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Life On Mars

We finished watching the British Life On Mars over the holiday weekend, and while I over all loved the show I found the ending to be singularly unsatisfying.  I know most people who had watched the British version first hated the American version.

I didn’t watch the American show, but I knew about the controversy over the ending, and from reading a friend’s blog post I had a good idea about the American conclusion.  Since I didn’t watch the American version I can’t state it was better than the British show, but I have to say I didn’t like the ending of the original because I thought it violated the character I had come to love and cheer for.

THERE ARE GOING TO BE SPOILERS NOW!!!!!!!

So if you don’t want to know how the British show ended STOP READING.

 

 

Okay.  In the final episode we learn that yes, Sam does have a brain tumor, and the surgeon relieves the pressure on his brain, and he comes out of his coma, and wakes up back in the world of 2006.  Now for two seasons Sam had been denying he was actually back in 1973.  He did his job because he was a good cop, and he and Gene Hunt became an effective if fractious team, but Sam was determined and desperate to _get home_.  When he hears the voices from what turns out to be the medical staff he begs them “not to give up on him.”  “Not to disconnect the life support,” etc.

So, now he’s back home, and he sees his mother, and he returns to the job, and the whole world seems grey and bleak and not as vibrant as the fantasy world of 1973, and he doesn’t have a girl friend any more in 2006, and he fell for this girl in 1973.

_Except_ he’s awake now, and he knows that Annie is a phantom created by a brain firing random signals.  And Gene Hunt didn’t exist.  So what does he do?  Does he find a new girl friend?  Bring that passion that was so evident in ’73 to new cases?  No, he jumps off a roof.

And then he’s miraculously back in 1973 with Gene and Annie and the gang, and they’re racing off to solve a case.  One problem — HE JUMPED OFF A ROOF SO HE’S DEAD.

I try to suspend disbelief when I go to a movie or watch TV.  I’m not looking for rigorous logic in my entertainment, but I just couldn’t swallow this one.  They gave me a rational, real world explanation for everything that happened to Sam, and they used real world, modern medicine to cure him, and then they want me to believe that because Sam wished real hard when he _jumped off a roof_ he would get to go to this alternate world that never existed.

That was problem number one for me.  The other was that this didn’t jive with the character they’d presented and to whom I’d committed over two seasons.  Sam Tyler was not a quitter or a man who would commit suicide.  He was passionate about justice, about protecting his city and her people.  I loved Sam.  I didn’t like the guy who jumped off a roof.

So over all I found the end of this show to be a fail.  Loved most of the episodes, thought Philip Glenister was amazing as was John Simm, liked the supporting cast.  Thought the writing was excellent, but they trashed my hero at the end, and that left me dissatisfied.

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