I am currently re-watching Life on Mars, one of my favourite sci-fi crime dramas of all time, and I felt like writing a little something about it, in case some of you have never heard of it before.
It was the title that initially lured me in (said the sick Bowie lover) but soon after the first couple of scenes (I'm quick like that), I realized that this series had actually something to say. Well-written and produced, with an amazing cast and an incredible soundtrack, it got me hooked since episode 1.
Mars originally aired on BBC (there have been several remakes since then but the UK version is the best by far), and it tells the story of Sam Tyler, a policeman who gets hit by a car in 2006 and wakes up in 1973.
During the course of the series, it remains unclear whether Sam has died, gone mad or into a coma, or has actually travelled back in time (as the protagonist states himself at the beginning of each episode). A series of surreal events and strange clues lead Sam out of one labyrinth only to get him trapped into another.
"Whatever's happened, it's like I've landed on a different planet. Maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get home" – sorry to disappoint you Sam, but I find it highly unlikely (spoilers).
Life on Mars only run for two seasons (16 episodes in total) but I can’t really complain because after Mars concluded (with one of my favourite series finales ever – although I would have preferred the last scene to be the one on the roof), Ashes to Ashes followed.
A sequel to Mars, Ashes was the story of a cop who gets shot and awakes in a different time. Only this time the cop is a girl (Alex Drake) and the year is 1981 (yay!).
Ashes to Ashes was not as sharp nor complex as Life on Mars, but a really good show nonetheless, with Philip Glenister on top of things and a myriad of songs that went straight to my playlist. Make sure to watch Mars, first though. The stories are linked.
The Gene Genie will haunt me forever. So will Steve Strange performing ‘Fade to Gray’ at the Blitz. If only I could travel back in time to see that (and other things as well but since I am talking Ashes…).
And, to be fair: