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January 10, 2006

Life on Mars, first thoughts

I watched the first episode of Life On Mars last night. I liked it. Not Science Fiction though. It started of as a normal cop drama then the main character gets hit by a car and goesinto a coma. Then he wakes in 1973 as a cop, cue lots of dry laughs about how 1973 cops were very different from today. What kept the episode above a mundane cop show however was the main characters constant questioning of whether what he was seeing was real. He heard voices from outside, the TV talked to him. He thinks he is in a coma. And then at the end of the show he denies it and accepts the 70's reality.

Interesting. Not sure how they will extend the idea to a series without it becoming repetitive but I'm going to watch next week.


i missed it! dammit! any1 know where i can see it? repeats? recordings? contact me by email: badobsession81 at hotmail dot com

Haven't heard of the BBC repeating it anywhere yet. Oh for the BBC Media Player hey?!

Just watched Life on Mars. With a few little criticisms, generally excellently well observed. This is not written or directed by a hack. Especially liked the sequence just after he was transported back in time; standing dazed in the rubble, framed by the rotting hulk of a factory, as the camera panned around him with the same tune echoing over both times, very well done and evocative. The characters were well observed and the changes in social mores interesting. He does slightly overstate the seventies aspect, times haven't changed that much, or have they?

In many ways it shows that not only is the past a different country, but the recent past is the fading echos of a world we know and knew, the familiar and unfamiliar juxtaposed, both seen through the shimmering lense of time's drifting frets. As one thinks one recognises a familiar way of speech, a snatched fragrance or familiar fashion, the mist is swept away and we see the recent past for the empty shore of memory it is.

It's plot and premise was complex enough to make a one off two hour drama. Given the rich vein to be mined, it's somehow just right that the seventies are observed from the new century, the difference is just long enough.

A couple of years ago I was labouring in the yard of a building merchants, I was about 40, with a young guy, about 18. He asked me, "what was it like growing up in the seventies then".

I said, "much the same as growing up any other time, except you had to dress like a prat."

The wheel is just.


Yeah I thought the execution was very stylish. As expected from "the makers of Spooks and Hustle" (not sure which of the crew is exactly the same).

All in all I was pleasantly surprised.

I like Life on Mars, but only because it is inspired by my own graphic novel as published on the Channel 4 website in 2000 and a script I sent the BBC in 2001. I have written letters of complaint. My story was called Spencer Haze about a detective going from 1973 to teh present day and which uses the devices of TV's talking to the lead character, cars morphing and a female character helping him cope with his new surroundings.

James, is that true? =:O
Do you have a link to the graphic novel?