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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

January 10, 2006

Life On Mars

I'm not cock-a-hoop about it, but Life On Mars was quite promising, I thought. First episodes are tricky, and this one laboured the point a bit, but I'll watch it again.

John Simm seems a bit baby-faced, and the broad comedy of being "stuck in the 70s" grated, but there are some real hooks here, most notably in the differences in investigative procedures, the swings and roundabouts of rules and regulations. Limited in some ways, the Sweeney-style copper has freedom in others, and the juggling act for Sam Tyler is to know when he can bring something new to the 70s table.

Quantum Leap springs to mind, in that Tyler seems to be looking for a reason he is there, the thing he has to do in order to get back to his life. But where QL was a package tour through Sam Beckett's era, Life on Mars looks set to stick with the one era.

They sure had plenty of crappy old 70s cars (Cortina GLX, oooh), and they clearly had fun with the decor and the clothes. The richest vein, of course, is the social commentary, and it is amazing how much rampant sexism, as in the scene where Tyler asks WPC Cartright to assist, can make you squirm. I'd query the complete lack of forensic knowledge, though, because surely Sherlock Holmes was wont to find the odd bit of telling lint?

('Course, what I'm really wondering is whether Tyler will put a hundred quid on Red Rum or something.)


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