By Stephen Lacey, Ruth McElroy

This assortment is the 1st book-length research devoted to the British tv sequence Life on Mars, the yankee remake, and its sequel, Ashes to Ashes. Stephen Lacey and Ruth McElroy compile specialists to have interaction seriously with the sequence. one of the themes mentioned are tv in the nationwide and overseas market; style and narrative; the sequence’ illustration of the Nineteen Seventies and its portrayal of “Britishness”; and the impression of and the reaction to the sequence within the United States.

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Additional info for Life on Mars: From Manchester To New York

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Other shows, such as Supernatural, use the myth arc as a driving force for the narrative, but again only make occasional direct references. The mystery in Life on Mars has to be examined in every episode, since Sam is never not wondering why he is now in the seventies. Likewise, Alex is always trying to figure out how to get home, but unlike the other series where a myth arc episode deals with the mythology in depth, here the whole mystery is only resolved at the end of the series. Life on Mars offers clues throughout for both the audience and Sam to decipher.

The intertextual play with The Sweeney keeps modern, media-savvy viewers aware that Life on Mars is a detective series situated in the tradition of British police-detective series. But the parodic pleasure is not available to all. The intertextual play works fully only if viewers saw The Sweeney in the seventies and feel the resonances, which is why the fifty-somethings in my audience survey locate Life on Mars in traditions of both British television and British cultural life. For those who recall the earlier police series and its popularity, a ‘Sweeney awareness’ heightens the pleasure in Hunt’s more elaborately forced expostulations.

As the story unfolds, none of these narrative meta-arcs affords an easy inferential walk. Indeed each story strand opens up on to another narrative prospect. Even in the denouement, the writers have fun with the possibilities. In the final episode, Sam is led by Frank Morgan to his parents’ supposed graves in the name of Walker, but, insisting he knew Vic and Ruth Tyler and that his surname is indeed Tyler not Walker, Sam spots nearby gravestones bearing the Tyler name. But these graves turn out to be dated from the 1880s and Morgan’s explanation that Sam is amnesiac, having lost his memory in a road accident, suddenly seems not only plausible but corroborated: Sam Tyler (formerly Walker) is a detective from Hyde whose identity has been changed to allow him to go undercover in Manchester’s A-Division in order to root out highly questionable policing methods.

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