Resurrecting Ashes From The 80s

Ashes To Ashes

TV wise I was (unusually for me) an avid watcher of Life On Mars but Brit TV knows not to milk a good idea for too long and so we reached a debatable conclusion after only 2 series even if primary actor John Simm thought the writers should have been braver and ended the final episode several minutes before they actually did (which would have been a much darker ending-NB: spoiler links).

As it was the writers couldn’t resist a happier ending and the option to carry some of the characters on. And so this coming Thursday will see the Life on Mars offshoot Ashes to Ashes attempt to carry on the formula whilst removing the whole coma/time travel mystery (the new visitor from the ‘future’ will not only know all the theories, she’ll already be familiar with the main characters also) and moves the ‘nostalgia’ period setting from 1973 to 1981 and from Manchester to London.

This will be a slightly different viewing experience for me as I was obviously that much older in 1981 than 1973 so the series will be trying to recreate a period that I experienced in a slightly more grown up state than 1973 though a lot of artistic license was used in the previous series and little reference was made to the main events of the day as really the series was just a creative pastiche and played on metaphors for concepts of reality,moving on, consciousness and dealing with death and self invented afterlife scenarios.

I hear that the whole early 80’s new romantics fashion will be recreated along with a depiction of the Blitz club. Obviously the series title is yet another Bowie reference and it looks like the pierrot clown of the original Ashes to Ashes video may be the equivalent of the test card girl in the original Life on Mars and a its recurring appearance may provide some of the darker elements in this series.

I wait to see if this is a series too far and if the Gene Hunt one-liners can remain funny.

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4 thoughts on “Resurrecting Ashes From The 80s

  1. I too was a big fan of Life on Mars. I watch very little TV but I found that to be great comfort viewing. I just adored Gene Hunt. The ending was very disappointing and all the coma stuff got rather wearing but I always looked forward to my hour of immersing myself in 1973 – not how it really was I know, but how it was nice to think it might have been. And the music was great.

    I doubt that Ashes to Ashes will be quite such a warm zone to visit. Like you say, the 80s are a bit closer and the music is less appealing and whilst I always had a nice fond image in the back of my mind of myself in 1973, the image I have of myself in 1981 is not quite so appealing! But I will be watching.
    ———–
    Stuff(Em) Replied: Like me you probably have a different personal relationship with the 80s (I was a complete fish out of water throughout) than with the 70s. 1981 is only only 8 years on from 1973 but still over a quarter of a century ago. I liked the darker elements in LOM which probably fitted in with the grimmer landscape of the early 70s. I worry that this time around it’ll just be a pastiche of an 80s cop show as it’d be hard to inject some of the sci-fi time travel element that was so intriguing in the original series (well series 1 anyway).

  2. My own verdict after last night’s initial episode was not good for me. It is the pastiche that I’d feared and the constant build up to the appearance of Gene Hunt with slow zooms and expectant music got very close to farce. The overuse of 80’s music (even including material that was actually late 70’s) made me wonder why they just didn’t repeat the Rock n Roll years instead.

  3. haha I knew you wouldn’t like it! It didn’t get off to a good start for me – first track played was Vienna!

    But I enjoyed it even though I had not expected to (maybe because I hadn’t expected to?). Partly because I am rather partial to Keeley Hawes but also I had this sort of weird feeling of seeing all these friendly faces from Life on Mars in a time zone I felt vaguely familiar with (and yes, it was a bit of a pastiche – I do agree) – it was like they were people I actually remembered.

    Actually it was probably just the red shoes that did it – I had completely forgotten that i had a thing for red shoes back then. It was something probably better forgotten maybe!!?

    The music was over-used I agree and the Pierrot was extremely naff I thought!

    But Gene Hunt rocks!

  4. Lol-I was thinking “that’s a good start(not) for RB with Vienna played so early on”. It’ll be OK but maybe with no real dark side. I abandoned Dr Who a couple of series back (when Tennant went all shouty-squeeky) and then came back for the last series. Maybe different Ashes episodes will have different writers (which often makes a difference).I’ll have to take it for what it is now rather than what it was but the 80s music was very overdone (LOM only played one or two 70s tracks per episode and then mostly over the credits).I’ll give it time but so far Ms Hawes character annoys me slightly and the pierrot is nowhere near as creepy as the test card girl in LOM. Should have just had Steve Strange popping up with a pair of scissors (now that WOULD be frightening).
    I hope Dean Andrews got extra money for sporting that perm. Maybe they should have just called this series The Gene Genie after all.

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