by the car & wakes up in '73. To be honest, I thought that was one of the poorer replications of a UK scene (except for the mind blowing I-should-have-seen-it-coming but I-still-can't-believe-they-went-there payoff at the end, of course). The rest of that sequence felt very rushed to me. Although it was interesting that (unlike the also nearly identical 1st pilot version of that same scene) this version did include flashes of images of walking in the woods, which suggests foreshadowing that they will be doing the UK storyline of Sam's father from the first UK series (season) finale (I know there's probably no point in spoiler barring that in this thread where everyone who comes here presumably should know what that means, but better to be overly cautious at this point. We're gonna have to work out some sort of special spoiler policy guidelines for a show that apparently will feature several more remakes of UK episodes that technically don't need to be spoiled because they have been shown here, but which the vast majority of viewers of this US version will have probably not seen)
Anyway, the other perfect replication of a scene in the UK version that really sticks in my mind was the street scene outside the record shop with the long 360 degree pan. It's hardly a surprise they used the same Who song given the ep's. title, but I thought it was interesting to compare the two for two reasons: 1)that there was so much *more* period detail, costumes & people filling the street given that it was a US show with a bigger budget (and a NYC street is a lot more busy & teeming than a Manchester street in any event, so it didn't feel like overkill), and 2)being a 360 degree pan of a New York neighborhood street corner, it was probably inevitable that it immediately made me think of the 8 panel gatefold cover of the Beastie Boys album Paul's Boutique (speaking of the loss of the vinyl LP, the CD booklet has the same fold out 8 panel 360 cover photo, but this is one album you really want to have the full size LP version of if you can get your hands on a copy. I think it's from one of the last years that vinyl still mattered more than CDs)
As for the few differences, the differences in Annie were very subtle (unlike the downright anachronistic Annie of the L.A. pilot), but I thought they worked very well & added up to improving the character. One big problem with the L.A. pilot was the scene where Sam comes up with the psychological profile of the killer, in that version it really *was* Sam who came up with the whole thing & Annie was basically used as a prop. In the UK version, I seem to recall that it was pretty much Annie who came up with the whole profile herself when prodded by Sam, but here they seem to have split the difference & come up with a perfect blend where the two characters are in perfect sync and seem to be spontaneously coming up with the profile together, even manging to come up with some desperately needed chemistry between the two of them if only for that one brief instant.
As for the end, well, to be honest I wasn't sorry to see them lose 'Psychiatrist ex-boyfriend", I thought his little stunt was one of the weakest parts of the UK version. The L.A. pilot to it's credit tried to tweak him into something that made a bit more sense, but it still didn't work. Unfortunately we also lost the rooftop scene between Sam & Annie but IMO the much improved scene of them working out the profile together partially made up for losing the Sam-Annie bonding element of the rooftop scene, and I guess the suicide aspect was more or less covered by Sam trying to goad the "real killer" into shooting him (although strangely, that part seemed to remind me of Ashes To Ashes for some reason).
Finally, I admit I don't know what the hell the point was supposed to be of making Collin Rhymes one of a set of twins, but I did like the one & only substantial original element to this version, the part where Sam tracks down young Colin at the end and seems to be about to shoot him. That was pretty dark, but it added an element uncertainty as to Sam's potentially unbalanced, teetering on the edge mental state that I liked.
So yeah, I guess I'm the sort of geek that likes comparing nearly identical scenes and working out why one "works" better than the other, but still I hope to God they start straying a lot further from the UK episodes starting next week, because even for me this continued carbon copying would start to get old real fast.
Edited by Odac, Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:04 AM.
Posted Oct 9, 2008 @ 11:56 PM
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:01 AM
I think U.S. Sam is more likely to be truly unhinged than UK Sam. It was that scene with young Colin that did it for me. *shudder*
That scene was creepy but worked really well with the anger and defiance of US Sam. The UK scene with Annie coaxing him from jumping off the building was more emotional, but I'm not sure it would have worked as well in this version. As mentioned upthread, UK Sam always seemed more vulnerable and I don't think O'Mara could have pulled that vulnerability off enough for that scene. He did a great job with the changed parts (I agree with everyone saying his acting was stronger in the changed scenes) and was giving off a serious scary vibe in the scene with the kid. I hope they break away from the UK series soon and branch out more and do their own thing.
