Home Forums Ganymede & Titan Forum Ashes to Ashes Series 3

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  • #6203
    Rad
    Participant

    Everyone still watching?

    The series I think has been pretty good so far but for me it’s been a mix of very interesting timey-wimey hallucination stuff and dull cases. I’ve no idea how they’re going to conclude the show and I don’t understand how the different people’s visions inside a coma can somehow join together but I’m still intrigued enough to keep watching.

    #109348
    Kris Carter
    Participant

    Watching it, loving it. Wakey wakey Drakey…

    #109349
    ChrisM
    Participant

    I thought Alex returned to quickly to the 80s in episode 1. I knew it would happen quite quickly- the right thing to do- but not that quickly, i.e one slap from the guv and she’s back five-ten minutes in.

    I’m enjoying it though. Probably my favourite series on the telly at the moment, although granted it’s early yet. Some interesting mind twisting stuff last week with Shaz and the background music there…

    #109350
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    I’m watching it, but it very rarely grabs my undivided attention. The cases are not a patch on the ones in LoM, so only the sheer weirdness and mentions of Sam Tyler are pulling me in. Surely Simm has got to pop up in the next few weeks?

    I’d agree that the resolution to the Series 2 cliffhanger was resolved far too quickly. It was a great way to end Series 2, but it was pretty obvious that they couldn’t do much from there…so it was a bit cheap. I assume they wrote out Molly because the actress was either unavailable or too old. No loss because she was annoying.

    Now if they could only kill off Shaz, I’d have no problems with the cast. That said, that bit in the bar with her, LoM playing and Nelson (?) laughing, was truly weird. Madder than anything in Lost.

    I truly hope they wrap this all up in satisfying way. Ashes to Ashes will always be under LoM’s shadow, but if they can deliver on the promises, it will live long in the memory.

    #109352
    SkyAndSun
    Participant

    It’s good but still not as good as LOM, IMO. For a start, Gene Hunt, while fun, seems tame compared to his LOM incarnation. He ‘insults’ people but is no longer offensive – there hasn’t been anything like ‘moving slower than a spastic in a magnet factory’ in A2A. Usually his one-liners these days are more like inventive insults – I can’t imagine A2A Gene Hunt saying ‘get off me, you fairy’. And we all know that behind his rough exterior beats a strong, good heart; in LOM, while definitely a hero, his rough exterior was a lot rougher. Similarly, Chris and Ray are shallower than their LOM counterparts; the stupid yet good one, the inoffensively offensive one. Would A2A go with a storyline where Ray killed a suspect by forcing him to OD on cocaine? I don’t think so – the closest we get is his botching a sting operation because he’s not that bright.

    Secondly, yeah, the cases aren’t that interesting, but that’s forgivable.

    I’m also not convinced it’s that well written. There seems to be a predictable formula – each season, drop in a mysterious nasty person. Have every third sentence hint at hidden depth. Any radio has to give Alex a message. LOM was better than this; or at least, it was fresher then.

    Having said all that, it’s still very watchable, but often it’s the Sam Tyler link that keeps me watching, and Gene Hunt, who isn’t as good as he was.

    #109353
    Nick R
    Participant

    As well as the weird shot of Shaz with the background turning black, I was also intrigued by the final moments of the episode – another shot of the disfigured police officer, followed by a quick flash of a weather vane that looked a bit like either a hunchback or a man carrying a heavy pack.

    #109354
    Carlito
    Participant

    I have a sinking, though not totally convincing, feeling the whole premise of the show is going to be revealed in the end as some kind of artificial computer reality… not because that’s how the US show ended, but because of the hints in that direction during the first episode, and also because it would kind of make sense.

    To be fair, for a non-Who prime time BBC One show that would be quite the ballsy ending, but as a Red Dwarf fan, its far too familiar for my liking. Not fair to judge one on the other at all, I know.

    Of course, it could all be the first of many red herrings to get people speculating about the forthcoming conclusion.

    Pure speculation, but something makes me think that the half-faced young copper we keep seeing is actually going to turn out to be the youthful Gene Hunt. Hmmm.

    #109365
    ChrisM
    Participant

    Similarly, Chris and Ray are shallower than their LOM counterparts; the stupid yet good one, the inoffensively offensive one.

    Really? I thought Chris (that’s the skinny younger guy right? I’m frightful with names, even if he does share one with me) actually expanded a bit as a character in Ashes to Ashes. He’s a bit more sure of himself, less dopey… yet he had his dark moment last series too. Yet it wasn’t unbelievable.

    Unless you’re talking about just this series, but then we’re only a couple of episodes in.

    I agree concerning Gene, now you mention it, although I think in the earlier series he was more offensive. I don’t have much of a problem with it though, it makes sense that he’d change over time. As long as he doesn’t change too much of course!

    Overall I’d say I prefer Life On Mars too, although that’s much to do with the earlier setting and the fact it, well, came first, but this is good.

    #109366
    si
    Participant

    Last Friday’s episode was brilliant, the best episode of A2A I’ve seen in my opinion, if anyone cares.

    #109369
    Carlito
    Participant

    Life On Mars was, as Teatime says, fresher but also quite simply more fun. I guess the 70s were just more gritty and fun than this glossy crappy sterile 80s setting we get for A2A.

    Watching Life on Mars made me wish I could go back and live in the 70s. Watching Ashes to Ashes makes me grateful I was too young to remember the 80s.

    #109375
    performingmonkey
    Participant

    > Last Friday’s episode was brilliant, the best episode of A2A I’ve seen in my opinion, if anyone cares.

