Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Return & Endings (Spoiler Alert)

As often happens after taking a short blogbreak I find it quite difficult to say anything on my return, so while technically I was back on Monday I haven't actually thought of anything until now.

Last night saw the last episode of Life on Mars, with the final action being the little test-card girl (*John Major voice mode* Test Card F, 1967 I think) turning off the picture. This seems to me less of an indication of Tyler's death than a post-postmodern two fingers to the postmodern project that some have seen going through the series. In truth, the series has taken the drama seriously and has presented 1973 as being inhabited largely by the same flawed humans as 2007, with the consequence that although Sam maintained his desire for policing to be professionally PC it was precisely during such a meeting that he realised he was either dying/still in the coma/whatever - the point was "not alive". The knowing irony that the series appeared to start with had been displaced, the slightly hysterical but very common assertion in the media that we are brilliant and those who came before us rubbish, challenged if not defeated. If the 1970s were brown and cream, 2007 was slightly blue, humourless and self-consciously intense. After all, 1973 did have some value, not solely as irony. The little girl _could_ then be seen as turning off the fourth wall and blanking her access to an image as well as ours: ie - as a plea for a return to drama that does not pretend that drama never knew it was drama until around 1997. Chaucer of course appears in his own narrative as a narrator-pilgrim-tale teller-subject of the host's derison.

Perhaps this is a slightly overoptimistic view of the end of the series given that the sequel, Ashes To Ashes, featuring Gene Hunt in 1981 is apparently to feature a time travelling single mother DCI. I'm not saying that the series _hasn't_ affirmed our general brilliance, just that its conclusions have been, perhaps, surprising in view of our general cultural myopia.


Crushed by Ingsoc said...

Chaucer, in fact appears in the tales as a joke against himself.
The host cuts him off halfway through Sir Thopas telling him his rhymes are not worth wind.

james higham said...

Now I wonder what that was about. Mars Hill also wrote of Mars. Is ... er ... Mars coming close to us?

Delicolor said...

I enjoyed it but felt that there were some rather dodgy plot contrivances.

It was a good job that he ended up in a coma after jumping off the roof and didn't just break his spine or top himself...

I interpreted his semi-suicide after some 2007 policy/case conference as a rebellion against political correctness as well as a desire to get back and slip his WPC friend a
portion. That is just me though- Wifey goes to real meetings like that and takes them seriously.

The Tin Drummer said...

CBI: In fact the host says "Namoore of this, for Goddes sake! Thy drasty rhyming is nat woorth a toord" or something very similar.

James: Iconic BBC series, Life on Mars, which has just ended its 2 series run, about a cop from 2006 who falls, via a coma or something, into 1973. Well worth getting on DVD

Delicolor: I didn't think it was just so he could slip Annie a length!! Though I guess that's a fair enough reading. I actually think that it's a double ending thing - he's _still_ in the coma and never woke up. He doesn't feel anything when he cuts himself because he realises he's still under. Jumping off the roof is just a way of precipitating the fantasy to return by destroying the second layer of coma-vision-reality. or something.

Gracchi said...

Nice post- I didn't see the series but spend a lot of time thinking about how condescending we are about the past so its nice to see someone refute that.