All of this talk about US Annie vs UK Annie...well, so far US Annie was basically the only US character that I had no problem with. I actually like the fact that she's tougher and seems more like a female cop.
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:10 AM
I actually like the fact that she's tougher and seems more like a female cop.
I did too just because I don't think U.K. Annie would have worked in the U.S. version at all; she wouldn't seem real (I don't know how real she seemed to U.K. viewers).
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:26 AM
Will US Gene ever get to say the immortal "You are surrounded by armed bastards"? And does that need to be spoiled?
On an ABC promo webpage someone in the old "LOM US Version" thread linked to there was a whole long series of promos & very short scenes from upcoming episodes, and in one of them US Gene does indeed shout a slightly altered version of that line, (although it doesn't work nearly as well with Kietel as it did for Glennister, perhaps the line just doesn't work for an American cop).
As for the spoiler bars, I'm erring on the side of caution for now.
Edited by Odac, Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:26 AM.
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:33 AM
I think the revamped ending also sucked. There is something heart-rending and amazing about the close of the first episode that's lacking here because it's...well, it's gone.
Why does Sam have to have the biggest apartment in the world? It's so annoying when people have mammoth apartments no matter what their income might be. The claustrophobia of Sam's flat in the original was a great thing. Sam weeping in frustration on the television was a great thing. None of this feels like a great thing to me. I will watch the next two episodes and that's probably going to be it.
Brit TV is willing to take chances and not stick big, beefcakey actors in the lead roles, which I think generally works to their benefit. I can't get on board with a Sam who's bigger than Gene. All the supporting roles look right, but the lead always has to be Mr. Super Good Looking and frankly it bores me.
Why yes! I'm slightly bitter! *grins*
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:58 AM
I disagree about the general tone in this thread toward UK vs US Annie. I still think UK Annie is a more believable character for the time, although it does make sense that they had to toughen up the character a bit because they're in New York. I found Gretchen Mol very effective in most scenes, but the parts where she was trying to be sweeter rang a bit false to me. I think the scene where Annie leaves Sam's apartment, for instance, worked much better in the UK version because Liz White had the right balance of sweetness and frustration, while Gretchen just looked kind of goofy. Overall, though, I liked US Annie and think she will work very well in the context of the New York-set show, but I believe UK Annie more as a realistic character, at least so far.
As for Gene, I think Keitel is creating a very different character to Philip Glenister's Gene, and I think it works, for the most part. Keitel isn't quite the dominating presence that Glenister is in LOMUK, but he communicates that there is a lot more of Gene than we have seen yet. I will be curious to see how his character develops.
O'Mara is much better in this episode than he was in the old pilot, and his Sam is shaping up to be very different than John Simm's, but I think he's still got some work to do. I think he can be a credible Sam, and he doesn't have to make me forget Simm--he just has to be able to create a character that I care about enough to separate him from the UK version. I'm not sure I like the Maya relationship being beefed up, but I guess I have to wait and see how that plays out.
Edited by beldasnoop, Oct 10, 2008 @ 1:51 AM.
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 1:20 AM
I miss John Simm. A LOT. He was and will always be true Sam to me. And damn, was he a good actor.
I've seen Jason O'Mara in other stuff, and he's not bad. But as Sam he's very disappointing thus far.
I was surprisingly not annoyed at all by Gretchen Mol, but I still miss Liz White. Heck I miss all of the original cast.
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 3:25 AM
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 3:30 AM
Result: Pretty much hated the US version. I'll happily concede that I think Keitel still has potential as Gene -- although, what with the relative sizes and ages of Gene and Sam, they should never have kept the dialogue where Sam suggests they fight in the middle of the pub. Because, honestly, O'Mara's Sam could kick Keitel's Gene from here till Tuesday. So Sam threatening Gene can only end with Gene backing down, and it's going to set up a pretty crappy dynamic if Sam can just run roughshod over his new boss.
