If you consider yourself to be any kind of television connoisseur (or even just someone with relatively high viewing standards and a low tolerance for the Fox network) you would be remiss to go any further in your search for truly brilliant television if you have not already watched the UK original series, Life on Mars.
Yes, there is an American reinterpretation of the series by the same name, but I urge you, by all that is good and proper and acceptable in polite society, not to dilute this masterfully crafted experience with a counterfeit. For what is perfect in its original state needs no reinvention.
I don't know what currently rests atop your totem pole for award-winning television, but as I just finished watching the final episode of—what I now consider to be the standard by which all television must be judged—I feel compelled to declare your pole-topper rubbish.
Life on Mars first aired in the United Kingdom back in 2006-2007, but I only recently became enamored of it this year when my TV Guide, Kristi, brought it to my attention. As she cautioned me, I caution you: Life on Mars will absorb you into its psychedelic mind-ride faster than you can admit to only trying meth once.
Your ears will adjust, your pupils will dilate, your heartbeat will race and over the course of 16 quick-witted, hard-hitting, socially unsettling episodes this intelligent British procedural will kick your ass and remix what you thought to be the formula for gripping TV.
I don't know what element of the show will seal the deal for you. Maybe it'll be the 1970's backdrop or the era's impeccable soundtrack. Maybe it'll just be the revival of leather jackets and broad collars. But whatever it is, it will catch you off guard. Then, from the first crime scene to the last stomach-churning moments Life on Mars will take you somewhere remarkable.
Somewhere you may just spend the rest of your channel-surfing days trying to get back to.