Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ashes to Ashes to Ashes

The original premise of Life on Mars, back in the day, was that a 21st century cop got a bang on the head and found himself in 1973. It was a brilliant conception. The writers left the ending of series 2 ambiguous. No-one was left the wiser as to whether Sam Tyler had died, remained in a coma or lost his marbles.

In carrying on to series 3 now updated in its Bowieness to Ashes to Ashes they needed a new angle to avoid more of the same and so Alex Drake, another modern cop, gets shot and she ends up in 1981. The same question hangs, am I mad etc, but allowing inter-action with the 70s crew, now ten years older and struggling with the arrival of technology, psychological profiling, recorded interviews and paperwork, makes for some fun cameos. Everyone did think Betamax was better quality than VHS. Then. And of course, firing up the red Audi Quattro was fun too.

The early days of anti-racism, anti-sexism and, gasp, human rights for scum, are carefully chronicled allowing those of us who were alive then to remind ourselves that, yes, we were really like that.

Governments wanting to return power to the local police need to be very aware of what the local police used to do with it and why it was taken off them, or only handed over with accountability in tow.

Last night's final episode cleared up the loose ends of what has been really going on. Everything was not quite as we thought but it all makes sense now. Don't look at Wikipedia if you haven't seen it yet. It has a plot spoiler which is annoying.

Philip Glenister's Gene Hunt was a larger than life bully governor and needed a strong antagonist. In Daniel Mays as Jim Keats, the Discipline and Complaints Officer who is investigating Hunt's CID team, I think they came up with one of the best caricature characters I have ever seen. A delight, and brilliantly played.

As the series ends, apparently for all time, a new character walks in to 1983 and asks if anyone has seen his iPhone. He could have walked into 2003 and no-one would have been the wiser. How soon we forget and take for granted. Our children will see as rights those things which we fought for and as necessaries those things which were our luxuries.

4 comments:

Mike Peatman said...

a rare example of a sequel being as good as its predecessor, and I thought the ending was very interesting.

But how come Sam Tyler kept his (anachronistic) LCD watch?

dmk said...

Watched it on Iplayer yesterday, very very clever. I like the idea of heaven as a pub.

dmk said...

oh yes, and the whole point of Wikipedia is to enable people to keep up with series when they're not always able to keep up with each episode. It's meant I only needed to watch 2 episodes of Heroes in any series.

themethatisme said...

I thought the ending was superb...and I'm going to miss Gene terribly.