Life is Good for 'Life on Mars'

Jasonomara_lifeonmars_240 It's finally happened!

I finally have a new favorite show this season. Between Do Not Disturb, Kath & Kim (which actually managed to be worse than I feared it would be) and The Ex List, I was beginning to think that the new TV season and I would have to permanently break up.

But then I watched the first two episodes of Life on Mars (Thursday, ABC, 10 p.m.) and all was right in my TV world. I love this show. It's a terrific role for Jason O'Mara who brings the right amount of confusion, indignation and eventual acceptance to the role. It's a great mix of the episodic crime of the week with the serial mystery (what the heck is going on?). And it's a fascinating look back at another time. How great are Michael Imperioli and Harvey Keitel? How great are their mustaches?

Michaelimperioli_lifeonmars_240 If you haven't watched Life on Mars yet, please check out the already aired episodes now up on abc.com and watch tomorrow night's new episode. We need to support this show. What do you think of Life on Mars? And Do you have a favorite new show this season? Talk about it below.

Where Have I Seen Them Before?

Benny Ciaramello was the soldier whose life Justin saved on Brothers & Sisters. DJ recognized him as Santiago last season on Friday Night Lights and Darren, the soldier who was gay on Grey's Anatomy last season.

Christine was excited to see Morena Baccarin as Lynn on Numb3rs. She was Inara on Firefly and Jessica on Heartland.

Diane recognized Jenna Leigh Green, Libby on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, as Violet on Cold Case. Diane was wondering what Green has been up to since Sabrina. Well I saw her as Nessarose in the Broadway tour of Wicked.

Diane also caught Charles Shaughnessy as Saint John Powell, the man interested in acquiring Sterling Cooper on Mad Men. Shaughnessy was Mr. Sheffield on The Nanny and I will always remember him as Shane Donovan on Days of Our Lives.

Briankrause_charmed_240_003 Brian Krause, Leo on Charmed, was the guy working on a car who Don talked to on Mad Men.

Jeanne recognized Chris Eigeman as David Esterbrook on Fringe. He was Jason on Gilmore Girls, Lionel on Malcolm in the Middle and Arthur on It's Like, You Know. I also know him from movies including Kicking and Screaming and The Last Days of Disco.

So we all recognized (a quite charming) Katie Holmes on Eli Stone. But Jeanne wanted to make sure we caught Ken Howard as the father whose son died in Iraq. Howard was of course The White Shadow. We saw him last season as Joe Samuels in Cane and he was also Jordan's dad in Crossing Jordan. Gina Torres, Anna Espinosa on Alias, Cheryl in Standoff, Julia Milken on 24, and Zoe in Firefly, was the lawyer opposing Eli. Roxanne Hart, Camille on Chicago Hope, was the soldier's mother.

Dianascarwid_wonderfalls_240 Scott noticed Diana Scarwid as Mother Superior on Pushing Daisies. She played Karen on Wonderfalls where Lee Pace played her son. The casting isn't that much of a coincidence. Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls share the same executive producer -Bryan Fuller.

Max Burkholder was the boy afraid of surgery on Grey's Anatomy. He's Robert's son on Brothers & Sisters.

Where Have I Heard That Before?

Steve, Lisa, and Tiffany were the first of many readers to be excited that Jordan (Victor Garber) had a meeting at Credit Dauphine on Eli Stone. Credit Dauphine was, of course, the cover name for SD-6 on Alias, a series that also starred Victor Garber.

Jessica was excited by the Cataldo apartments, a shout out to October Road, on Life on Mars. Jonathan Murphy, who played Ronnie on October Road, plays Detective Chris Skelton on Life on Mars. And all three executive producers (Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, and Scott Rosenberg) were also producers on October Road.

Enricocolantoni_flashpoint_240 Ask TV Gal

I was wondering if you can tell me if/when Flashpoint and Swingtown will be back on the air? Claude

CBS did pick up Flashpoint for an additional 13 episodes but the network hasn't announced a date for when the new episodes will begin to air other than it will be sometime "next year." Bravo picked up the rights to re-air the first season of Swingtown. The cable network will have a marathon of all 13 episodes this Friday (October 24) beginning at 12 p.m. But there is no word on if Bravo will produce a second season of the show and my guess is that they won't.

Mattdallas2_kylexy_s2_240 Any idea when Kyle XY will be back on the air? Katie

ABC Family tells me that Kyle XY will be back with its third season on January 12, 2009. And the network promises the show will be back "with a bang."

When you got back from your honeymoon...what did you watch on your TiVos first? How did you make that decision? Just curious. Liz

Liz I love this question because I think my TiVos are the window into my TV watching soul (not be too dramatic or anything). It turns out my decision making process was fairly simple and fairly revealing. I watched the shows I like the best first --- so I watched an episode of The Office, than an episode of How I Met Your Mother, and kept alternating between those two shows until I was all caught up with them. Then I was so exhausted that I had to watch something that I loved but wasn't any heavy lifting --- that meant Greek. Sunday and Monday were devoted to (in order) House, Brothers & Sisters, Mad Men, Desperate Housewives, Bones, Project Runway, 90210 (yeah I was surprised by how far down the list this show feel too), ER, Grey's Anatomy, and Army Wives. TiVo had for some reason decided not to tape Eli Stone so I had to wait until I opened all my packages to get the DVD of the first two episodes from ABC or I would have watched it much sooner. You can file under interesting that I still haven't watched Heroes or Fringe --- for some reason both of these shows seem more like a chore right now.

Mad Men. What on Earth do you see in this show? I admittedly did not watch it last year, but upon your fawning all over them I have recorded and watched every show this season...much to my disappointment! I hate Don. I hate him. He's a prick...he should go back to the name Dick because it suits him much better! The rest of the cast...B-O-R-I-N-G! Rebecca

Well, Rebecca, you definitely aren't the first person to ask me this question. I think I love the show for all the reasons it frustrates you. I find the pace of the show transfixing. The character's repression fascinating. We never know exactly what they are thinking or what they will do next. I don't think we are supposed to like Don, an unhappy man who has built his entire adult life on a lie. Don has buried his feelings so deep that he's become an emotionless observer of his own life. He is detached from his wife, his children, and his career. He's an anti-hero like Tony Soprano. He's just a better-dressed more well mannered one.

I'm particularly interested in what the show has done with Joan this season. She's a woman who has used her attractiveness to her advantage but now is struggling both personally and professionally which I think is helping her see Peggy's struggles in a totally new light. I was heartbroken for her when she was replaced in the TV Department. I wanted her to break up with her fiancé after he raped her in Don's office. That was a horrifically disturbing scene. Her fiancé is threatened by her past relationships and doesn't understand her career ambition at all. Of all the characters on the show, I think Joan may be best poised to finally stand up for herself. That's among the things I'm hoping will happen in this Sunday's finale (10 p.m. on AMC). What do you all think of Mad Men this season? Talk about it below.

That's all for today. I'm back on Friday with quotes of the weeks and to talk about Grey's Anatomy, ER and more. Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Want to nominate a quote of the week? Write me at amytvgal@zap2it.com.