    I think this and the Chris corruption one last year have definitely been the best 2 episodes (so far…). The ‘Uptown Girl’ opening was a bit like A2A’s equivalent to Tongue Tied! And somehow it worked, even with Glenister looking like an absolute knob in that getup!

    Hunt is a better character now than he was IMO. Too many blatantly ‘offensive’ one-liners just make him seem too cartoony, and this is meant to be 10 years after LoM after all, people change. I can’t wait to find out the truth of his involvement in Sam’s death (if he really is dead in this universe, whatever the universe is, if it even is a universe…..)

    #109385
    Muzzy
    Participant

    My dad has this theory they’re all on a spaceship in some kind of stasis/suspended animation and the spaceship is heading for a new life on Mars after the destruction of the Earth. Would explain the stars in the last episode at least.

    #109387
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Has your Dad been watching the US version of Life on Mars?

    #109388
    Muzzy
    Participant

    I think he saw the first episode and hated it. Im guessing that’s what happened in the US version then? Can’t see them going in the same direction in that case.

    #109389
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >I’m guessing that’s what happened in the US version then?

    Indeed it did. It was bloody awful.

    From Wikipedia:

    “At the end of the series, in what appears to be a deus ex machina, it is revealed that Tyler’s 2008 and 1973 realities were both fictitious, created by the onboard computer of a spacecraft that is carrying Tyler, Hunt, Norris, Carling, and Skelton on the first ever manned mission to the planet Mars, in 2035. The crew he worked with in 1973 were just virtual reality versions of his fellow spaceship crewmembers. His room number, “2B”, is his sleeping unit; his old precinct, “Hyde”, and his new precinct, the “125”, are based on the name of the spacecraft – “Hyde 125”; his neighbor, Windy, is the name of the computer A.I.; Frank Morgan, an FBI agent in the series, is the Mission Control flight director. To sustain the crew, their minds were routinely kept active while asleep using virtual reality “neural stimulation” programs of their own choosing, but Sam’s choice of a scenario where he was a police officer circa 2008 was abruptly changed to a 1973 setting by a meteor-storm induced glitch in the computer. This conclusion is markedly different from the conclusion of the original UK series, but is still left ambiguous as the first step on Mars depicts Gene Hunt’s signature shoe stepping into the sand.

    In a twist, Gene Hunt in 1973 turns out to be Astronaut ‘Major Tom’ Tyler – Sam’s father”

    #109390
    Andrew
    Participant

    Worth mentioning the most irksome part: they’re headed to Mars on a ‘gene hunt’.

    #109391
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    to find “Life On Mars”. Do you see?

    #109392
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    > Do you see?

    I’m afraid I don’t.

    #109393
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >Worth mentioning the most irksome part: they’re headed to Mars on a ‘gene hunt’.

    God, I forgot that! You can just imagine the writer rubbing his hands together when he thought of that and congratulating himself. If only someone had been stood by him to smack him round the head.

    #109394
    ChrisM
    Participant

    >I’m afraid I don’t.

    Gene. Genes. Life. I don’t mind the odd silly pun but… dear me.

    #109439
    si
    Participant

    The thought occurred to me the other night that perhaps Gene Hunt is the only ‘real’ character across the whole of LOM/A2A, and both series have been in *his* head, as he sits, an embittered old man, who’s now been pensioned out of the police force, trying to exaggerate past glories.

    #109544
    Plastic Percy
    Participant

    Further to that Si, he’s sat behind the wheel of his car remembering the past. Just after crashing into Sam Tyler in 2006.

    #109546
    Carlito
    Participant

    I always thought that would have been a good ending to Life on Mars – that Gene would be revealed as the elderly driver that mowed down Sam.

    #109558
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    I was pretty much thinking the same thing just the other day. Perhaps someone could cut some footage together of Sam getting hit with Gene flying down the road in his Audi.

    #109590
    Squeaky Gibson
    Participant

    Would be nice if the Mk 3 Cortina could return for the final show. as nice as the Audi is, I miss the Ford. would be neat if Sam was the driver!

    I’m really enjoying this final series, I’m loving the way it is starting to link back more to Life on Mars. it will be sad once it’s gone though :(

    #109595
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    This is, what, series three?

    #109609
    ChrisM
    Participant

    Yes.

    #109640
    Carlito
    Participant

    This is by far the best series of Ashes to Ashes yet. I was thoroughly underwhelmed by series 1, less so by series 2, but this is nearly up there with Life on Mars.

    And it’s all down to the mystifying series arc rather than the crime-of-the-week stories. They’ve really cranked things up a gear. The whole series has been positively pregnant with little hidden clues, red herrings, knowing nods… the whole premise of “Life On Mars bleeding through into Ashes to Ashes” is great… and if there’s no Sam Tyler appearance in the finale I will be most surprised.

    I’m still convinced the ghost copper is Gene Hunt. But I’m no longer fearing the US ending (they even mocked me with it, during the ‘seeing stars’ sequence on last weeks episode “RAY: It’s like we’re astronauts!”) but the show creator said this was just to wind people up.

    Just what did Gene say to Bevan at the end of last weeks episode?? What is with the stars?? Why does Alex seem to have completely forgotten about her daughter and getting home?? What is with the half-faced copper?? What happened with Gene and Sam?? Does Ray and Shaz (who both had ‘Life On Mars Moments’ earlier in the series) singing Danny Boy have any significance?? Especially as they have both been seeing stars since having their LOM moment… was the LOM moment maybe the moment they died?? Are they all in comas in that case?? why hasn’t Chris had one yet?? Who is Keats?? What is the significance of the two sets of numbers that keep coming up?

    Arrrgh it’s awesome.

    #109641
    Muzzy
    Participant

    > Does Ray and Shaz (who both had ‘Life On Mars Moments’ earlier in the series) singing Danny Boy have any significance??

