Tags: life on mars


TV meme, days 28 and 29

One post for yesterday's and today's related questions.

Day 28 - First t.v. show obsession

My first obsession was with Twin Peaks, I suppose (in 1990), although it was not nearly as bad as last year's obsession with the first series of Being Human and this year's with Life on Mars.

Day 29 - Current t.v. show obsession

Current obsession with a t.v. show: Life on Mars; obsession with a current t.v. show: none.

And now the end is near: last question tomorrow!

jam hot

TV meme, day 21

Day 21 - Favorite ship

Runners up: Mitchell/Annie from Being Human.

Whereas Annie's relationship with George is purely sister/brother, with Mitchell we can sense a mutual attraction. They'd make a good couple. Mitchell's being a vampire can be dangerous to his love interests, but since Annie is a ghost, he doesn't have to worry about accidentally killing her.

They sort of half-kiss in episode 1.04 and it is sweet and cute, and although they are both distracted by others in the second series, the final episode shows that they do have a deep connection. It has been hinted that their relationship may develop into something more in the third series.

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I was quite happy to ship Gene/Alex during Ashes to Ashes, but when I started watching Life on Mars I knew this was the real deal. Sam and Gene belong together.

A lot of credit for that has to go to the actors and the people who cast them. I don't think LoM could have been anywhere near as good without John Simm and/or Philip Glenister. Apart from being great actors, they also have fantastic chemistry together. Their body types complement each other and perfectly match their characters' personalities. I read somewhere that Gene is like a bulldog and Sam like a terrier, which is so apt (and something the US remake got spectacularly wrong).

The Sam/Gene dynamic is definitely the most important aspect of LoM. Even the creators have said that the real love story is between them. Although they often fight they develop a mutual respect and friendship, and they need each other to become better people. Gene, who may seem like a big bully but is protective of his team in general and of Sam in particular, shows remarkable patience whenever Sam has one of his crazy spells. Sam/Gene = my OTP forever.

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o rly?

TV meme, day 14

Day 14 - Favorite male character

Oh god, where do I begin? The fun thing about this meme is that it makes me think of series that have all but disappeared in the mists of time.

Tom Conti's character in The Glittering Prizes (WHY has this only been released as a region 1 DVD??), Derek Jacobi as Claudius, Sir Humphrey in Yes, (Prime) Minister, Special Agent Cooper in Twin Peaks, Benton Fraser (and Dieffenbaker) in Due South, Michael in Arrested Development, Blackadder from series 2 onward (and let's not forget Percy and Baldrick), David Tennant as Casanova, Gene Hunt in LoM/A2A... no doubt I have overlooked many more.

Bill Nighy is a scene-stealer in most everything he's in, a.o. as Cameron in State of Play. Then there were a few minor characters in Being Human that didn't get nearly enough screen time for my liking: Gilbert the emo '80s ghost who spoke in Smiths songtitles; Mark the sarky hospital chaplain; and the very suave vampire (and Kate Bush fan) Ivan. Which reminds me BTW that Herrick is my favourite baddie.

Sam Tyler is my favouritest character though. Somewhere during the first series I fell in love. I don't know exactly when it happened (that's the problem with watching a whole series in one day, it all becomes a bit blurry); at the very latest it was episode 1x06, but I think it was probably much earlier than that.


TV meme, day 12

Day 12 - An episode you’ve watched more than 5 times

More than five times, hmm, that is quite a lot. I have watched the whole first series of Life on Mars 6 times. The second series only 5 times, so that doesn't count.

You'd think older series would have the advantage, but the only episodes I'm fairly sure can qualify are "Beer" (Blackadder II) and "Goodbyeee" (Blackadder Goes Forth).


TV meme, day 10

Day 10 - A show you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

This is becoming repetitive, but: The Singing Detective and Life on Mars.

The Singing Detective was broadcast in the Netherlands by the VPRO. In a preview they showed part of the "Dry Bones" scene (see yesterday's post), I think it was the girls in the chorus line. I immediately dismissed it as "sexist" and refused to watch it.

