Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What's Next? A Show Called 'Life In Uranus?'

Tonight marks the return of Life on Mars on BBC America. No, it's not science fiction, at least not in the traditional sense. In fact, it has NOTHING to do with our planetary neighbor.

Life on Mars is the story of Manchester police officer Sam Tyler. After being hit by a car in the present day, Sam wakes up in 1973. He eventually makes his way back to his squad room, where of course he doesn't know anyone. However, the people there were expecting a new transfer, so they accept him.

At the end of season one it still wasn't clear what was going on. Every now and then there are clues that the present day Sam is comatose and the 1973 thing is all taking place in his imagination. But most of the time, he's going about his business and slowly beginning to accept that 1973 is his new reality.

What makes the show work are the contrasts between 1973 and the present day. For example, Sam will be working on a case and he'll suggest taking DNA samples from a suspect. Of course, everyone else will look at him like he's out of his freakin' mind. On the other hand, his fellow 1973 officers don't think twice about beating the crap of a bad guy while Sam is absolutely horrified at such behavior. But beyond the differences in policing techniques, there are a lot of pop culture contrasts as well.

Then there's the female cop, Annie, who is not accustomed to the way Sam treats her: He actually respects her opinions! Such a thing was unheard of 34 years ago. There have also been hints that Sam may be falling for her, which could, of course, get complicated if it turns out he really is in a coma.

Only a total of 16 episodes were made, and supposedly all our questions will be answered when all is said and done. The show has already wrapped up its run in England, so no spoilers from overseas readers, please. That means you, Gordon.

Oh, and the significance of the title Life on Mars? That's the David Bowie song that was playing on Sam's iPod when he got hit by the car.

Word is that an Americanized version of the series is in the works. Rest assured we'll fuck it up.

0 thoughtful ramblings: