Tv, detective, crime, time travel, john simm, murder, mental illness, Life on Mars, suicide awareness

A look back at Life On Mars Season One

My name is Sam Tyler. I had an accident and I woke up in 1973. Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time? Whatever's happened, it's like I've landed on a different planet. Now, maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get home.

2006 gave us the very first season of a strange little bird. That would spawn a second season and a follow-up show of three seasons called Ashes to Ashes.

DCI Sam Tyler is on the hunt for a serial killer. Which they can't catch. They find who they think it is, a man who has detailed accounts of what was done to the missing women. Until they discover that he was in a mental compound that night. So couldn't possibly have committed the murder. When Sam's girlfriend is taken by the killer, it is a race against time to save her. A race, he loses. Stood by the side of his car, upset. He is run over, as Life on Mars plays on a cd player. When he wakes, Life on Mars is playing on an Eight Track. And he is trapped in 1973.

Thinking he is mad, he ends up stumbling his way to the police station. Finding that everything has changed. He is no longer DCI, well he never had been in this time. He was just a transfer from Hyde to help out DCI Gene Hunt. An overweight, alcoholic, rough justice police officer. Who is happy to take back handers, beat up suspects, and stitch them up to get his form of justice. WPC Annie Cartright checks him over and sees nothing wrong.

Sam gets drawn into a murder investigation identical to the one he was studying at home. Discovering they were just ONE house away from the true killer. He hopes that by solving the murder, he can save his love in the future. Although he still isn't convinced that any of this is real, constantly flipping into scenes of hearing things that make him think he is in a coma. Desperate to go home, while everyone around him just thinks he is cuckoo.

After a suicide attempt that Annie pulled his back from. Her hands are rough, she fell against the fire bucket. Sand got on her skin. He feels it, wonders why he would put in so much detail. She convinces him that he wouldn't and Sam comes down from the ledge. Trying his best to fit in. In a time where forensics results take weeks, prints can't be taken off skin, they do not keep a crime scene intact. There is no two-way glass, they interview people in the cafe. If they want an answer, they beat it out a witness.

As Sam continues with various cases, he starts to change. To discover that this might not be his way, but it is a way. One that perhaps, according to Gene anyway, he actually enjoys. By the end of the series, Sam has revisited many parts of his past that he barely remembered. Making sense of things from his childhood that he had never understood. Yet, he still can not find a way to go home.

This is where we get a little fan verse crazy. Sam's name was changed to Tyler when they decided the current name wasn't strong enough. One of the crew's daughters was asked and she said Tyler because she loved the charactor Rose Tyler. Interesting, as John Simm went on to play the best regeneration of The Master on Doctor Who.

If you want a quick fix answer to the reasons behind this series. Don't watch it. It will take all five seasons of both shows before you finally get the full and proper answer to the wheres and whys behind this. You will have plenty of ideas running through, but not all of them will be what you think they are and I am not gonna spoiler five years of tv programming to tell you the answer here.

This is a stunning show, complex, twisted, thought provoking, well acted. With strong, well thought out storylines. Although if you have seen the Quantum Leap final ever episode, that may give you a small grasp of the back storyline. As Nelson in the police, bar reminds me strongly of the bartender in that episode.

It portrays the difference between modern and older policing styles. Which, in some places, you can actually see isn't completely for the better in all ways. You have the love story starting to grow between Sam and Annie. The friendship starting to form a band of bantering from Gene and Sam. As Sam goes from hated by the whole team to a respected part of it. Only eight episodes this season, but well worth looking into. The box sets can be found in places like CEX for only a few pounds. So keep an eye out for this interesting series.

8.5/10 Stars

Sarah

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