March 6, 2009

EXCEPT THAT THE POINT OF LIFE ON MARS...:

Life on Mars' rises from the 'Ashes' (Maureen Ryan, 3/05/09, Chicago Tribune)

Ashes to Ashes” (Saturday, BBC America; one and a half stars) is the sequel to the original British “Mars,” and if ever there were a show I was predisposed to like, it was this one. [...]

[I]t’s almost immediately apparent that making “Ashes” was a bad idea. The new show merely copies the frequently predictable format of “Mars,” in which a headstrong cop from the past solves crimes with help from a partner with newfangled ideas. Though many small things are executed well, some big parts of this show just don’t work, at least in the first couple of episodes.

Chief among the problems is police profiler Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes), who finds herself transported from post-millennial London to 1981. The twist is that Drake knew Tyler, and her training in psychology has led her to believe that his jaunt to the past was a mental projection.

So Drake, who finds herself working alongside Hunt and his sidekicks, Ray Carling (Dean Andrews) and Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster), keeps loudly announcing to everyone that they are figments of her imagination and that she is in charge of this mental projection, thank you very much.

That may be the case, but it’s no good having a lead character whom you just want, in almost every scene, to shut up already.


...is that Sam ought to just shut up. Gene Hunt even has a line in the first episode of Ashes to Ashes that nails the fact it's all about him. The series asks the viewer whether we really prefer the modern world of Sam Tyler's and Alex Drake's and political correctness and, as Ms Ryan points out, the answer is, "NO!"

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Posted by Orrin Judd at March 6, 2009 12:34 PM
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