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|Index||35 reviews in total|
The tone is a little more ironic and colourful than Life on Mars, which
might upset a few of the predecessor's fans. But those few will always
be upset, and this show is incredibly worth it.
Alex, because she knows that she's most likely in a coma (having had Sam's tapes) is herself taking the whole scenario a little less seriously - and so should we. This show is brilliant in the way that it has fun with itself. In the first episode, there is one shot of Ray, Gene and Chris on a speedboat to the sound of No More Heroes, by the Stranglers. Ray has a close up where he is sort of half smiling, and the whole thing is so unapologetically 80's, with the right sense of self awareness. The opening credits, too, let you know that you should be having fun with this show.
As long as you're not looking for the same tone and style as Life on Mars (remember, this is a show about being in an 80s cop show, not a show about being in a 70's cop show), this is a brilliant show.
I was a bit of a newcomer to Life On Mars. I only joined in with the
Life on Mars fad halfway through and by the time i finished catching up
the spin-off series appeared. But lets face it, it was to be expected.
Ashes To Ashes picks up where Life On Mars left off but this time Sam Tyler is replaced with Alex Drake (Played by the stunning Keeley Hawes) who finds herself shot in the head and in 1981.
Que drumroll for the ALMIGHTY! DCI Gene Hunt. It's the only reason i kept tuning in for the first couple of episodes because of Phillip Glenisters awesome character and his trademark wit.
The show is great but it took me about 3 episodes in to get really into it while some people were hooked on the first episode i lingered in limbo. But have patience with it.
The fact that John Simms male character from Life on Mars has been replaced by an incredibly good looking female brings up plenty of new fresh ideas and story lines. This added a breath of fresh air because it mainly brought up new problems for Gene Hunt being a Mans Man.
The writing and character development was well executed and Gene Hunts comic wit was perfectly written. And Ashes to Ashes knew were to draw the line between comedy and drama. It kept it funny but also very serious.
all round this series is great and i look forward to the next series......even if i have to wait to next year for it.
People will always compare a sequel to its predecessor, sometimes rightly so, but this time they would be wrong. Life on Mars was new and unique. The story of policeman trapped in his own imagination that kept you guessing until the end as to whether this world was real or not. This is a similar idea with a twist. At the start Drake comes across as arrogant and very self assured of her policing and psychological skills but as the series progresses you can see the cracks appearing. Ashes to Ashes isn't so much a sequel as more a clever rewrite. I recommend people ignore the hype and hysteria of the media and judge for yourself.
"Ashes to Ashes" is great entertainment. A lighter, more colourful
series than its predecessor, "Ashes" captures perfectly the essence of
the early '80s.
The first episode begins on a sombre note but it's only a matter of time 'til the fun kicks in. Philip Glenister's Gene Hunt makes a very welcome return, this time with a bright red Audi Quattro. Car fans will be in seventh heaven watching this series! Keeley Hawes (known to many as the voice of Lara Croft) is perfect in the role of DI Alex Drake. Aware of Sam Tyler's experiences, Drake is a more knowing character and the script is lighter and full of more comic potential. Despite this, it still retains the power to hit hard messages home and there's gritty realism in some scenes.
9 out of 10. This is what you pay the licence fee for.
I find it amazing how Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah have managed to
pull off this series. After so much scrutiny from the public before
it's release, it was sure to have cringworthy moments and scenes that
cloned Life on Mars. But instead they adapt characteristics and
settings to that of the early 80's (which after all is why we watch the
show), with great ease and you really do get the idea that time has
carried on in the years between the two series, rather than it just
being a clone of the previous.
The main differences are of course in the settings, the town and decade, but also in the character progression of Gene, Ray and Chris and the introduction of Alex Drake, the tormented but very different and witty, sophisticated main character. Keeley Hawes creates a sarcastic reaction to Alex's new surroundings which is almost a refreshing change from the intense nature of Sam Tyler. Once again, Phillip Glenister begins the series with a bang: "Tonight, my friend, your diary entry will read, 'Took a prozzie hostage and was shot by three armed bast***s." Welcome back everyone.
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!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If I was to give you one piece of advice regarding Ashes to Ashes it
would be this; try to avoid the inevitable and don't compare it too
much to Life on Mars. Easier said than done I know but I guarantee you
the more you view it as a series in it's own right, as opposed to a
third Life on Mars, the more you'll enjoy it. Yes the basic premise is
the same but there are enough differences here to make this a
successful and entertaining show in it's own right.