And during the scene with the little old lady, my friend and I were making bets on whether Keitel would jump over the desk -- so when they did that shot from behind, we just burst out laughing, yelling, "Stunt double!"
At the commercial break at 9:50 (with Sam at gunpoint) I thought, "OK, they've got ten minutes for Gene to save Sam; Sam to make the connection to the present; Sam to throw out the medical report; and the bit on the roof." Seemed like a lot. I was actually pleased with Sam trying to have the killer shoot him -- it simplified matters and made the idea of killing himself to get back be Sam's alone. So I was down with that (right up until he pretty much put his hand on the gun and pulled it closer to himself, at which point I thought, "if you want to die, why don't you pull the trigger as long as your hand is on the gun?" But that's a directorial issue.)
But it completely, utterly (and possibly irretrieveably) lost me when he contemplated killing the kid. I get that Sam is potentially unbalanced, what with being taken out of time and all, but he's still the "good cop" in this arrangement -- he's asking for warrants; he wants to stop questioning the witness when she asks for a lawyer; he asks if it is really necessary to beat the suspect. He's the good guy. Good guys don't shoot kids. That's pretty basic.
I guess they put in the twin so that: (1) in the present, they'd have to release him; but (2) it turns out that he's still the killer anyway. But I think the UK solution here was much more elegant, and the moral dilemma that faced UK Sam was a lot more plausible than killing a kid. And I also liked that UK Gene made it something of a test for UK Sam. I missed that. (And I missed the establishment of a real friendship with Annie on the roof.) But I really, really hated watching Sam so easily flirt with the idea of shooting an innocent child.
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 4:22 AM
Sure, Sam's asking about warrants and all that—but that's what most cops do in the present, and one can be a far cry from political correctness cop and still want warrants. In our time interrogations are taped (you always have to accept it if somebody asks for a lawyer), you can't beat suspects because you'll get sued, and so on.
I guess I'm saying there's a big difference between ingrained behaviour because of circumstance and who US Sam actually is. I can see him embracing 1973 far more than the original, he's already being presented as a little darker and this is a time when cops just did stuff.
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 10:05 AM
Really? I loved the idea of Sam shooting the kid. For starters it makes the point that US Sam is a darker character than UK Sam, and possibly unbalanced to boot, and it brings up the classic "if you could kill Hitler, would you?" dilemma. It is in a moment the way forward they can go with Sam that's different from UK Sam.
Totally agree with you there, ElectricMonk. That took it in a different direction. But the different direction was started with the scene where Willie tried to kill Sam (and talked about sending him "home"). Sam was actually embracing that, when Ray and Chris barged in and saved the day. That's HUGE, in my book: both Sams want to go home. But in the UK version, Sam talks himself out of it ("Why would I imagine that? Why would I put that kind of detail in it?") and then turned his decision over to Annie (who said "Stay.")
But in this version, the choice is taken out of his hands: Chris and Ray arrest Willie before he can follow through. Even after that, Sam takes action for himself -- trying to kill the kid. UK Sam sort of sat around and complained about it, but never really did anything about it like this.
And U.S. Sam actually hears Maya for himself, which UK Sam never did (until later). They omit a bonding scene with Annie in favor of a rebonding scene with Maya. Already 2008 is more tangible than 2006 ever was.
Another key scene at the beginning that's omitted (which I kind of think is the key to everything, and I don't know if anyone's brought it up yet): when UK Sam is lamenting that with all their technology, they can't catch Colin Raimes. It's right before Maya goes out on her own -- but it shows his dissatisfaction with modern police work (and the modern world). No such scene exists for U.S. Sam. 1973 is not wish fulfillment, it's something else.
I was OK with them copying the original (because the original is awesome), but I definitely think they set up a very different direction for the series at the end. And I can't wait to see where it goes.
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 10:12 AM
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 10:57 AM
But in this version, the choice is taken out of his hands: Chris and Ray arrest Willie before he can follow through.
Not completely -- which gets back to my complaint about the direction of that scene. Sam takes Willie's hand with the gun in it and moves it closer to him. Sam could, at this point, pull the trigger himself. Or he could easily disarm Willie and then shoot himself. Or he could go home afterward and shoot himself -- it isn't like they've taken his gun away from him.
