Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ashes to Ashes By: Lezah Williamson

For all those fans of 'Life on Mars'

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Ashes to Ashes is the next series following the enormously popular Life on Mars.

Ashes to Ashes is a time travel/police procedural show that takes place 8 years after Life on Mars. In case you aren't familiar with Life on Mars, here is a short recap: Detective Sam Tyler finds himself in a coma, but when he wakes up, he is no longer in the 21st Century, he has somehow woken up in 1973. As a modern-day by-the-book cop, he is very much at odds with the mysogynistic, slap-dash attitude of his '70s era boss and colleagues. But he tries hard to work within the system, as he feels that the key to returning to the present is somehow associated with solving the crimes he is presented with in the past.

In Ashes to Ashes, DI Alex Drake (played by Keeley Hawes), a police psychologist who has been studying the notes of DI Sam Tyler following his suicide (once he had returned to the future - you absolutely HAVE to see the final episode of this show, as it is the best hour of TV that I have ever seen!) is shot. When she wakes up, she has time travelled back to 1981. Unlike Tyler, who was alternately mystified, confused and frustrated by his predicament, Drake uses the information she has learned from Tyler's notes to help understand her situation. She comes to the conclusion that she is either one second away from life, or one second away from death.

Drake, similar to Tyler, uses the technology of the day to make contact with the future. As well, both are pursued by surreal elements in their new lives; in the case of Drake, it is a Pierrot clown (similar to the one in the David Bowie Ashes to Ashes video).

Like Life on Mars, the title of Ashes to Ashes is based on a David Bowie song. And, like 'Life on Mars', the soundtrack of the show is stellar: just in the first two episodes, featured tracks have been from artists like David Bowie, The Clash, The Stranglers, Duran Duran, Ultravox, OMD, and Roxy Music.

Reappearing from the first series are Tyler's colleagues DCI Gene Hunt (played by Philip Glenister), Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster), and Ray Carling (Dean Andrews). The Gene Hunt character, I might add, once again steals the show.

'Ashes to Ashes' first aired on BBC1 on February 8, 2008; so far, two episodes have been shown. The first episode had an audience of 7 million, just under 30% of all TV viewers for that day and time period. To date, it in not available for North American audiences.

Philip Glenister has gone on record to say that 'Ashes to Ashes' will run for two seasons, as did 'Life on Mars'.

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