Saturday, April 4, 2009


"There is nothing wrong with your television set."
The Control Voice
'The Outer Limits'

Regarding the finale of the American version of 'Life On Mars': I liked it; I really liked it. (Cue up "Out Here In The Sally Fields")

The producers played fair with the audience - at least since they came back from that obscenely long hiatus imposed by the network suits* - by planting clues through the second half of the season. And even the mystery behind Windy was evident from the series beginning, which - patting myself on the back - I nailed back in November of last year.
The answer was always there right under our noses, before our eyes each week in the title, which they cleverly tied in with the true meaning of the name "Gene Hunt".

In a way, that big reveal at the end reminded me of 'The Prisoner', another show that told its story in 17 episodes (and left a lot of the audience angry at the payoff.) With 'The Prisoner', the big reveal could be found in the opening dialogue heard almost every week:

SIX: Who is Number One?
TWO: You are Number Six.
Now read that again, with an appropriately placed comma......

I have no faith in the general American TV audience; I've stated that here in the past. If they had any real spark of discernment, shows like 'American Idol', 'America's Top Model', 'Project Runway', 'The Biggest Loser', 'The Apprentice' and 'The Bachelor' would not be so popular.

So I know the audience at large would never have accepted the original series ending. The PTC would have been leading the charge of protest, probably in league with the Church.

Working with what they had, and wanting something different from the original to maintain the suspense, the producers took all the basics (They even had a splainin for the 2008 car crash!) and came up with an ending that - to me - felt very American. After all, haven't we always seen ourselves as pioneers? And from the earliest days of Television, haven't we always gotten our sci-fi geek/freak on?

My favorite bit in that finale - mention of President Obama, but we never find out if she's Malia or Sasha.

Taken for all in all, I think the producers were successful in wrapping up the storyline. And how many shows with poor ratings ever get that chance? 'Pushing Daisies' didn't; not 'Eli Stone' or 'Coronet Blue'... certainly not 'Reunion'!

For my quatloos, it was a better ending than 'The Sopranos' - and unlike 'Life On Mars', in my opinion, that show ran way too long.

And how could you beat that final image? It's my computer wallpaper now! (Sorry, Rhiannon.....)

[Thanks to MediumRob for the fantastic frame grabs - and more to come, because I'm not done with this topic, mmmmkay?]

Toby O'B

*Network suits should be nibbled to death by ducks.

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