I have to say one thing I do love, love, love about Ashes to Ashes is that it's showing me oh so many tv shows from my childhood. Like Take Hart/Hartbeat. Or Rainbow. Sooty and Sweep. Grange Hill. I was born in '83, and these are all part of what make me who I am. I watched them and loved them and they informed how I see the world. It's that aspect of Life on Mars that I enjoyed but could never truly appreciate; references that send you fondly back.
Like, there was a shop in Marlborough Street in the small Yorkshire town I lived in that sold little white packets of sweets for 30p. It was wicked. You'd get fizzy coke bottles and fake teeth, some dolly mix, and other sweets, and you never knew exactly what you'd get. I remember aspects of my childhood I had forgotten such as one of my favourite things to do as a kid was to put monster munch rings on my fingers and then nibble them off. And that I lived for flumps. And that my brother Jez had an ace way of conning me out of my skittles, by pretending to be a public telephone. He was ten years my senior, so when I think back on it now it was actually kind of cruel. But evil genius all the same.
It brings back memories of how I (in the early 90s now), used to go cycling to a nearby park with a friend, and that one day I learnt a new word. Fanny! Or that we had different bells for different forms in the school to have lunch and whilst we were waiting a friend and I used to play a game called Mandy and Jim (I was Jim) which was basically us playing house together. Or that I was a member of the Brownies for about six weeks, but never went back because I got bullied by the older girls.
So, I have to love Ashes to Ashes for that. For opening up the floodgates of experiences long edged out of my mind.
Episode 2.03 of Ashes to Ashes was really good. Really! I feel like they're suddenly doing everything I ever wanted from the show. Alex is kind of wonderful (and believe me, I never thought I would say that. Ever.) Gene is just the other edge of dark and dangerous, but still Gene. Chris is absolutely gorgeous, as is Shaz. Ray showed his more tender side this time around, for the win. And it seems like they know what they're doing over the series --- we have threads running through each episode, binding them together into a cohesive whole.
The writing is at least nine times better than last series. And then, so is the direction. And I don't know why I sound so surprised, but I am.