Saturday, April 14, 2007

Life on Mars: everything now crystal clear

Although I was down in Devon, I couldn't miss out on the final ep of Life on Mars. After all, how many TV shows combine time travel, policing, the 1970s and David Bowie in one, complete crackpot package?

The main problem was getting the mini-Ws to sleep in the hotel room. We'd been out for a meal with relatives and they were excitable. I mean the kids were excitable, not the relatives. Anyway, I didn't manage to tune in until DCI Frank Morgan was escorting Dr Sam Beckett... err... sorry, DI Sam Tyler... around a graveyard. What followed over the next 35 minutes was the biggest load of confused hocus-pocus you could ever imagine, which was obviously designed to be interpreted by conspiracy theorists in 15 different ways for the next 50 years.

At a creative level, the logical end point was Sam jumping off the top of a building in 2007. Thanks to the advice of the empath behind the bar in 1973, he realised that he was actually more alive in the past than he was in the present and we could draw our own conclusion that his apparent suicide was a bid to return to the world of Wagon Wheels and mixed veg. But in an unusual twist, the scriptwriters followed him back to the seventies. This allowed for resolution of the love interest and created the opportunity for a couple of pretty good comical asides, but also created some anomalies. I couldn't understand, for instance, why Sam's treachery (in supposedly being a spy for Frank Morgan) could suddenly be forgiven and forgotten by his long-haired colleagues. OK, he saved Gene Hunt's life. But did that make everything right in their book? There was also a sense in the final bar scene of the staff of the nick welcoming him back to 1973. But surely he'd never been away? He landed right back at the point he'd disappeared - in the railway tunnel with shooters going off left and right.

Time travel is a tiring and bewildering old business, isn't it? Can the sequel really be set in 1980 and called Ashes to Ashes or is this just people on the web having a laugh?

No comments:

Post a Comment