Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Life On Mars

If any of you like cop shows, there is a good one that ABC has just signed a deal for that originated a couple years ago on the BBC. If the American version is half as good as the BBC1 show was, I highly recommend you try it out. I know that I will be adding it to the queue on my DVR! Life On Mars was a cop show with a major difference.

In a nutshell, the original BBC Series was set in Manchester. DCI (Deputy Chief Inspector) Sam Tyler is a cop. The year is 2006. He is investigating a serial killer that has been menacing Manchester for years. When his girlfriend (also a police officer) goes off on a hot tip and disappears, he goes out to look for her. Within the first twenty minutes of the first show, they throw a lot of basics of 21st Century Police Procedure at you.

By what would be the first commercial break, Sam gets a disturbing phone call about Maya. He pulls off to the side of the road to make a couple other phone calls and is hit by a passing car. The world goes black. When he wakes up, he is in Manchester but the motorway he had been on the side of is no longer there. His spiffy sports car has become a muscle car, and there is a billboard behind him advertising the gleaming new motorway that is about to be built in this area. It is 1973. The rest of the show contrasts what the seventies were like against the present day knowledge that Sam holds in his head.

As the promos ask: Is he crazy? Is he lying in a coma somewhere and delusional? Is it really 1973 and he has imagined everything he knows about the present day? Or has he actually traveled back through time? Everyone in the seventies recognises him as DI (Deputy Inspector) Sam Tyler, a recent transfer from another precinct.

The original series, I am informed, was supposed to be a single-series show (what we would call a mini-series over here) but the show proved so popular, they re-edited the last episode so as to leave unresolved questions and scheduled a second series year.

One benefit about the series being set in the US this time is I may not need to watch it with subtitles. A friend of mine in the UK (a cop who was absolutely crazy about the show) let me borrow the show on DVD and I had to watch it with subtitles. Ironically, the only character whose dialogue I could make-out unaided was the Jamaican publican at the pub that the police spent way too much time in. (By present day standards.) Funny word about that character. He usually spoke in very heavy rasta-speak... but occasionally he would laps into the same British variant accent that all the other characters were using. My dyslexia misread the caption that accompanied the text. It read [Speaking in Mancunian accent] but I read it as "Manchurian" I asked Kevin why they thought that Chinese people sounded anything like that!

I hope the show is as good as the original... I am looking forward to it!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you have something you're looking forward to!

Don Bergquist - May 14, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

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