    I did think them singing the line “and I am dead, as dead I well may be” might be quite telling.

    #109646
    Kris Carter
    Participant

    I know, I love it, this series is kicking my arse on a weekly basis!

    #109661
    Nick R
    Participant

    > and if there’s no Sam Tyler appearance in the finale I will be most surprised.

    That’s a given. The real question is whether David Bowie’ll appear. :)

    #109662
    ChrisM
    Participant

    >Why does Alex seem to have completely forgotten about her daughter and getting home??

    I don’t think she has forgotten Molly, I just think she’s so immersed in this world now. I think she still thinks about her, even misses her, they’re just not making as big a deal of it on-screen so to speak, particularly as it’s very much the other folks’ stories too.

    Even if Alex has forgotten Molly, that world hasn’t. Did you see the graffiti on the wall a couple of episodes back? Under the bridge with the junkie? Things are still bleeding through…

    #109663
    Carlito
    Participant

    I think the graffitti and stuff is there to try and remind her. She’s even been vague when discussing her feeling of needing to get back to something. There have been no messages from the ‘real’ world, no messages down telephones or through the radio etc. No real mention of her 2008 life, bar the very opening moments of episode 1. It’s almost as if the writers have deliberately taken this approach. Almost unnoticable unless you think about it… is Alex now completely immersed in the ‘Geneiverse’? Does she even really remember her 2008 life anymore?

    #109672
    Plastic Percy
    Participant

    >Just what did Gene say to Bevan at the end of last weeks episode??

    Gene explained to Alex that he told Bevan the horrifying truth – that Manchester City were going to kick Manchester United’s arse.

    #109673
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    Yes, he was lying, it’s a technique he’s picked up.

    #109676
    Carlito
    Participant

    Phew…that was… awesome

    #109677
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    Yes, I was quite pleased with that post.

    #109679
    Carlito
    Participant

    Last night’s episode was almost as good as Ian Symes’ post.

    #109697
    Muzzy
    Participant

    It was very good. What the fuck is Keats?! Whatever he did to Viv, it certainly looked like Viv was trying to fight it rather than it being a case of Keats putting him out of his pain and helping him. There’s no way that guy was Sam though. And they just can’t make the big reveal be that Gene has been the bad guy all along. It’d destroy both shows. Really, desperately want John Simm to turn up now.

    #109709
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    I can’t remember if anyone posted this at the time we were talking about, but this is the ending for Life on Mars US:

    This is the first time I’ve seen it and now I’m convinced this is how I want Ashes to Ashes to finish, just so I can see the Internet explode.

    #109719
    Kris Carter
    Participant

    Two eps to go…. gah, this series is frying my mind and yet I don’t want it to end!

    #109720
    Carlito
    Participant

    I’m kinda ready for it end, mainly due to the two weak series that preceeded this one. If only it had been this good all along…

    Extremely psyched about the two-part finale. Best thing on television this year!

    #109721
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    apart fropm doctor who, which ois alwaus the besy thiong on tv this year OR ANY YEAR good night.

    #109722
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    Are you pissed?

    #109723
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    I was then and am still little bit now.

    #109724
    Carlito
    Participant

    I have to disagree re: Doctor Who. I’ve become a big fan of the show the last few months and, when on form, is top-notch (I’ve been steadily working my way through the back catalogue of post-2005 Who).

    But this year’s series of Doctor Who hasn’t been better than this year’s Ashes to Ashes in my mind (as of yet). I find my attention wandering watching the new series of Who, it’s not all that captivating at all. Matt Smith is very good… Karen Gillan is okay but only has that one bug-eyed sulky little girl expression… but the only episode I’ve REALLY liked was the Weeping Angels two-parter. (It’s only my opinion….)

    Whereas every episode of Ashes S3 has been excellent.

    #109725
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    Fun Fact: “It’s only my opinion” is not a Get Out Of Jail Free card for being Wrong.

    #109726
    Carlito
    Participant

    erm…

    #109727
    Carlito
    Participant

    Another awesome episode… only one to go. And was that really Sam Tyler in the preview for next week, or just one big mean tease?

    #109728
    Muzzy
    Participant

    The silhouette was clearly meant to be Sam I but whether John Simm is actually gonna turn up I’m not sure now. I think if he was going to it would have been a cliffhanger in this episode. Wanted the knock on the door that interrupted Alex and Gene to be him! Here’s a screengrab of that bit in the preview – http://www.flickr.com/photos/36392412@N08/4607573640/

    Really good episode again though I am dubious about how they’re gonna manage to wrap everything up in one more hour.

    #109731
    Carlito
    Participant

    It doesn’t really look like John Simm in that screengrab (somebody on Gallifrey Base has brightened it up and it looks even less like him) but if Simm filmed a secret appearance I would have thought it may be one day of filming, therefore they may well use a double for extracurricular stuff like the shadw knocking on the window… I am torn on the chances of a Sam Tyler appearance. On the one hand, this is the finale to Ashes to Ashes not Life on Mars, and it has been The Alex Show for the last three years, so it is understandable if Sam doesn’t show up and would ordinarily be an irrational expectation that will only lead to lots of disappointment.

    But conversely there has been SO much mention of Tyler this series, he has been such an integral part of the story arc, that for him not to show up now would be a massive anticlimax in many ways. Would the writers really choose to focus so much on the Sam Tyler mystery if they knew John Simm was not going to show up at all?

    #109732
    Carlito
    Participant

    It doesn’t really look like John Simm in that screengrab (somebody on Gallifrey Base has brightened it up and it looks even less like him) but if Simm filmed a secret appearance I would have thought it may be one day of filming, therefore they may well use a double for extracurricular stuff like the shadw knocking on the window… I am torn on the chances of a Sam Tyler appearance. On the one hand, this is the finale to Ashes to Ashes not Life on Mars, and it has been The Alex Show for the last three years, so it is understandable if Sam doesn’t show up and would ordinarily be an irrational expectation that will only lead to lots of disappointment.

    But conversely there has been SO much mention of Tyler this series, he has been such an integral part of the story arc, that for him not to show up now would be a massive anticlimax in many ways. Would the writers really choose to focus so much on the Sam Tyler mystery if they knew John Simm was not going to show up at all?

    #109733
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >I am torn on the chances of a Sam Tyler appearance. On the one hand, this is the finale to Ashes to Ashes not Life on Mars, and it has been The Alex Show for the last three years, so it is understandable if Sam doesn’t show up and would ordinarily be an irrational expectation that will only lead to lots of disappointment.

    Quite. The Sam Tyler thing has been the hook for this series and, to be honest, it’s the only reason I’m giving it far more attention than I would. I was quite interested in the Viv stuff last week, but the “police story” failed to drag me in this week.

    I agree that it would be a little cheap to conclude Ashes to Ashes with Sam as the big reveal, BUT they’ve got to deliver on their promise. His name is all over this series, so to not give us Simm would be pretty lousy. So, um, what you said.

    That bit with the Shaz, Chris, Ray and the stars looked awful.

    >Wanted the knock on the door that interrupted Alex and Gene to be him!

    Ditto. Such a disappointment!

    >Fun Fact: “It’s only my opinion” is not a Get Out Of Jail Free card for being Wrong.

    Well, that’s only your opinion…

    #109734
    Rosti
    Participant

    I’m really hoping that last week’s “Sam Tyler” was meant as an exposition device to allow people who only watched A2A (or worse, only the current series) to understand what the flip will be going on in the finale.

    A man can dream.

    #109796
    Carlito
    Participant

    We’re getting down to the nitty gritty…. one hour to go! Salivating here.

    #109797
    Nick R
    Participant
    #109798
    Kris Carter
    Participant

    That was stunning – totally satisfied!

    #109799
    Kris Carter
    Participant

    That was stunning – totally satisfied! Wonderful ending!

    #109800
    Jo
    Participant

    Loved it :o)

    #109801
    Rosti
    Participant

    Crikey-o-blimey! That was all kinds of wonderful. I suspect I won’t be the only one going back through the whole 5 series of Hunt, though.

    #109804
    redhead85
    Participant

    Epic win!!! ^__^

    #109806
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    OK, haven’t followed Ashes to Ashes nor Life On Mars bar the few episodes I watched at G&T Towers :). However, I have just read the ending, and am curious. Did anyone pick up on any of it during the series’ run?

    #109807
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    OK, I’m a bit pished, but I gave it a watch. Was slightly concerned that I wouldn’t be able to follow it with a few beers inside me, but there wasn’t much ambiguity in this so I think I got it all.

    To be honest, it felt like fan fiction to me. Much as I like Daniel Mays, the character of Jim Keats didn’t feel right. Where was this character in 2 series of LOM/A2A? To suddenly be proclaimed as the grand villain just didn’t feel right. The creators talked about this being the big finale that would tie LOM and A2A together. No thanks. I’ll leave LOM exactly where it is, with its truly terrific final episode. This can’t compare.

    And that’s my big problem with this. None of this seemed seeded from Episode 1 of LOM (because it wasn’t of course, they were making it up as they went along) but to categorically say that this ISN’T the past and what they do has no effect on the present, flies in the face of at least 5 stories in the combined-shows pasts. At least the messy ambiguity never did this.

    Gene is the boatman? So, he’s always known that his colleagues are lost in limbo? This is the kind of irritation that I don’t want to have in my head when I rewatch LoM.

    And what did the finale of A2A Series 2 mean? Yes, it indicated that Gene was dragging Alex back to his world…but we found out tonight that Alex died (presumably from that bullet in the very first episode)

    I’m annoyed that there was no Sam Tyler. If you’d have told me eight weeks ago that he wouldn’t pop up, I wouldn’t have minded but they’ve traded on his name relentlessly. It’s like a C-list celebrity insulting an A-list celebrity, just to gain publicity. Nelson being a pretty poor consolation prize to be honest.

    I didn’t hate it. I didn’t even dislike it. I enjoyed it. I liked the *idea* (if not the execution) of the very last scene, but this was not groundbreaking. It was just a bit daft and heavy-handed.

    #109808
    steven87gill
    Participant

    ”OK, I’m a bit pished, but I gave it a watch. Was slightly concerned that I wouldn’t be able to follow it with a few beers inside me, but there wasn’t much ambiguity in this so I think I got it all.

    To be honest, it felt like fan fiction to me. Much as I like Daniel Mays, the character of Jim Keats didn’t feel right. Where was this character in 2 series of LOM/A2A? To suddenly be proclaimed as the grand villain just didn’t feel right. The creators talked about this being the big finale that would tie LOM and A2A together. No thanks. I’ll leave LOM exactly where it is, with its truly terrific final episode. This can’t compare.

    And that’s my big problem with this. None of this seemed seeded from Episode 1 of LOM (because it wasn’t of course, they were making it up as they went along) but to categorically say that this ISN’T the past and what they do has no effect on the present, flies in the face of at least 5 stories in the combined-shows pasts. At least the messy ambiguity never did this.

    Gene is the boatman? So, he’s always known that his colleagues are lost in limbo? This is the kind of irritation that I don’t want to have in my head when I rewatch LoM.

    And what did the finale of A2A Series 2 mean? Yes, it indicated that Gene was dragging Alex back to his world…but we found out tonight that Alex died (presumably from that bullet in the very first episode)

    I’m annoyed that there was no Sam Tyler. If you’d have told me eight weeks ago that he wouldn’t pop up, I wouldn’t have minded but they’ve traded on his name relentlessly. It’s like a C-list celebrity insulting an A-list celebrity, just to gain publicity. Nelson being a pretty poor consolation prize to be honest.

    I didn’t hate it. I didn’t even dislike it. I enjoyed it. I liked the *idea* (if not the execution) of the very last scene, but this was not groundbreaking. It was just a bit daft and heavy-handed.”

    Christ, if you’re this well articulated with beers down you, you must be bloody einstein when you’re sober :)

    But point well made and basically how i felt
    The very end with it literally coming full circle and gene ”living” on was a nice touch though. But all the hell heaven allusions i could’ve done without. So viv spends the rest of enternity in hell then, whilst the rest of the team spend the rest of eternity getting pissed up. Well, that’s nice.

    #109809
    Ridley
    Participant

    Apparently Simm was never asked back.

    I was waiting for him to step out of the pub after Nelson to convince Drake/finish the explanation. Or something. And what’s so important about Nelson in the grand scheme?

    Gene is the boatman? So, he’s always known that his colleagues are lost in limbo? This is the kind of irritation that I don’t want to have in my head when I rewatch LoM.

    It’s only really an ending for A2A series three in my head. Certainly didn’t feel like it’s been intended from the first series of Ashes to Ashes let alone Life on Mars.

    #109810
    Jo
    Participant

    And it will surely be a relief for the pair that the ending that was plotted right at the very beginning of Life on Mars has finally been revealed. “It’s been hard keeping the secret,” Graham admits…

    ORLY?!

    #109811
    Nick R
    Participant

    It was a brilliant conclusion. I’m guessing that in the next few days there’ll be a lot of TV bloggers writing posts comparing how well the two shows Lost and Ashes to Ashes went about concluding their mysteries…

    How great was Keats’ raving as he smashed up the police station, and his cackling as he staggered away from Gene at the end?

    The post-credit clip… I was expecting the test card girl to appear again. But what was actually shown was better!

    I was only half-joking when I wondered whether David Bowie would appear to deliver a Vanilla Sky-style infodump explaining what was going on…

    Regarding the expected appearance from John Simm – I’m aware of Jonathan and Seb’s comments on Twitter about it, and I agree that even though it would have been a cool fan-pleasing moment, it wouldn’t have made sense within the story to have him appear again (he’d already passed on). Matthew Graham has done a post-series Guardian piece (similar to the one he did after LOM), in which he comments on how far they considered having Simm appear.

    One bit of nitpicking – I can’t help but question the way the dates when coppers die (or are near-death) correspond to the dates they arrive in Gene’s reality:

    Shaz: 1995 (judging by Wonderwall) -> 1980ish?
    Sam: 2005 -> 1973
    Alex: 2008 -> 1981

    So Sam died at a later date than Shaz, but appeared in Gene’s reality before her. This could be viewed in one of two ways:

    – It’s consistent because it means Shaz would have gone back to a time in her childhood, like Sam and Alex.
    – It’s inconsistent because it means that Shaz should already have been in Gene’s police station when Sam arrived, and yet she wasn’t.

    But I suppose there is a way for it all to make sense – as Matthew Graham says in that Guardian TV blog post:

    “When we discussed the philosophy behind it we decided that, seeing as how the cosmos was infinite, everybody who dies can afford to go to some kind of purgatory plane that is relevant and significant to them.”

    So in an infinite universe/heaven/hell/purgatory, all times in Gene’s fantasy reality can take place simultaneously. (Woah.) So it doesn’t matter when a copper dies, or how old they are, they can always slot neatly into Gene’s world.

    #109812
    Jo
    Participant

    Shaz is a Londoner though, so she was already there when Gene, Chris and Ray transferred from Manchester.

    #109813
    performingmonkey
    Participant

    > So, he’s always known that his colleagues are lost in limbo?

    Not really. He seemed to have forgotten about his past and his real ‘job’, he was living in his own fantasy, now believing all of it was real. Though some small part of him was obviously blocking out the reality. Seeing his own remains brought it all back home to him.

    It’s a shame there was no Simm cameo but they most likely didn’t want to overshadow the Gene and Alex ending. The only place he could have appeared was right at the end at the pub. He could have stepped out and been the one to open the door and welcome Alex in.

    I’m glad there were no OTT twists or stupidity. Them all being dead didn’t feel like a big shock when all was said and done. Gene was a surprise but not a ridiculous ‘dunh dunh DUNH!’ moment or anything, and Alex not returning to her old life was never going to be the ending either because that would have been too easy.

    #109815
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    [From the interview Ridley linked to]

    >Then we suddenly thought that it would steal all of Keeley’s thunder, it would undermine Ashes as a show and also Sam’s supposed to be dead, so he should be in heaven. It suddenly made him seem like a superhero – he could go from purgatory to heaven and back again. So we decided not to do that.” They didn’t approach Simm, then? “We never asked him.”

    >Regarding the expected appearance from John Simm – I’m aware of Jonathan and Seb’s comments on Twitter about it, and I agree that even though it would have been a cool fan-pleasing moment, it wouldn’t have made sense within the story to have him appear again (he’d already passed on).

    As I said earlier in the run, I can completely understand this point of view. However, the mentions of Tyler were excessive in this series. They must have known that it was a trump card to keep on mentioning him, letting the audience think he was coming back. This is why people are disappointed.

