Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Life on Mars (series 2)

One of my favourite current TV shows is back, complete with bronze Ford Cortina, sideburns and sheepskin coats. I couldn't even resist the chance to see a episode 2 on BBC4 straight after the first one.

If you haven't caught up yet, DCI Sam Tyler has found himself back in the world of 1973, following a road accident during a police pursuit. He even has a job as a policeman, and people seem to know who he is. Last series it seemed pretty clear that his 'retro' life was somehow being played out in his mind, whilst he recovered from a coma. Occasional blips of sound from a hospital ward and visions during shows on his old TV seemed to be glimpses of the present.

It just got spookier in series 2. In the first series, the phone would ring and Sam heard a voice from 2006/7; now he can have a conversation with it, and even call it up himself. The last two episodes also raised another weird possibility. Sam's actions in his 1973 world seem to have a real effect on life in today's world. So which era is real, or are they both?

At first sight, some of the characters seem almost cartoonish '70s people, with all the sexist (and in episode 2, racist) banter. But as things go on, they become more real, and the interaction of Sam with that world is intriguing. In the first series I was also aware of how limited some of the camera shots were, to avoid the need for a very expensive CGI Manchester. But as it goes on, the claustrophobic feel of that world seems very appropriate for what is going on.

I just want to know how it ends, but not before enjoying 6 more episodes.

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