Ashes to Ashes takes our favorite non-PC DCI and his team-mates from the familiar nostalgia of 70s Manchester and propels him into the 80s in London. His new side-kick is Alex Drake, a modern day Police Physcologist who, as a result of being shot in the head during a hostage situation, finds herself back in 1981, the year in which her parents were killed.
So far so familiar. However what makes this series very different is the way in which Alex, unlike Sam Tyler in LoM, believes she understands whats going on because she has studied Sam's notes. This gives her a certain arrogance and self-assurance that may annoy some but which I found amusing.Keeley Hawses is perfect for the role giving just the right amount confidence with a little vulnerability thrown. Her angst at wanting to return to her daughter is palpable.
The Gene Hunt she meets is different too. As always Philip Glenister is on top form n as the Gene Genie but this time he has new dimensions to him. He's more subdued now and perhaps even a little vulnerable, having been through divorce, the loss of a colleague and transferal to a new city and living in a new era where is methods of policing are fast going out of fashion.But the old Gene is still there too and Phil still gets the pick of the one-liners.
We also get to see a more sensitive side to Gene in his relationship with Alex. The chemistry between the two is perfectly acted and palpable as they grow closer through the series.Phil and Keeley really gel together well and are perfectly matched.
Ray and Chris are as lovable as ever and Montserrat Lomabard, as new team member WPC 'Shaz' Granger is doing a great job and really fits in well with 'our boys'.
The 80s are very well represented between the choice of songs played throughout to the cars, clothes, hairstyles and even the inclusion the Royal Wedding. It'a all very authentic looking and really does take you back in time.
People are bound to complain about missing Sam Tyler/ John Simm and about Gene's new softer side and that Keeley isn't right etc but again, fan of LoM though I am, I suggest you try to view this program without preconceptions, with an open mind and remembering that nowhere did it ever say that this was simply a third Life on Mars. Rathers it's an extension of the series. The same premise but with new twists and turns. Characters have changed, new ones have been added, the era and social realities are different. But it's better for all that and is more interesting to watch than if were merely the same thing over again.
I was a huge fan of Life on Mars so was expecting big things with Ashes to Ashes. However, I couldn't help feeling disappointed. It doesn't feel the same without John Simm. While Keeley Hawes adds a bit of glamour, I find her character slightly irritating. It seems less gritty and more reliant on humour. Philip Glenister is, as always, superb as Gene Hunt and Marshall Lancaster and Dean Andrews are like a modern day Laurel and Hardy and play their parts to perfection. I'm sure this series will be a huge hit and as I've only watched one episode, maybe I am expecting too much too soon. I hope I grow to love Ashes to Ashes as much as I loved Life on Mars. (I still miss John Simm though!)
So i wonder that if as a girl I was predisposed to like Ashes to Ashes more than Life on Mars. I will grant that the original, is just that, the original, and so in a way it's the better. More original, more groundbreaking. But personally I love Ashes to Ashes more. Keeley Hawes took an episode or two to really gel with what was going on, but I think it really works now, and I feel for the character. She's trying to get back to her little girl, you know she can't just stay in the past... and to also try and save her parents. It's interesting, I want to know what's going to happen. And then there's Philip Glenister, who is always a good actor, but whose role as DCI Gene Hunt is a role he'll FOREVER be known as... and good reason. He's a man's man, funny, gritty, and in this series, occasionally vulnerable. Some don't like the way he is in this show, but I think it works. And the chemistry between Hunt and Drake really works, and it's interesting. I adore them. Finally maybe I like this because I love 80s music, and if you like that, this is a great series for you. It has a great soundtrack. Add that with the awesome quattro Hunt drives, and some fantastic cheesy, over the top moments (the boat showdown in episode 2 anyone?) and it's a show I find absolutely the best pure entertainment I've seen in years. Now all I need is for LoM to get released to DVD over here, and for this sequel to hit our shores so I can then get THAT on DVD and I'll be happy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is certainly an entertaining show, but not up to the standard of
Life on Mars.
The basic template and structure is here, with similar plot devices, etc (the clown instead of the testcard girl, and the vision of a key event from childhood, for example), but what is lacking is an emotional depth to the character of Alex who is almost flippant about her predicament, and the more cohesive links between the "present day" and 1981, such as the links between Alex in 1981 and what Alex in the present is enduring. With LoM we were strongly reminded on a regular basis of the link between Sam's present day physical self and his 1973 self. Apart from the odd vision of her daughter, Alex appears to have almost no connection at all.
Furthermore, the occasional forced dialogue and "speechgiving" we saw in LoM is present in abundance here, along with a severe amount of cheese and an embarrassingly predictable attempt at "sexual tension".
The result is something that, instead of coming across as a kind of sequel, comes across as a poor copy. Disappointed.
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