At first, Ashes to Ashes is both disappointing and vexing. The 80s milieu isn't particularly effective as a gone time captured and bottled to serve as a fantasy world, the characters all seem somehow less spirited (perhaps it's just the zeitgeist), and little respect is paid to the memory of DCI Sam Tyler (the twice-dead protagonist of the show's progenitor Life on Mars). However, the show picks up in a big way around half way through season 1 - the episodic plots become a lot more entertaining and the mystery surrounding the death of DI Alexandra Drake's parents starts to take shape. It never matches the charm of Life on Mars, but as far as spin-offs go, it's actually pretty damn good.
When this show started it's first series, it had a great deal to live up to, following in the footsteps of, what I think was, the greatest show of the past decade. Unfortunately, this was incredibly noticeable throughout the first few episodes of the show. It felt like a shallow retread that couldn't really escape it's predecessors huge shadow. However I am pleased to say that it improved as it went on and the first series finale was genuinely exciting and,though still not matching anything that LoM produced, definitely left me wanting more. And wow. How glad I am that I stuck with it. After a much better second series, we are now one episode away from the end of it all and I feel genuinely privileged to have grown up with these two shows. Perhaps the greatest compliment that can be given to the writers is that A2A no longer feels like a spin off, and instead of us currently being in series 3 of a show, we are actually in series 5 of an epic experience spanning 5 years and 2 shows. Going in to the final episode it feels completely right, as though this was the plan right from the very first episode of LoM and we have been following one intricate plot line all the way through.
These two shows separately are excellent, but put them together, seeing the whole story unfold as one, I feel quite certain in saying that A2A, along with LoM has possibly been the greatest 40 hours (5, 8 episode series) of television I have ever seen. Do not miss it.
Following on the brilliant life on mars series this is just a unoriginal retread in the 80s with a female lead. The problem is that it lacks spark, i don't really feel convinced its the 80s, and the lead actress is simply annoying to watch. I don't care about her journey so its hard to care about much else in the series. Its like they just reclothed life on mars and tossed in a new lead. the chemistry just isn't there. the sense of awe at leaping into a hyper realistic past is not there. The other favorite character gene hunt just seems to be phoning it it, but i don't blame him as he's not given much to work with.
I see the solid reviews of 10/10 but I must admit that would be an overstatement. I understand that Life on Mars was a great series and can understand why they wanted to continue it but in someone else's point of view, and obviously in a different decade. Alex is linked to Sam Tyler, he sent her all the information on what had happened during his coma e.g. the people he met (most importantly Gene Hunt) and the different things that happened. This changed the story line slightly as she seems to have a sort of idea what is happening, but the same mission to get back home in the 21st century. Each unfortunately has to battle the different crimes and problems that were around in that area at the time, as well as finding time to figure out how to get home. First of all I was upset at how they explained the death of DI Sam Tyler, it did not seem that they had thought of a good enough way to kill him off. Secondly I noticed that Alex's parents were killed (or just her mother) in a car explosion, whereas Sam's father left. Both characters meet up with their parents and try not to let on who they were no matter how much they wanted to. I must admit though the one thing I applaud them on is the clown. The first time I saw him I was a bit freaked out and on the edge of my seat. The concentration on the clowns face as he runs to her is sheer terrifying!
This is the follow on to Life on Mars which also was an amazing show. Ashes to Ashes has been a fantastic tv series with Phillip Glenister being the shining star as Gen Hunt. Alex Drake is shot in the present and ends up back in the 80's in Gene's world.
Ashes to Ashes has proven that it is an original and well written tv series. All of the characters in the show are fantastic and you instantly fall in love with them. Gene Hunt is a god as far as I am concerned! Although he may be slightly chauvanistic, his charcter develops before your very eyes. The relationship between him and Alex has been very intense from day 1, his team are all so different and diverse yet normal if that makes sense?! The final series has been a real eye opener. You find out the truth about Gene's world, who he really is and why Alex was there. I wont give the ending away incase some people havent seen it yet but I thought it was incredable. No-one I know could guess the ending. Ashes to ashes is a classic and will be for many years to come!
