I've been lax in blogging about "Life on Mars" this year, for reasons I'll get into after the jump, but now that it's all over, I wanted to talk about the ending, the meaning of the series, Bowie, etc. So spoilers coming up just as soon as I change my name...
Like I said, I had planned to make this show a part of the regular strike blogging rotation, but as I watched each season two episode, my interest began to fade. I don't even know that they were appreciably worse than season one, but I think once the novelty of the idea wore off, it became clear that "Life on Mars" was just a procedural cop show with an anachronistic twist, and that twist wasn't enough most weeks to overcome the procedure-fatigue I've written about so often of late. It was amusing to see what kind of Sipowicz-esque bit of crudeness would escape Philip Glenister's lips, but I had nothing much to say about the episodes themselves. So I figured I'd wait for the finale, find out exactly what was up with Sam, and then write about that.
And now that I know... whoa.
No time travel here, folks. Our boy was just in a coma, and now he's... what, dead? Is 1973 Manchester supposed to be Heaven, or some kind of endless "life flashing before your eyes" fantasy for Sam?
The finale tried to head fake us with the attempt to make Sam think he was actually from 1973, that it was the 21st century that was the fantasy. But given that what we saw of Sam's life in the present so closely resembled the actual present, I knew that was bogus. What are the odds of a guy from 1973 imagining the iPod all on his own? So when he bailed on the shootout in the tunnel and woke up in a modern hospital, I wasn't surprised.
But when Sam, completely adrift and unable to feel anything back in his real life, went up on the roof, the complete Bowie song played again, and he jumped off the roof? Again... whoa.
I can't for the life of me imagine the David E. Kelley version (if it ever gets made at this point) climaxing with the main character committing suicide because his coma life was more appealing than the real thing. American network TV has gotten more daring, but I imagine most American viewers would consider that as big a middle finger as the "Sopranos" finale. But good on Matthew Graham for taking the dark, unexpected way out. I understand there's going to be a spin-off built around Gene Hunt in the early '80s (or the coma version of same); very strange.
What did everybody else think?