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September 1, 2014

Is there Life on Mars?

by Martin Conaghan, posted Jan 7th 2006 12:33PM
John SimmHow's this for a fantastic premise: a driven and ambitious young British detective is determined to keep the streets of 21st Century Manchester safe. But after a near fatal car accident, he wakes up, dazed and confused, in 1973.

David Bowie's Life on Mars is playing on his iPod when he crashes, hence the title.

That's the background on a new series, Life on Mars, starting on BBC ONE in the U.K. on Monday 9 January, starring John Simm (24 Hour Party People) as Sam Tyler and Philip Glenister (Calendar Girls) as DCI Gene Hunt.

As you can imagine, poor Sam is like a fish out of water, with obscure moralities and strange views on the tough attitudes of tough-nut British detectives in the 1970s.

TV Squad will be watching the bizarre time-travelling cop drama, so expect some updates when the series kicks in.

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Carol Bowes

I didn't start watching the show til the last four episodes, but I LOVE it. I keep checking BBC America to see if they might replay it, but so far no luck.

John Simm is outstanding. I love good drama and good acting. This show delivers both.

The only other show that ever had me this excited is 'Blakes Seven' (even if it is 30 years old).

September 26 2006 at 3:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Fence

i think that last comment is a bit harsh. Two 8 episode seasons (which all we are talking about at the moment) is hardly milking it. We'll see how season 2 fairs.

Loved this show. Best thing on british tv at the moment.

February 28 2006 at 9:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ian

The above was my reaction to the first episode of Life On Mars. Which I still stand by. All the episodes up to and including the last have been intriguing, witty and thought provoking.
It's ironic that given the chance to end the series at it's zenith, and leave it to be remembered as a good, well thought out drama, the writers have chosen to carry on to a second series, possibly a third, etc etc, and milk this cash cow for all it's worth. It's a decision that is like the seventies itself, the fading echoes of hippy values and long hair and flares hiding the tarnished wreckage of sixties idealism.
I don't blame the writers, the unexpected success means they have the chance to make more money than they may ever earn again, this may be the last series they ever produce that is this popular.
On a technical level the ending, to a otherwise strongly written episode, had the feeling of being tacked on, changed, or pre-written just in case.
So, no Fawlty Towers then, just another series destined to become a sad parody of its former strength. "Mash, Only Fools and Horses, Last of the Summer Wine" et al. Gene Hunt's world weary cynicism would be shocked by the eighties world that the series will become, milking nostalgia for all it's worth. Sam Tyler would understand it only too well.
Guess we're all whores when you get down to it, Gene would have understood that.
The wheel is indeed just.

February 27 2006 at 5:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Big Mal

Missed the first two episodes, where can I get/watch them

February 01 2006 at 2:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Big Mal

Missed the first two episodes, where can I get/watch them

February 01 2006 at 2:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PAUL BAKEWELL

Very well written review of an excellent series - I only hope it maintains the high standard - Nobody mentioned the blinding soundtrack - Expect this to be released & spark another 70s revival - Along wiv da 60's a great decaded for moozik !

January 24 2006 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ian

Just watched Life on Mars. With a few little criticisms, generally excellently well observed. This is not written or directed by a hack. Especially liked the sequence just after he was transported back in time; standing dazed in the rubble, framed by the rotting hulk of a factory, as the camera panned around him with the same tune echoing over both times, very well done and evocative. The characters were well observed and the changes in social mores interesting. He does slightly overstate the seventies aspect, times haven't changed that much, or have they?
In many ways it shows that not only is the past a different country, but the recent past is the fading echos of a world we know and knew, the familiar and unfamiliar juxtaposed, both seen through the shimmering lense of time's drifting frets. As one thinks one recognises a familiar way of speech, a snatched fragrance or familiar fashion, the mist is swept away and we see the recent past for the empty shore of memory it is.
It's plot and premise was complex enough to make a one off two hour drama. Given the rich vein to be mined, it's somehow just right that the seventies are observed from the new century, the difference is just long enough.
A couple of years ago I was labouring in the yard of a building merchants, I was about 40, with a young guy, about 18. He asked me, "what was it like growing up in the seventies then".
I said, "much the same as growing up any other time, except you had to dress like a prat."
The wheel is just.

January 09 2006 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dearjb

really looking forward to this to

January 08 2006 at 8:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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