In an interview with TV.com, Scott Rosenburg and Josh Applebaum talk about tonight’s series finale and why the show didn’t work on a major network.
TV.com: When did you find out that Life on Mars was not going to get picked up, and how did that change the production process for you?
Scott Rosenburg: We were crafting the 17th episode, and we always knew what it was going to be. It was a big culmination episode for us in a lot of ways. We knew the ratings were grim, and we went to ABC and we said, “Look, we know the ratings were grim.” We always knew what our end point was for a season finale and for a series finale, and we basically said, “Listen, we have this thing, and we’d love to be able to shoot two Act Six’s, you know, one for a series finale and one for a season finale.” And they came back to us and they said, “You can do the series finale.” We were like, “Okay, but what about the season finale?” And they were like, “Just do the series finale,” and that was a pretty good indication right there.
But it’s not something that [networks] often do. They usually wait ’til May, but it was a general true affection for the show in the executive’s suites at ABC, and because of that they let us actually wrap it up–because it just would have sucked to be cancelled and to have the 17th episode and all these cliff hangers. And now it exists as a complete thought. It’s got a beginning, middle, and an end.
TV.com: So the finale does have a full resolution. We will see exactly what’s going on with Sam.
Scott Rosenburg: Yes. Yes.
The duo go on to discuss the series finale.
While it will be sad to see the show go, this is soooooooo much better than ending the season with a bunch of cliffhangers and holding out hope that the show gets picked up for another season. I applaud the producers for confronting the network about the show’s future and the network for making a quick decision and allowing the creators to properly bring the season to a close.