My mum did watch it and said it was great and I really ought to see it, but I did not want to step in later. Fortunately the VPRO had received so many requests for a repeat that soon after the series ended they aired it again. This time I did watch it and the same scene that had got my hackles up when shown out of context now blew me away with its brilliance.

Something similar happened with Life on Mars. I had missed the first episode, but I decided to try the second episode anyway, even though I thought the premise sounded pretty ridiculous.

While the chase down the canal was amusing, I was appalled by the police brutality during the interrogation, and later on, when the superior officer practically pressed his subordinate's nose into a pool of blood on the street, I decided I'd had enough. Too much testosterone for my liking, the TV equivalent of lad lit.

If it hadn't been for the third series of Ashes to Ashes, I would probably never have given Life on Mars a second chance.

My initial refusal to watch these series due to sexism/testosterone overload is not the only thing they have in common, BTW. Both protagonists are lying in hospital and "escape" to a previous era, where the music of the period plays an important part. Both have daddy issues and work through childhood trauma. Both are detectives and fight crime. And both series are brilliant, of course.


TV meme, day 9

Day 09 - Best scene ever

Until recently I considered this the best scene ever:

It is from the first episode of The Singing Detective (1986). The writer Philip Marlow suffers from psoriatric arthropathy. He is lying in a hospital bed and the pain and fever give him hallucinations.

This clip is quite long, over 9 minutes, but I prefer it to the ones that just give the song, because some context is needed and it perfectly shows the condescending attitude of the medical staff.

I remember that the first time I watched it, my jaw just dropped and I declared it the greatest thing I'd ever seen on television.

Lately though it has been replaced in my affections by a scene from the first episode of Life on Mars:

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o rly?

TV meme, day 8

Day 08 - A show everyone should watch

Once I tried to convince someone she should really watch Angels in America. "It's almost as good as The Singing Detective", I told her. "Hmm, I didn't like that one either", she replied, and I was utterly shocked that an otherwise reasonable person could not love that series.

Some time ago I lent Due South to my BF and he found it enjoyable enough, although he thought the scenes in which Fraser has conversations with his dead dad ridiculous nonsense.

So I should have known better than to force Life on Mars on him, and indeed, while he likes the regular cop-show bits, he doesn't care for the weird stuff (which is exactly what distinguishes it from your regular cop show and makes it brilliant in my, and no doubt most fans', eyes).

And so, finally, lesson learned: there are no shows that everyone should watch, because no shows can cater to everyone's tastes.

silly gene

TV meme, days 6 and 7

I've decided to do one post for yesterday's and today's questions, because they are connected and I can't say much about either of them without giving away spoilers.

Day 06 - Favorite episode of your favorite t.v show

The first time I watched Life on Mars my favourite was 1.06. That changed upon rewatching, when my favourites became 1.01 and 1.08. 1.01 is a fantastic series opener. A little full perhaps, but absolutely brilliant. 1.08 is a bittersweet (more bitter than sweet) episode in which some of Sam's (and the viewers') questions are answered. A great season finale.

Day 07 - Least favorite episode of your favorite t.v show

I find 1.03 as a whole not very compelling, although it has some great moments. 1.07 is really good, but very grim, with little room for humour. I prefer the somewhat lighter episodes.

In other, related, news, I finally started my Ashes to Ashes marathon yesterday. I was rather shocked to find how much the early episodes simply rehash Life on Mars. Very lazy writing. Also, I had forgotten how annoying Alex is in the first series. No wonder the fans weren't happy with this watered-down spin-off.


TV meme, day 4

Day 04 - Your favorite show ever

Ever since watching it for the first time three months ago, Life on Mars has quickly become my all-time favourite. As there are several more 'favourite show' questions to come in this meme, I'm not going to elaborate now.

Mind you, 'favourite' and 'best' are not the same in my book. I still think The Singing Detective is the better series, but the mad, passionate love I feel for Life on Mars is simply unequalled. If this were the only series I could watch for the rest of my life I don't think I'd mind.