I was a huge fan of the English Life On Mars, so i tuned into this hesitently, at first i thought of no a spin of howver this show has become a fabuloss show in it's own right, i actually now enjoy this more than i enjoyed life on mars, i've introduced in to friends who have scene Life On Mars and those that hadn't and they all loved it, it's a great show with brilliant charecters, fun story lines, and even a nice bit of sexual tention between Gene, and Alex. All i can say to finish is fire up the quattro Bolly.
I'll be honest I wanted to be the first American to review this show. Whether I am or not here goes my review: a lot of people have dogged Keeley Dawes, but the truth is she is actually quite good as DI Alex Drake. At times Drake comes across as Diane Chambers from Cheers but she is still likeable. The problem is everyone misses John Simm as Sam Tyler and are giving the new girl a hard time. However John Simm left of his own free will so Keeley Dawes should not be penalized. The premise is similar to Life On Mars. Set one year after Sam Tyler took his "leap of faith" DI Alex Drake is taken hostage by Arthur Layton aman who claims to have information on the death of her parents. Layton shoots Alex and she wakes up in 1981. Almost immediately after arriving Alex meets up with Gene Hunt, Chris Skelton, and Ray Carlings who help her bring down Layton in 1981. Hunt and his CID crew have moved to London to corral the growing drug problem and now add Alex as a new DI. One of the things that separates this series from Life On Mars is that Alex knows what is going on While Sam struggled to understand his predicament. Despite this Alex is still thrown several curves in the form of a malevolent clown who pops up at odd moments.
Somewhat predictable due to the similarity in premise to the original series but delivers a good dose of surprise and twists to keep you on your toes.
One of the best things about the series is the determination to make it different from what came before, while still maintaining many of the things that helped the original series to be so interesting and entertaining.
I love this show but would recommend that you definitely watch Life On Mars first or you won't enjoy the rich intertextuality that helps to make this show great.
Excellent turns from the veterans and the newcomers alike. A worthy continuation of the story.
I Love This Show! Can't Wait For Season 2!
DCI Alex Drake Was Shot & Lands Back In 1981, Where She Meets Gene Hunt, And The Rest Of The Team Who Are Sexist, But Funny.
She Also Meets Her Parents, They Do Not Recognise Her, She Tries To Stop Them From Being Blown Up & Killed But She Failed :(.
This Show Is So Good, Not Only Is It Clever And Funny, Alex Drake Is Very Clever, She Tries To Find Out Everything She Can About Her Parents Before They Are Killed.
Overall, A Brilliant Show, Fantastic Storylines And Great Cast, Also Interesting Music!
I loved Life on Mars, I was thrilled when I heard of this spin-off. It's a little slow at first but then alot of pilots are. As the series has progressed it has got better and better, Alex & Gene together have produced some classic moments. The writers have made Alex look like a loony at some points but it's not Keeley Hawes' fault. Alex is back in time for another reason; she is trying prevent her parent's death. Although she is trying to get back to her daughter at the same time.
Everyone knew from the start that it wouldn't be as good as LOM but it's come very close. A brilliant first series and a spectacular finale.
I turned 17 in 1981, and I absolutely love this programme. Gene Hunt has to be one of my top five all time favourite characters. Philip Glenister is a truly amazing actor. You feel so conflicted about Hunt right from the start in Life on Mars, and it doesn't get any more straight forward in Ashes to Ashes.
Alex Drake could have been the weak link in this programme, and I thought at first that she was seriously going to let the sisters down by being constantly whiny, but it has started to develop into more of a clash of the titans. I loved the way each episode advanced her relationship with Gene, and changed direction, turned her preconceptions on their heads.
From the clothes, to the cars, to the fantastic one liners (and Gene had a comment for every occasion), this is a class act. I am really looking forward to the next series.
