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Life on Mars : Complete BBC Series 2 [2006] - 25.98

It's hard to believe it's over. Life On Mars shot out of nowhere at the beginning of 2006 to become a vital, gripping drama, and this second series more than maintains the sky high standards that the first so memorably set.

What makes it even more surprising is that all the ingredients were there for it to go so tragically wrong. The central premise, that for unknown reasons modern day police detective Sam Tyler wakes up in the 1970s, is fraught with potential potholes, yet the creators of Life On Mars twist it very much in their favour, delivering a skilful, taut comparison between policing then and policing now.

It's this clash of approach that provides many of Life On Mars' sparks, but nonetheless, it has much more than that going for it. It boasts, for instance, a terrific level of attention to detail, and weaves in quality narrative too, with Tyler frequently caught between unravelling his predicament, the crimes before him, and his 1970s' colleagues with their 1970s' tactics.

This second, and final, series wraps things up surprisingly well, and consistently delivers laughs, action and plenty of pub talk off the back of it. It's also a delight to revisit Life On Mars, and that makes this collected boxset of the episodes of season two an absolute must for any fan of gritty, interesting and terrifically entertaining British drama. Quite, quite brilliant. --Jon Foster

Customer reviews (av rating: 4.5):

Rating: 5:
Loved it, gonna hate it : Count me in with those who absolutely LOVED the ending of Life on Mars. I've watched that last episode a dozen times now, and it remains the best piece of TV I've seen all year. And I know in advance I'm gonna hate the American remake due sometime next year; the ending is what iced the show for me, and there is NO way an American network will air that ending. It'll get altered, focus-grouped and censored into oblivion. Buy this set, and don't even bother with the other, if it ever airs. This is a true classic of the television medium, not to be missed.

Rating: 4:
Great series, shame about the ending (NO spoiler) : I didn't like the ending. That's all I'm going to say about it because I don't want to spoil it for you.

But - unlike for some people - for me it didn't take any shine off the other 15 episodes. It's still a great programme and it's better that they ended it than let it run and run.

Rating: 5:
LOVE the ending : This is with out doubt one of the best TV series I have ever seen! The ending was very important (I think one of the reviews here is missing the point). The show turned out to be about the Afterlife. Our hero Sam learns so much and who is to say that many of the others in the 1973 world, maybe not all, are not in their Afterlife as well?

I highly recommend this series; it stays with you long after you have seen it.

Rating: 1:
Way to destroy a great show. SPOILERS : Their choice of ending for Season 2 killed the entire show.


So now we know all those cases never happened, all those villains never existed, all those changes to history never occured, all those people saved by Sam by changing history (like the gangster's wife to be who would later grass on him and end up murdered) really died as he changed nothing, all those wonderful charcter moments, all that bonding and growing of characters never really happened.

There was no point rushing to disarm bombs, no point rushing to save Annie and the witness, no point trying to find out what happened to the man who died in custody, no point in taking a stand against pay-offs to take down big-wig gangsters, no point in promising a young lad you'll find out who stabbed his Dad....As none of the crimes or any of the people involved ever existed!

What is the point then of all that work? Why watch these edge of the seat cases now we know they are not actually happening? Why enjoy the bonding and the trust being built up? Why enjoy Sam's little nods to the future (like the TV in the pub) that confuse everyone else when of it is actually happening??

I sold off both box sets as I could find no pleasure in the series now that everything has turned into all that above.

quite frankly if you loved these charecters and their stories then the ending destroyed the show for true fans of it.

Rating: 5:
A Total Winner : I've loved this whole series since the very first episode and now own both Boxsets, which take pride of place in my DVD collection. The concept is so original, although now copied or mimicked in a number of other shows, but it is the casting that makes this really work - John Simm and Phil Glenister have such a great on-screen chemistry that keeps you glued to every scene and every now infamous line of narrative, particularly for Gene Hunt. Like many over the age of 35 it is great to remember when lifestyles were less complex and more innocent (although not always for then better) and see the sharp contrast with the modern world.

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