Life On Mars

Posted: 15. juuni 2010 in Films/TV-Shows
Sildid:, , ,

Yesterday after the Italian-Paraguay match I discovered a new TV-show and now I’m like – “give me more of this show”. I don’t know how I have missed this. The show is called “Life On Mars” and it’s a BBC show that was aired on BBC One from 2006 to 2007. It has only two seasons and one season consists of 8 episodes. What’s it about?

Life on Mars tells the fictional story of Sam Tyler, a police officer in service with the Greater Manchester Police. After being hit by a car in 2006, Tyler awakes in 1973 and finds himself working for the predecessor of the GMP, the Manchester and Salford Police, at the same station and location as in 2006. Early on in the series, it becomes apparent to Tyler that he awakes as a Detective Inspector, one rank lower than his 2006 rank of Detective Chief Inspector. As part of the CID, Tyler finds himself working under the command of Gene Hunt. Throughout the two series, the central plot centers on the ambiguity concerning Tyler’s predicament of it being unclear to both the audience and the character whether he has died, gone mad, is in a coma or has actually traveled back in time.

-SPOLIER – In the final episode is is revealed that Sam’s coma had lasted so long because he had a tumor of the brain. Tyler comes to believe the tumour is embodied by Hunt, and begins to think that by bringing Hunt down, his own body can recover. To this end, Tyler begins to collaborate with Frank Morgan to bring Hunt down. While Tyler and the team are engaged in a firefight with armed robbers, Sam returns to 2006. He eventually comes to realise that he has become used to, and enjoys, the 1970s, seeing it as his “real world”. In an attempt to get back to 1973 to save Annie and the rest of the team from death, Sam leaps off of the roof of the police station arriving back in 1973 and saving the team, promising never to leave them again. In the final scene, the team drive off, with Sam and Gene bickering as usual. Children run past, including the girl from Test Card F. She looks directly into the camera before reaching out and “switching off” the television the viewer is watching, signifying that the story has come to an end.

“Life On Mars” had a sequel series – “Ashes To Ashes” which run total of 3 seasons from 2008-2010. In “Ashes To Ashes” the main character is a female police officer (Alex Drake)  in service with London’s Metropolitan Police who is shot in 2008, and inexplicably regains consciousness in 1981. The first episode of the series reveals that, in the present day, Drake has been studying records of the events seen in Life On Mars. Upon waking in the past, she is shocked to meet returning character Gene Hunt of whom she has learned from her research. Throughout the series, it is ambiguous to both Drake and the audience whether the character is dead or alive in the present day. SPOILER: The final episode reveals that the Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes world is a kind of limbo for “restless dead” police officers: Gene, Ray, Chris, and Shaz are all dead; and it’s revealed that Alex herself has died – demonstrated by them walking to ‘the light’ that is signified by the Railway Arms. All except Hunt “move on”, as he takes it upon himself to act as a Ferryman like “shepherd” to all of his officers, helping them towards the time to go into The Railway Arms (their euphemism of Heaven). Gene returns to his office where a newly dead officer arrives, demanding his iPhone and asking where his office has gone.

I really liked the idea of the time travel, death and after-life and also the way crimes were differently investigated. I think that the most interesting and diverse character is the second main character in both series – Gene Hunt. He is portrayed as politically incorrect, brutal and corrupt. Hunt is often displayed to maintain a love-and-hate relationship with both Sam Tyler and Alex Drake. However, subordinate members of his team display much loyalty and respect for him. During the last episode, Hunt is revealed to be part of a supernatural world populated by dead police officers. His role has been described as an “archangel”, helping the souls in a place between “earth and heaven” to get where they wanted to be. His role is to take them “to the pub” – moving on to a “heaven” beyond.

So, at the moment I’m searching if there is maybe an DVD release of the two shows because I’m addicted to it at the moment. What can I say – I just LOVE British TV-shows 🙂

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  1. […] “Life On Mars” and “Ashes To Ashes” – British TV-shows I’ve written once before (and quite thoroughly) about, so I’ll just link it here […]

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