He made the decision not to. And even if he made that decision on a temporary basis so that he could drive back and kill the kid, once Maya told him that was unnecessary, he again could have killed himself but decided against. At some point, he made the decision to stay -- either because he figured there was more he could do here, or because he was no longer sure killing himself would have worked. US Sam made the same decision UK Sam did -- we just never saw the deciding moment.
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 11:52 AM
Additionally, Gene specifically said "Take Sam to the flop." I've yet to see a flophouse that's better accommodations than most regular housing. UK Sam lived in squalor, that I can see as a flophouse. What US Sam has - not so much with the flop.
Why does Sam have to have the biggest apartment in the world? It's so annoying when people have mammoth apartments no matter what their income might be. The claustrophobia of Sam's flat in the original was a great thing. Sam weeping in frustration on the television was a great thing.
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 11:57 AM
(Though to be fair, if I remember correctly Kelley got this element even more wrong- I don't think Sam's apartment in that pilot even had the small concession of exposed brickwork.)
Edited by Ginn, Oct 10, 2008 @ 11:58 AM.
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:12 PM
I demand that Sam have a roach problem or something to compensate for this misjudgment.
He does have to share the bathroom with the rest of his floor. I think UK!Sam at least had his own toilet...
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:16 PM
Have never scene the original was it better then this one or is this one better?.
I preferred the UK version. The US pilot has borrowed heavily from the original, but in my opinion it was not always executed as well. But it's early days yet.
One thing USLOM has going for it is it has 22 episodes per season. I'm hoping for at least a triumph of quantity over quality here.
Edited by Dym, Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:19 PM.
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:19 PM
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:23 PM
US Sam made the same decision UK Sam did -- we just never saw the deciding moment.
Good point about the Willie scene, Adararose -- I didn't consider that. I do think the way U.S. Sam ultimately made the decision did indicate a very different direction for the show, though: Maya told him not to, whereas Annie told UK Sam not to. UK Sam's decision to stay forged a connection between himself and 1973. U.S. Sam's decision to stay reestablished a connection between himself and 2008. Whereas you could argue UK Sam had established two tentative bonds in 1973 by the end of 1x01 (Gene and Annie), U.S. Sam has used that time to try and kill someone from 1973, and talk to someone from 2008.
Each Pilot ends on a very different note, I think.
Edited by EolivetB, Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:23 PM.
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:32 PM
Maybe. One thing that does give me hope, though, was that despite the very last-minute nature of this pilot, it was loads better than the David E. Kelley version. The new team may improve as they find their feet.
I think quantity over quality is about all you're going to get, sadly.
Did anyone else find the idea that the police were so much more civilized in 2008 rang a bit less true in this incarnation? I always thought the reason it worked so well in the original is that UK cops have been pussified to a level we'd never dream of in America. (Normally) UK cops aren't even allowed guns. In comparison, you still hear about LOM-style abuses happening in America today.
Edited by Dym, Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:36 PM.
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:46 PM
Did anyone else find the idea that the police were so much more civilized in 2008 rang a bit less true in this incarnation?
Hadn't really thought about that. Although the bit that got me was that the office wasn't all that much changed. I mean, I think that in 2008, Sam had the same crappy metal desk that was in the 125th in 1973. (It just had a computer terminal on it.)
(Not saying that's necessarily WRONG, by the way. I haven't spent much time in police stations, but I wouldn't be entirely surprised that a local outfit (as opposed to the feds) hasn't had the budget to update the office to something all new and sparkly like UK Sam had in 2006.)
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:50 PM
(Though to be fair, if I remember correctly Kelley got this element even more wrong- I don't think Sam's apartment in that pilot even had the small concession of exposed brickwork.)
I'm not sure exposed brickwork would have been an appropriate architectural choice for the L.A. setting, it doesn't strike me as the sort of thing that's done much out there.
