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.