Life on Mars – season 1 dir. by , ,

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Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI’m not really sure why I started watching this show. The trailers made it look very poor. Some crap cop police show, only with time travel thrown in. I was half thinking it’d be The Bill meets Time Cop. Yet for some reason I tuned in. Probably because there was nothing else on on a Monday night.

And I am so glad I did. This has to be my favourite British show, in a long time, maybe ever. Though Cracker was fantastic in its day.

The basic plot, Sam Tyler is out hunting down a murderer who just happens to have kidnapped his girlfriend in 2006, when he is knocked down and wakes up in 1973. He has a flat, 70’s clothes, a 70’s car, he even has a job. His 1973 persona has recently been transfered into DCI Gene Hunt’s division. This is a little bit of a demotion for Sam, but he believes that none of this is real so he is more bemused and bewildered than anything.

Every episode, of which there are only eight, Sam and Gene do their thing around 1970’s Manchester. Gene, being a 1970’s copper isn’t exactly the most honest bloke about. And he certainly isn’t politically correct. A fact that means he gets some fantastic lines, lines that make you really wonder how did they get away with saying that on the BBC at 9 o’clock.

What makes this show worth watching is the characters. Simm does a great job with Sam Tyler. He doesn’t know what is going on. If this whole situation is real. All he wants is to wake up, back home in 2006. Most of the others think he is more than a little funny, what with his following procedures that they’ve never heard of and his attitude towards the women officers.

But, in my opinion, it is Philip Glenister who steals the show. He is utterly believable as the bastard cop who runs his city the only way he knows how. He may be dirty and corrupt, but he is still a good copper, and that is all that matters to him. It helps that he gets all the best lines (collection at the end of this post).

There was an outstanding scene in episode five, when the murder of a Manchester United fan seems to point to an upswing in football hooliganism, and Sam knowing what is to come has a fantastic speech about how minor disturbances may be “part of the fun” to the lads, but that escalation is just around the corner.

Hugely enjoyable, with a great soundtrack and some wonderful cliched car chases this is a series well worth watching. I know I’ll be tuning in for the second series, and buying the dvd.

IMDb | BBC page | TV Squad – spoilers

Collection of Gene Hunt Quotes below the cut:

  • [to a group of armed men in a deserted cotton mill at night] Drop your weapons! You are surrounded by armed bastards!
  • [to some children playing on the street] Anything happens to this motor, I’ll come round to yer houses and stamp on all yer toys got it? …Good kids.
  • We’re here to talk about ‘ow yer brother copped it
  • Gene: ‘I’m not a Catholic meself, Warren, but isn’t there something about ‘Thou shalt not suck off rent-boys’?
    Warren: ‘HOW DARE YOU COME IN HERE!’
    Gene (Indicating rent-boy): ‘You could have said that to him!’
  • [Sam asks what year it is. Gene slams him against some filing cabinets] It’s 1973, almost dinnertime. I’m having ‘oops!
  • Is there anything more revolting than a dishonest ‘ippy?
  • Sam: I think i’ve got something
    Gene: Number for the special clinic’s on the wall
  • There will never be a woman Prime Minister so long as I have a hole in my arse
  • Sam: I’m the negotiator.
    Gene: I’ll make you a hat!
  • [Gene spikes some fella’s pint] Sam: I’m not sure that’s ethical.
    Gene: It’s not, it’s vodka.
  • Sam: If it was to do with football he’d have serious injuries!
    Gene: He’s dead. That’s quite serious.
  • Bloody hell I’ve seen road accidents look more cheerful than you.
  • [after driving his car in hot persuit across a football pitch] Oi Ref Are you blind? Next time move or I’ll run you over!

If you can remember any more let me know in the comments section and I’ll add them in.

Post Author: Fence