    >>And it will surely be a relief for the pair that the ending that was plotted right at the very beginning of Life on Mars has finally been revealed. “It’s been hard keeping the secret,” Graham admits…
    >ORLY?!

    Yes, I call bullshit. This is just the kind of poncey statement I hate. If the stuff about 6620 had been seeded 5 years ago, I’d be slightly more forgiven about this episodes’ mis-steps.

    >I’m glad there were no OTT twists

    Um? What would have constituted an OTT twist for a show that revealed it was set in purgatory and featured a load of deadies?

    What was missing from this show was subtlety, which the ending of LOM had in spades. Since THEY WERE MAKING IT UP AS THEY WENT ALONG™, the ambiguity that the LOM finale created was exactly right. That provoked questions, but all this does is create plotholes.

    As finales go, that was somewhere near the middle of the scale for me. LOST, it’s over to you.

    #109816
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    The ending can only have been planned from the start if Ashes was in the making before LOM ended. Otherwise, it would have been the ending of LOM, and not the ending of A2A.

    And as brilliant as that was as an ending to A2A (because, for example, it gave more of a story to Chris/Ray/Shaz, who were much more significant characters in A2A than in LOM), it wasn’t as good an ending to LOM as LOM’s actual ending.

    So my assumption is that LOM had its own ending – but they probably had the vague idea in their heads all along that 1973 was a limbo state that Sam’s “soul” resided in rather than simply a dream, even though the show made it seem more like an ordinary before-death dream – but due to the sucess of Gene and wanting to carry on with A2A, they thought “Right, how can we do this?” and planned it out right from the start of A2A (which I can buy).

    #109817
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    Incidentally – given how many people were concerned that the “seeing stars” thing was a hint that we were heading for a retread of the US LOM’s ending… do you think that was a deliberate tease on the part of the writers?

    #109818
    Nakrophile
    Participant

    It was quite good, though it was certainly nothing spectacular. I know it wouoldn’t have made sense for Sam to appear with the way it went, but I’m still disapointed he didn’t.

    I also find it hard to believe they had planned this from the beginning.

    I’m also glad my joke speculation before series 2 started has proven correct, at least in some way.

    So: entertaining series, but it was no Life on Mars.

    #109819
    Nick R
    Participant

    Incidentally – given how many people were concerned that the “seeing stars” thing was a hint that we were heading for a retread of the US LOM’s ending… do you think that was a deliberate tease on the part of the writers?

    I do – especially given that a few episodes ago there was a line that specifically mentioned astronauts.

    #109821
    ChrisM
    Participant

    And what did the finale of A2A Series 2 mean? Yes, it indicated that Gene was dragging Alex back to his world…but we found out tonight that Alex died (presumably from that bullet in the very first episode)

    My take on it was the she was in a coma for the first two series, not dead. I think she came out of it at the end of series two, then died, probably from a relaspse, maybe a brain aneurysm at the start of this series. From her point of view she saw the characters on the TV screens, then SLAP! She’s back in the 80s. From the point of view of those in the nouhties world, watching her, she raves at ordinary tv screens, collapses then probably dies when she reaches the hospital.

    > So, he’s always known that his colleagues are lost in limbo?

    Not really. He seemed to have forgotten about his past and his real ‘job’

    Yeah that’s what I took from it too. I think the way he went out certainly subconsciously influenced his character in taking the others under his wing, but it wasn’t due to awareness of the real situation.

    How great was Keats’ raving as he smashed up the police station, and his cackling as he staggered away from Gene at the end?

    I thought he went way over the top. Not so much at the end when he faced Gene because he had failed at that point and didn’t really have anything to hide. (I quite liked that demonic hunch.)  but earlier on when he started throwing stuff around the office. I understand that the logic in it was that he was trying to destroy Gene’s world, to expose it as false to the others, but, considering his whole role was to entice the others away… well… would you have considered going with someone raving like that?

    Apart from that, it was a pretty decent cracking episode. I really wanted to see Sam Tyler though, but with a series without Sam, that was a decent way to go. Part of me wasn’t sure I wanted answers. I liked the way Life On Mars ended and like the idea he might still be out there somewhere… but on the other hand it really did work.

    I find myself wondering … did all the cops forget their previous lives over time? Did Chris and the others also kick up a stink when they first crossed over, just like Alex and Sam? Or does it depend on the way they enter that world? I.e. it seems pretty clear that Gene, Chris, and the others crossed over through death,  while Tyler and Drake were only half dead when they entered that world.*

    Did the comatose characters bring  more over with them, hence remembering their original lives? I think I prefer that idea as I like the idea that Tyler and Drake were a bit of an enigma in that world, teaching Gene as much as he taught them. But the fact a new guy turns up at the end of this episode reacting the same way suggests it is a common enough reaction. What are the odds of another coma victim turning up that quickly? Actually, perhaps not as low as one might think considering the concept of predestination, that people are meant to be there to fulfil certain things in their lives.. and lots of people linger before they die. I’m probably over-thinking it, but I like the fact it’s given me something to think about. Mark of a great programme.

    *Before  you say Alex was dead too, as I said earlier I don’t think she actually died until this series. That explains so much ‘present day’ stuff bleeding through in the previous two series, while this series, all the weird stuff was clues to the true nature of this world.

    #109822
    ChrisM
    Participant

    Sorry for the poor punctuation. Ugh.

    #109829
    Nick R
    Participant

    SFX’s interview with Matthew Graham is well worth a read.

    So when you created Life On Mars did you have a long-term gameplan in mind? And is this the ending you always had planned?

