Thursday, February 22, 2007

Life on Mars is Brilliant British Television

Recently I've been watching a BBC drama that has been exported to Canadian airwaves, and I think it is available on BBC America as well.

Life on Mars is the tale of a modern Manchester detective named Sam Tyler(John Simm) who while chasing a serial killer was struck by a car, putting him in a coma. He awakes in 1973 and find himself a newly-transfer detective at the same precinct. Of course, police work has changed quite a bit in the past 23 years, and there is a definite clash of cultures, as his commanding officer Gene Hunt is the epitome of everything that is frowned upon in modern police work, a man who disregards suspects' rights and the chain of evidence. And because it was the early 1970's, women were just starting to get a chance to enter that profession as well.

But there are indications that the world that Tyler is trying to deal with may not be real... but instead a figment of his imagination that was the result of his present-day coma. Because he doesn't know and consequently, we don't know, if things are real, one would expect that things would become a little fanciful, but the show retains a very serious and grounded approach to the premise and the situations fit the characters.

I love time travel stories, and I like procedural police shows, so the two go together like chocolate and peanut butter. In many ways, it reminds me of the movie Frequency as there are cases which Tyler in 1973 sees that have connections to things he did in the present day. Only time will tell if there really is a connection or if it is all a hallucination.

Given the fact that the show is well-produced and only 8 episodes in its first series, the premise doesn't wear itself thin. The second and final series has started in Britain, and I look forward to seeing it as well, as there is probably going to be a resolution to the big questions surrounding the show.

There is also news that an American version of the show shaping up, and I am eager to see how David E. Kelley alters the show to fit the American sensibility. Hopefully it is more The Office than Men Behaving Badly in translation.


Jim Squires said...

A British friend of mine recommended this show to me and I completely forgot about it until now. Thanks for the reminder! I'm going to go and track down the first episodes right now.

baabaanne said...

This looks interesting. I'm going to track it down also. Thanks!

MC said...

Jim: It was on Showcase but I've recently caught it on BBC Canada as well.

Beth Ann: Yeah, I think it could keep you interested ;)

Karl said...

Ack! That show sounds great. Figures it'd be on BBC. I don't know if it's on BBC America or not.

Diesel said...

Wow, this sounds hella cool. I am going to see if I can find it. Thanks for the recommendation.

MC said...

Karl: You are right at the moment (I got my info from a wikipedia article, but you should keep checking the BBC America page for updates.

Diesel: You may have to wait a bit as I've just informed Karl. Sorry.