Let's face it, "Ashes to Ashes" is NOT "Life on Mars", it lacks something, may be Sam Tyler, may be the cozy 70s, may be the colors, I don't know but it just doesn't feel the same. STILL we have Philip Glenister aka "Guv", Ray & Chris so it's not so bad after all since they nicely transitioned to the 80s, DI Alex Drake is a bit out place (can we have Sam back?) but overall is a very good show and definitely worth watching it even though it is a spin-off, only one remark, we want the good-ole-fashioned Guv back, maybe it is my impression but he softened a bit with Drake.
Gene Hunt is still on top form in this spin-off from Life on Mars, classic lines and a great presence that keeps you hooked from the off. In the opening episode:
Today, my friend, you're diary will read 'Took a prozzie hostage and was shot by three armed bastards'
Ray and Chris never failing to make you laugh, cry and roll your eyes from episode to episode. Adding Shaz, who makes a nice addition to the team and a nice addition into Chris's life, the show keeps going strong. Alex can take a little time to warm to, her constant referral to the fact that she truly believes the team are constructs, and the psychoanalytic speeches she gives may irrate some veiwers and amuse others, however it's not long until the chemistry between Gene and Alex begins to hook you in, their love-hate relationship going from one extreme to another from episode to episode. As i wasn't alive in the 80's i can't comment on the authenticity, however some of the costumes are startlingly good and the soundtrack is particuarly amazing, so far as to have me end up on I-tunes downloading 'Vienna' by Ultrafox.
I tuned out after the first episode because i found myself constantly comparing to Life On Mars, however i came back into it and rewatched the episodes i had skipped and was plesantly surprised. The art direction is stunningly good, particuarly near the end of Episode 6, which i will admit is probably one of my favourite moments of television, and for those who haven't seen it, lets just say it involves Gene Hunt, a gun, and a pane of glass. Although, i will admit, Life On Mars would probably be considered the better show, this is a different show in it's own right, and despite it's links with LOM, it is a different show in it's own right, and it tends to be slightly more light-hearted, and perhaps even for the better. Further into the series, Keeley Hawes seems more settled and sure in her role as DI Drake, and the dynamic between Gene and Alex, and the team is established and entertaining, making for some brillant moments between the two. Thoroughly hooked on the show, and am counting down the hours until episode 8.
Life On Mars was one of my fave shows from the past years, not in the least because of john Simm, who I think is a great actor. It was inevitable that, after this show, there would be a continuation around the fabulous DI Gene Hunt and his merry group of men.
Well, AtA is a let-down. Not because of Gene Hunt cs, but because of Keeley Hawes, who plays Alex Drake, sent back to 1981 after a bullet hits her in the head. She displays one of the worst examples of over-acting I have seen in years. The way the humor and cynicism of Gene Hunt and the determination of John Simm made LoM such a great series, there is absolutely no chemistry between Gene Hunt and Alex Drake. Bad casting and acting imho.
After a surprising first episode i'm now hooked to see how this program turns out Gene hunt is back with Ray and Chris Genes still the no nonsense B**t**d he was in LoM if slightly more understanding thanks to Sams influence.
Ray is also slightly mellower yet still lewd and chris is the biggest changer from being indecisive to taking matters into his own hands (even if this doesnt go right)
So Keeley Hawes plays Alex Drake a modern woman apparantly shot in the head after being kidnapped when she wakes up in 1981 aboard a boat she was just shot on in whorish apparel she's slightly confused till Gene hunt shows up and starts arresting people down the nick Gene finds out shes the new DI.
Being a police psychologist she realises shes in some kind of coma nightmare after reading up on one DI Sam Tyler thinking she's some how in a coma and shes created this from reading his report.
In the show we find out sams lived 7yrs within this coma world in just a few short weeks of being in a coma, after trying to wake herself using some of Sams methods from LoM Using a TV set picking up the phone etc. she comes to the conclusion that she may not even be in hospital yet and still only just fallen unconsious on the boat where she was shot.
So she decides to stick it out.
A good show but i hope they put some bigger spins on it in this series as we all know the general gis of whats going on now thanks to LoM, any new comer or people hesitant to watch i'd say give it a go you might just like it.
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