    “Bits of it are. When we got to the end of Mars we planned to do a third series, as you know. In the third series of Mars we would see Sam realising that he was dead – he knows he’s dead at the end of series two, but in series three he would start to believe that he could cheat a final death. He thinks that’s Heaven, and gradually it would dawn on him that this wasn’t Heaven. So it was going to be all the back story that we have in Ashes, of Sam saying ‘I don’t want to leave here’, and we would learn more about Gene, that Gene was actually this young copper. Because we were never able to do that third series, when we came to Ashes we thought let’s start again, let’s not rush to get to that conclusion. Obviously the BBC didn’t want just one series of Ashes, so we said right upfront to the Beeb we’d like to do three series – we’d like to start frivolous, and get darker as we go. And, amazingly, they said ok, let’s give it a go. And luckily the first series did well enough to get a second series and so on, so we were able to do that.

    This comment reflects something I’d wondered about:

    And I also imagine that if you had two more episodes after the end of Ashes, by the end of that second episode he’d talk about Alex, and Ray and Chris, he’d refer to them, but he would almost have forgotten that last scene in Ashes outside the Railway Arms ever took place.”

    In the scene at the end when the guy comes in looking for his iPhone, I’d wondered (only for a moment!) whether Gene would break the cycle by explaining to this guy right from the start what was going on. When he didn’t, it brought up the question of how much he would remember about the revelations of where he came from, what his role was, and what had happened to Sam, Alex, Chris, Shaz and Ray.

    Also in that interview, he mentions how much he knows of David Bowie’s opinions of the shows – and points out a line in the series that I’d missed but which could be taken to be them specifically working Bowie into the series’ mythology. And there’s a bit right at the end of the interview where he mentions the title of another of his songs that they jokingly proposed to make into a series! Now that I’d like to see…

    #109830
    Muzzy
    Participant

    >> And what did the finale of A2A Series 2 mean? Yes, it indicated that Gene was dragging Alex back to his world…but we found out tonight that Alex died (presumably from that bullet in the very first episode)

    It was actually stated when they were outside the pub that Alex died at 9:06 in the hospital at the beginning of this series. When she woke up after Gene slapped her, she was dead from that point on. Seems to explain why she was losing her memories/less concerned about Molly and her life back home this series. I would guess that when she was shot and went into a coma in Gene’s world, this was the point at which whatever problem she had in the real world that ultimately caused her to die happened. And whilst in her coma in Gene’s world she imagined she had woken up in the real world?

    Anyway I really enjoyed it. Sure, you can probably pick a few holes in it but not anything big or serious enough for me to think it doesn’t make sense or they dropped the ball. All the performances were fantastic, including Keats who I do now wish had popped up earlier in the whole story (though maybe one could say the test card girl was a manisfestation of him? Not sure how well that holds up however.)

    I desperately wanted Sam to appear going into the episode but the way it turned out it wouldn’t have made sense for him to pop up and in retrospect I’m almost glad he didn’t. Maybe seeing him for a split second through the doors of the Railway Arms would have been a nice treat though! Thought the final scene mirroring Sam’s “My desk is here! This is my office!!” and Gene’s “A word in your shell-like pal” was a good way to end it though. Definitely gonna miss Gene.

    #109831
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    Good interview, that. Almost OVER fills stuff in, but it’s nice to have things cleared up. Especially the idea that this WAS meant to be the ending of a third LOM series, and the explanation of how starting afresh with A2A was a way of pushing it back a bit. I’m willing to believe that’s how it played out.

    Certainly it meant that, for example, Chris and Ray being dead had a bit more resonance to it than would have been had it been revealed in LOM. It makes sense. And crucially, it pulls the good sequel trick of not actually changing the end of LOM – you can still watch LOM without A2A, and its ending is still fine and self contained.

    #109832
    performingmonkey
    Participant

    > you can still watch LOM without A2A, and its ending is still fine and self contained.

    I’m really glad they went this way. Not having Sam at the end of A2A helped that too. You could also watch A2A without seeing a frame of LoM and still get pretty much the same enjoyment out of it.

    If they had done LoM series 3 I’m guessing Chris and Ray would have been revealed as creations of Gene rather than dead coppers, that Sam was the only one being shepherded to the other side, or maybe Annie as well.

    #109833
    ChrisM
    Participant

    I think a third series of LoM could well have ended the same way actually. With Chris and Ray in the same roles as dead cops I mean.

    I don’t entirely buy what is being mentioned on other sites either. That everyone else and the world is a fabrication of Gene’s mind. (For example I’ve seen comments like “If he died in the 50s why didn’t is he dreaming of the 70 and 80s rather than a time in which he’d be more comfortable.”) I think those people are taking the whole idea of ‘Gene’s world’ a little too literal.

    Sure, it could be interpreted that way, but my take on it is that the world existed before Gene came and will likely continue when he finally goes to The Pub. That would explain all those things that a 50s Gene would not be privy too. Due to his history, manner of death, and just the fact he’s a strong minded individual he is able to shape part of the world to his liking (i.e. the police station, albeit unconsciously) and that is ‘his world’, the world in which he acts as a kind of mentor for lost cop souls. But I think the world as a whole is still a ‘real world’ in the Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes universe. Or multiverse. Whatever. And that includes the people who are born and die there.

    #109834
    Nick R
    Participant

    I don’t entirely buy what is being mentioned on other sites either. That everyone else and the world is a fabrication of Gene’s mind. (For example I’ve seen comments like “If he died in the 50s why didn’t is he dreaming of the 70 and 80s rather than a time in which he’d be more comfortable.”)

    I assumed the idea was that as new cops arrive, they gradually contribute their own knowledge to the limbo reality. (Maybe childhood memories? That definitely works for the dates of Sam and Alex’s arrivals.) So time does flow there, but the dates there lag behind those in the living world.

