Thursday, August 24, 2006


In 'Life On Mars', Manchester police detective Sam Tyler was struck by a car, only to wake up more than thirty years earlier in 1973. But whether he's actually back there or trapped in a coma in the present day is up in the air. (At least it is for us watching the butchered versions on BCC-America. The British audience already saw these eight episodes earlier this year.)

Every so often Sam can hear the voices of those who may be gathered around his hospital bed. This usually happens late at night via the TV as images from old TV shows suddenly speak to him personally. (One time it was some kind of horsey puppet who broke free of his character to speak to Sam in the voice of his mother.)

This gimmick is at its creepiest when the mundane image of a BBC test card comes to life and talks to Sam. I'm not sure why the image was of a small blonde girl in a red dress clutching a toy clown, but it had been in use since the late 1940s and must be a classic icon from Britain's TV heritage. Using in this fashion is like something out of Stephen King; taking something that might have been considered comforting and twist it to become disturbing instead.

And there's nothing more disturbing than little blonde girls and toy clowns.......

If you want to see what the original looks like, before it comes to life in Sam Tyler's flat, click here.


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