Tuesday, February 13, 2007
I dream of The Sweeney
RETRO! Life On Mars, BBC1, 9.00pm
Oh, Sam Tyler. Sam, Sam, Sam Tyler. DCI Sam 'Rose' Tyler. You're in a bit of a hole, aren't you? You see, Sam got hit by a car, which was bad enough, and when he woke up he'd been demoted to DI, which added insult to injury, and he was also in 1973, which was pretty much the tin of beans that split the fucking Sainsbury’s carrier bag. Still, he’s got his health, although not so much his physical health (1973 seems to involve far more friendly workplace punch-ups than 2006), or his mental health (he keeps hearing ventilators and heart monitors and the BBC Test Card Girl talking to him in riddles from his television in the middle of the night). Well, he’s still got a job. And lots of brown clothes. Oh, Sam!
When we left Sam a year (thirty-four years) ago, he'd just stumbled across the long-absent Dad Tyler. However, after trying to persuade him to stay with his family to secure a happy future/present for grown-up Sam, it emerged that his father was actually two of the most notorious gangsters in Manchester, at which point it suddenly became clear that his absence was probably for the best. But that leaves Sam with a bit of a conundrum: if reconciling his family won't propel him back into the future, what will?
Oh, Sam! It’s not that simple, is it? Because Sam doesn’t know whether he really is in 1973, or if it’s all a coma dream, or if he's even there for a reason. And to make matters even more difficult, his boss in 1973 is DCI Gene Hunt, reversenaissance (hmmm) man and the antithesis of Sam’s responsible, meticulous approach to policing. On the plus side, DCI Gene Hunt is pretty much the most amazing character in the history of television, so there’s clearly something to be said for not being a soft little ponce. Sorry, Sam.
So now we’re all set for the second series of Life On Mars, and as we’re guaranteed a resolution to the mystery this time it should be EVEN BETTER. Those of
us you who enjoy that sort of thing can play the usual ‘spot the bit of Manchester’ game that’s seen us you through so many Northern-set dramas (most Red Productions, for a start), with bonus points for accidental glimpses of satellite dishes, burglar alarms and non-historically-accurate TV aerials. Or you can just concentrate on the programme and watch Sam do his best to police a world where scientific calculators cost $365 (thanks, Official BBC Life On Mars website!), while trying to guess how the Ford Cortina it’s going to end. Oh, Sam!