    #109835
    ChrisM
    Participant

    That would make sense too. I certainly don’t think Gene is soul contributor to the world. There are just too many things outside his perception.

    I like to think the other people, i.e those who didn’t arrive through death, are real people too. Imagine that, living and dying as part of a purgatory world, and for you it’s just real life. How many levels does this go down? Heh.

    #109884
    Carlito
    Participant

    Bit late wading in, but I’ve been on hols for a week…

    I thought it was awesome. My only gripe was the resolution to Alex’s quest.. the whole first two series revolved around Alex’s plight to wake up and return to Molly, and the revelation that she has died in the interim seemed a little tacked-on or brushed aside, like an afterthought to the Hunt/Gene-world mystery. The answer was there alright, but it didn’t seem to carry the weight you would expect it to after the build-up. I was satisfied with the outcome but it lacked the gravitas it ought to have. Then again, maybe it fell victim to the 20mins of cuts the episode reportedly underwent.

    If you had asked me before the episode, I would have told you I would be extremely disappointed if John Simm didn’t make a showing. I guess it’s a testament to how well the finale was executed that by the time the credits rolled, it really didn’t matter that he hadn’t.

    My take is that the purgatory world is fuelled by the real world, almost formed from snapshots… so when Sam solves crimes using his knowledge of future events, for example, his purgatory world of 1973 is based exactly on the real world of 1973, and so the cases are real, the crimes are real, the resolutions are real… the purgatory world runs parallel to and is influenced by reality. (This would also explain the presence of non-‘dead/lost soul’ peripheral characters/criminals). I dunno, I just don’t much like the idea of nothing that has happened during the last five series really mattered, in reality. So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    #109885
    Carlito
    Participant

    I also assume that Sam and Annie underwent exactly the same process as Alex in 1980; discovering clues to Gene’s identity, maybe even Keats (in another form) trying to lead them away. Perhaps they even discovered the body, and the tin etc. which led to their eventual crossing over… and Gene simply forgot it all (as he seems wont to do), immersed himself in his world once more.

    Another note: I’ve read several reviews during the last week that suggested Ashes to Ashes is better than Life On Mars. Untrue in my opinion, but it shows how masterfully Pharoah and Graham have turned general perception of A2A around with one blistering series, erasing the mediocre memories of series 1 and 2. Ashes to Ashes went out on an absolute high and will probably be generally forgiven of its early missteps. It was still less fun than LOM overall though, but I’m going to go out on a limb (having only watched it the once so far – I literally left for my holiday within an hour of broadcast) and say my initial impression was that the A2A finale was better than the LOM finale, in my humble. I do wish we’d gotten that third LOM to tie things up, though. Would probably have been fantastic.

    #109886
    ChrisM
    Participant

    I really loved the third wall gag with the little girl at the end of Life On Mars though. I’m actually old enough to remember that little girl* when she (sort of) appeared in real time…

    *Well okay, not that little girl, but I’m sure you know what I mean.

    #109888
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    I dunno, I just don’t much like the idea of nothing that has happened during the last five series really mattered, in reality. So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Surely, given that the entire thing is fictional, it doesn’t matter in the slightest whether the cases were “real” or not. What matters is that all the events within Gene’s world were real and important for the characters, both in terms of the emotional impact at the time and the greater scheme of helping them to cross over.

    #109894
    performingmonkey
    Participant

    > What matters is that all the events within the flash-sideways were real and important for the characters, both in terms of the emotional impact at the time and the greater scheme of helping them to cross over.

    Exactly.

    #109898
    SkyAndSun
    Participant

    I enjoyed it for the atmosphere and good characters. But I can’t get fully behind the ideas primarily because the writers seem to talk about the Christian religion being ‘correct’ – there’s a white glowy heaven and a fiery hell, there’s ‘good’ and ‘bad’, and somehow we’re judged before moving on to one of these places after we die. As an atheist, I can’t really take any of this seriously and I much preferred the LOM ending because it avoided religion, heaven and hell entirely. I mean, there are so many religions, even singling out one as the ‘correct’ one is… well, a bit silly, IMO. (like in that episode of South Park. ‘Ah, no. It’s the Mormons. The Mormons got it right. Everyone else – sorry.’)

    Still, the character of Gene Hunt is a fantastic creation, and LOM the best British drama in decades, IMO. Even with A2A improving dramatically from S1, I do feel it was a bit unnecessary, or at least maybe should have taken a different direction.

    #109899
    Carlito
    Participant

    There’s nothing explicitly religious about it. I mean, you could look at it that way, if you want to, but really it boils down to that old ‘good vs evil’ battle and anything specifically rooted in religion is just open to interpretation.

    #109975
    steven87gill
    Participant

    ‘We’ve had meetings about the logic of the show where you come out with your eyeballs bleeding,’ says Pharoah. they will neither confirm nor deny whether John Simm will reappear as Sam Tyler (despite jumping to his death at the end of Life on Mars).”

    See, stuff like this irritates me, why couldn’t the writers just be up front and say that JS wouldn’t be in the final, it just seems a bit mean in restrospect to build up false hopes considering that Simm was never even asked.
    Besides, as it has been said before, a cameo wouldn’t have made much sense (based on the purgatory explanation) anyway, and i doubt people knowing he wouldn’t appear in advance would’ve adversly affected viewing figures.

    #109978
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    Just because Simm wasn’t asked doesn’t mean they didn’t consider asking him.

    #109979
    Carlito
    Participant

    Matthew Graham said it was meant to be Simm who came out of the Railway Arms in the original plan, but they decided it wouldn’t make sense and ditched it before even asking him.

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