One of the things that annoys me is when slash is framed within a context of people not understanding what they're seeing. "That isn't homoerotic, it's guy love - a platonic love between guys! Why don't those pesky slashers see that?"
I mean - okay - I make jokes about it all the time. I'm not an idiot. I do not really think Matt and Ash were writing a gay love saga with Life on Mars. It was something different from that. It was Sam-in-Wonderland. In a lot of ways, it was Sam reclaiming his masculinity, his personality. To paraphrase one of my favourite writers, it was about US when we were THEM and how we are NOW. It was getting to use naughty words again, getting to have fast car chases, getting to bring back some of that bombastic, thrilling television that had been replaced by 'serious drama'. Whilst still actually presenting 'serious drama'.
In the show, Sam's love for Gene isn't sexual. It's not. The same probably goes doubly for Gene regarding Sam (is Gene Hunt the most heterosexual character ever written? Possibly.) That doesn't mean it couldn't be.
How is writing slash any different from writing Sam as a serial killer, Sam loving his mobile, Sam really having travelled in time, Sam being completely off his nut, or, in the first series, Sam being madly in love with Annie? It's different interpretations of the same text - that's what art is about.
Is it simplifying human interaction to say that any and all tension between Sam and Gene is directly related to how much they want to stick their cocks into each other? Yes. Does that mean it's invalid as a view? No. Because we get that in fiction all the time. If it's a male and a female and there's tension, it's almost always seen as based in sexuality.
But to do the same with two males? Oooooh, no... you've crossed over the line, there, buddy. How dare you taint those characters with that?
I'm not saying that every slash fic ever written is a work of literature, or that writing slash is always some kind of political/social statement, because, obviously, they're not, it's not. Sometimes, it's just about kinks and kicks. I'm just saying that it's not wrong either. It's not fundamentally against the grain. It's just another way of enjoying the show.
And it was intentional in Life on Mars - as evidenced by Claire and Ash making not very oblique joking statements. If even the creators are mentioning it, chances are it's there. No, that is not a tin hat you can see peeking out from beneath the table.
You do realise that if you had told me three years ago I would one day be making posts in defence of slash as a literary movement, I would have stared at you blankly and said, "but why?"