Saturday, 16 February 2008

But the Film is a Saddening Bore/’Cause I Wrote it Ten Times Before

I really don't know what to think about Ashes To Ashes. Not least this is because I managed to miss the second episode. I'm sure my opinion is slightly coloured by the fact that Life On Mars is one of my all-time favourite songs and I never really rated Ashes To Ashes anything like as much.

The first thing that struck me about the opening episode was the singing. I still don't understand why the gunman was singing "I'm happy, hope you're happy" before she was shot, except that that's the message the action man is supposed to give. One can only assume that she has a tumor as well and she was out of it long before she woke up in 1981. That, or the gunman had watched Life On Mars and wanted to fuck with her head.

I was also slightly annoyed by the ending. Okay, you've set up the series. But after all the "how do you know my parents" routine, it's now impossible for that plotline to be resolved until the series ends, presumably either a month and a half or a year from now.

But all of the above notwithstanding, there is one thing about the show I absolutely loved:

Look, all right. Just relax. OK, 'Chris'? I know how this goes. Hunt's the bullish one, Ray's the misogynistic one, and you're the nervous one, blah blah blah. I don't care. I am going to stop Arthur Layton because that could be the mental trigger to get me out of here. OK?

It's just so pleasingly self-aware. Like in Voyager, when Tom Paris points out that every time they find what appears to be a way back to Earth, something goes unexpectedly wrong. Or in Trumpton when Captain Flack gets all excited when he thinks there's finally a real fire. The characters in TV shows should notice when similar things keep happening. Otherwise it just starts to look ridiculous.

The test of this show, I think, will be in how well it keeps Drake interested without getting her thinking that her 1981 world is real. If she thinks it's real, it'll just be Life On Mars again. If she doesn't care what happens to the imaginary people in her head then the whole show will descend into farce.

Actually, that would be much better. I hope she masters the art of lucid dreaming and learns to create any object she likes. It'd be like a gritty version of Penny Crayon, except with marginally more sensible clothes.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Having seen series one through to its conclusion, I have to say that the whole "how do you know about my parents" stroke "I'm happy, hope you're happy too" thing was explained rather neatly, although I'm left unable to shake the chilly logic that tells me that sure, that's one explanation, but there's sod-all reason to think it's the right one.

It shall be interesting to see how series two goes, without the Prices and presumably with the Big Waking Up Or Dying Finale Bit.