She’ll scratch in the sand, won’t let go his hand

Tonight Life On Mars starts its second series on television. Life On Mars was without doubt the most enjoyable British television production I saw last year (especially as Spooks is starting to sag of late), and I say that as an eighties child who thinks everything that the Seventies gave us (with the exception of punk rock, the Arsenal double-winning side and the Voyager probes) was shit.

It’s not the nostalgia factor for me, or even the novel twist on the chalk-and-cheese copper duo, or even the “Is Sam Tyler in a coma-induced fantasy world, or has he really travelled back in time and the coma thing is just his brain’s best attempt at dealing with it?” question that overhangs the entire series, but the way all of these are expertly combined. Add in a slick production values, some cheeky hints and subtle clues within (such as the inspiration for this blog post title – ten points to the first commenter to work it out), brilliant acting by John Sim, Philip Glenister and Liz White*, and a great soundtrack (although the DVD version alas couldn’t get all the rights to all of them, from what I hear).

But although I’m looking forward to tonight’s episode, I do so with a certain amount of trepidation. The promo video and the posters all seem to be plugging the Seventies nostalgia theme a lot. I really hope this is just the marketing spods in charge of the campaign just totally misunderstood the charm and complexity of the series, rather than a sign the show is just going to become a “we luv the seventies” spoof of The Sweeney. The worst thing would be if, in the hurry to produce a second series having only planned for one, the creators have run out of inspiration.

One thing that bodes well though, is that this is definitely the last series they’ll do, which suggests they know they’ve got a good thing going and don’t want to ruin it by stretching it beyond its natural bounds (take heed, producers of LOST!). Oh well. Only time will tell (Ha! Geddit? Never mind). I’ll be glued in front of the TV tonight and despite my reservations, I really recommend you do the same as well.

* Who, incidentally, just about beats Eve Myles aka Torchwood‘s Gwen Cooper as my favourite actress playing a gorgeous-looking brunette police officer with a regional accent in a BBC show in 2006. But only just.

5 thoughts on “She’ll scratch in the sand, won’t let go his hand

  1. I was slightly worried about the prospect of the show descending into a Sweeney parody when Gene kicked the door in in his first scene, but on balance I think the first two episodes worked out just fine. The second was particularly good, I thought, downplaying the synchronised punching and messages from the future in favour of hard-hitting clashes of loyalties. (I’m deliberately being vague in case you only watched the first episode on BBC1.)

    And for the record, Liz Smith is far and away the best brunette police officer on TV right now. So there!

  2. Phil, you haven’t quite got there – any fule (especially equipped with Google) would know that’s a line from “Jean Genie” – but it also references something in the show, which is what I was getting at.

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