29 May 2008 | jhsteel
A worth successor to Life on Mars
I agree with those who say that Ashes to Ashes (or A2A as we fans call it) is different from Life on Mars (LOM), but that has several explanations. Firstly, it is set in the 1980s, and it is written in the spirit of 1980s cop shows, with fashion, glamorous shots and set pieces, etc. Secondly, the central hero is female and her perspective on life is different from Sam Tyler's. She also knows more, having read Sam's notes about his time in Gene Hunt's world in 1973.
However, it still has the unexpectedness and the central mystery of its predecessor, so that we are always wanting to know why Alex is stuck in 1981 and how and if she will get back to 2008. And of course, it has the fabulous Gene Hunt who comes into his own in this series. He is still moody and magnificent, and Philip Glenister has created a character with such charisma that I can't stop watching him. All the continuing characters are wonderful, and so are the new ones; Shaz and Viv in particular. Sam Tyler in LOM was intense, driven and edgy, and the darkness and gritty nature of 1970s style cop shows was well represented in LOM. This is equally great, but it's a different animal. I love both shows and I am really looking forward to the next series of A2A. The things that were revealed about Alex's past create new mysteries that need to be solved, so I am hoping that we will find out more. The most original aspect of both LOM and A2A is the central premise that someone can visit another time frame, whether real or imagined, and experience life there, while their body in "real life" is in a coma or near to death. It's a fascinating idea that has a lot of scope, and since it is a fantasy, anything can happen. The identity of Gene Hunt is open to debate - who is he really? I hope that we find out a lot more about this compelling character in the future. British TV at its best. Oh, and I also love 1980s music - really!