March 22nd, 2009

Loz Target

We're living in the seventies...

Whenever I read other people's articles on Life on Mars, it always strikes me that other people watched a different show from me. The media especially always seem to concentrate on one thing; that Sam went back in time so that he could be in a pastiche of The Sweeney meets Starsky and Hutch.

But the thing is --- that wasn't the entire show. They could have done that. Life on Mars could have simply been a boy's own adventure, with car chases! and explosions! and wide collars! cuban heels! sexy girls and inappropriate remarks!

But... whilst it had all of these things, whilst there were moments of 'haha, the seventies', the actual show was so much more in depth than that. Life on Mars was as much about modern-day Britain as it was about the seventies, and it brought up a multitude of questions, but it rarely answered them. Is the red tape better? Was the hands-on approach more effective? How can you hope to win the war when the battles never end?

The show was about the struggles of trying to make a difference in the world, about finding yourself alone in a sea of complexity, realising that everything you thought you knew was wrong --- and this is from both of the two leads; not just Sam, but Gene as well. It's about parallels and connection, and suddenly understanding that not everything is black and white, cut and dried, easy to break up into little compartmentalised boxes. It's about emotion and instinct being dulled by regulation, and whether this is a good or a bad thing.

Gene isn't only as the media want to advertise him being. Yeah, he has the one liners. Yeah, he's a very naughty boy. He shows the most real insight of any character on the show --- and yet that always seems to be ignored.

It's like a lot people saw and loved a very facile version of the same thing as me. That either they're not interested in the other layers to Life on Mars, or they just didn't notice them. And to be honest that depresses me, because something that was very clever in many ways is loved, but not for what it really was. And maybe I should just be glad they loved the show, but I think they missed the point.