But at least in the Kelly pilot I don't remember Sam visibly wincing with disgust upon entering his new digs indicating we're supposed to think it's a sqalid hovel. If you're going to have NYC Sam copy UK Sam's reaction to first seeing his apartment, then you dam well had *better* copy the actual apt. itself, I've known plenty of NYC residents who would leap with joy upon being shown an apt. as big as NYC Sam's and being told it was theirs, ...at least until being informed of the bathroom situation.
But honestly? knowing they had a concrete example of a "squalid apartment" in the UK show to work from, I was hopeful that for once we just might get a realistically tiny NYC working class apartment on TV, but I wasn't really expecting it. It just doesn't seem to be something that American TV is capable of doing. In fact, in all of TV history the most realistically humble portrayal of a working class NYC apartment just might have been the set from The Honeymooners, and even *that* was actually too big.
(BTW, What struck me about the L.A. pilot's apartment was that it had the fakest looking "outside" views through the window & door that I'd ever seen on television. I tried to tell myself that that was something (like visible safety wire attached to Sam in the rooftop scene at the end) that they would have "fixed" in post production if the ep. had made it to air, but if that were the case I think we would have seen a green or blue screen through the windows rather than those blatantly fake palmtrees & "sky" backdrop)
Although the bit that got me was that the office wasn't all that much changed. I mean, I think that in 2008, Sam had the same crappy metal desk that was in the 125th in 1973. (It just had a computer terminal on it.)
Actually, that's one thing that always struck me as a bit wrong about the UK version: how the police station was all antiseptic, shinny & new in 2006 but seemed old & decrepit in 1973. I get how it fit as far as setting the tone and atmosphere, but logically it should have been a bit more the other way around. In fact, unlike the US version, in the UK scene when Sam was freaking out shouting that "This is *MY* office!, *MY* desk goes right HERE!, WHERE'S MY DESK?!!!", I never really bought that he was standing in the same building interior that we had seen in 2006. I suppose it's possible the police building was built in the late 40s or early 50s (although the exterior looked too modern for that), was really showing its age by 1973, and then had been completely gutted & the interior remade from scratch not long before 2006, but I thought it worked much better in the US version where you could actually see that it was the same office 35 years earlier.
Edited by Odac, Oct 10, 2008 @ 1:07 PM.
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 1:30 PM
And yet they MISSED translating ANOTHER even better 360 pan. There's one in the UK version when Sam first "wakes up". And the lack of that pan hurt the US versions "awakening" scene.
Anyway, the other perfect replication of a scene in the UK version that really sticks in my mind was the street scene outside the record shop with the long 360 degree pan.
And yet quantity introduces some possibilities the UK version never had. UK LOM REALLY underplayed the characters of Chris and Ray. True, these are characters who may not even exist outside Sam's mind, but since we've already heard from Sam that if this is a delusion its one of immense complexity, there's some wiggle room. And even Annie could have had a lot more development--everything we know about Annie in through the filter of her interactions with Sam.
I think quantity over quality is about all you're going to get, sadly.
Of course that filter DOES have to remain to some extent. One rule which this show BETTER NOT ever break is that we shouldn't see ANYTHING that isn't through Sam's eyes or ears. If we get more Ray, Chris and Annie backstory, Sam has to SEE it himself. The camera has to be virtually chained to Sam in an invisible circle and we can't ever get anyone else's P.O.V. But that still leaves a lot of room to work. Sam needs to stumble into new things about these people. And it should help feed his confusion over how real this all is--perhaps he inevitably should run into things about them which are detailed, but which also connect up to stuff in the back of his mind from 2008.
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 1:46 PM
And yet they MISSED translating ANOTHER even better 360 pan. There's one in the UK version when Sam first "wakes up". And the lack of that pan hurt the US versions "awakening" scene
I think there was a very real reason for that, actually: NYC in 1973 actually had skyscrapers, Manchester in 1973 didn't. What was so striking about the UK pan wasn't the pan itself, but the utter amount of sky -- how desolate it seemed compared to 2006.
One rule which this show BETTER NOT ever break is that we shouldn't see ANYTHING that isn't through Sam's eyes or ears.
That's assuming the ending (and the solution) is the same. If it's not, all bets are off, as far as I'm concerned.