Saturday, February 18, 2006


Thanks to, I've been following what's been going on in a new series over in England called 'Life On Mars'. Since I've depended on that great website so far for me updates on each of its eight episodes, I hope they don't mind that I'm calling upon them for the description of the series:

BBC ONE's new Monday night drama 'Life On Mars' [stars] John Simm as Detective Chief Inspector Sam Tyler of the Manchester Police Force, who finds himself on the trail of an elusive serial killer when his policewoman girlfriend is kidnapped.

Unfortunately, Sam is hit by a car and wakes up in 1973, and finds himself on a transfer to Manchester as a plain-old Detective Inspector -- clearly a long way from home.

The technology he normally relies on to solve crime won't be invented for another 20 years and the amoral methods of his fellow-officers are suspect, to say the least; sexism, racism and corruption are rife -- and to make matters worse, he starts picking up conversations through the television from the future, as he lies in a deep coma in his 2006 hospital bed.

Or so he thinks.

'Life on Mars' can't quite decide if it's a police drama set in the 1970s, or a sci-fi drama toying with nostalgia -- but this first episode (of eight) was nonetheless enjoyable all the same.

It felt like a cross between 'The Sweeney'-meets-"The Matrix"-meets-"Peggie Sue Got Married"; an odd, but surprisingly entertaining combination that also managed to raise a few laughs from time to time.

There's been talk on the BBC Online site that there is interest by the American networks to pick up the show. I hope that means they'd be broadcasting the original and not just remaking 'Life On Mars' to make it palatable for an American audience.

But in the meantime, I "watch" it from afar via episode recaps.

I also found it discussed over in "Behind The Sofa Again", a blog dedicated to 'Doctor Who'. And here's why:

Annie: No more funny stuff?
Sam Tyler: Funny stuff?
Annie: Y'know the whole time travel, out of body experience thing.
Sam Tyler: Well, I went to see Doctor Who, he err prescribed me some pills...

'Life On Mars' first proper reference to 'Doctor Who' happened this evening in a story surrounding a football match between Manchester United and Manchester City.

In case anyone is wondering, after a quick look around, the match happened on the 21st April 1973 (since there were no other local derby's that year) and it was a 0-0 draw (61,500 gate). Which also means the young Sam Tyler might have gone home that night and enjoyed episode three of "Planet of the Daleks" ...

There might be a way around this Zonk!, but it depends on how Annie reacted to his reply. If Sam's pronunciation of the name was meant to be "Hoo", as in Harry Hoo of 'Get Smart', then she might have just shrugged it off as being the name of a doctor of Chinese descent.

However, I'm fairly certain that we never see this "Doctor Hoo". Considering Sam's "condition" in both 1973 and 2006, it seems such a scene at a doctor's office might be worth notice.

Then again, it would appear pretty obvious that Sam meant it to be a reference to the TV show about the Gallifreyan Time Lord. He knows about 'Doctor Who'.

But if so, shouldn't Annie know about it as well? Maybe she's not one of those anorak-wearing fans, but since the show had been around since 1963, surely she must have at least heard about it. Like the blog entry mentioned, the episode "Planet Of The Daleks" was currently playing on the BBC.

It all depends on how she reacted to Sam's remark, I guess.

Two of the readers at "Behind The Sofa Again" certainly didn't make my life any easier with their comments:

You never know,maybe Tyler will find himself in the 60's or 80's as the end of season cliffhanger!
Or of course he could always wake up in the shower! ;)
Posted by: Colin Mc Donough 7 Feb 2006 14:35:25

Let's just hope it does not end with a{n} autistic child staring at a snowglobe with a police station in it.
Posted by: klaus kinski Jr 8 Feb 2006 07:52:55

Arrrgh! That's all I need!


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