Review: Life on Mars – TV Series, book “The Rules of Modern Policing” and Soundtrack

DVD – Life on Mars TV Series

Life on Mars is one of the best TV series to come out of the BBC. It is based around the life of Sam Tyler a modern police officer who is involved in a car accident and wakes up in 1973.

Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time? Whatever’s happened, it’s like I’ve landed on a different planet. Now, maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get home.

The show contrasts modern police methods, with a dramatized 1970s style police activities. Sam Tyler’s politically correct modern policing sets him up for conflict with the violent, racist, gut-feeling led policing of the 1970s. The 1970s team is run by DCI Gene Hunt, who is the complete extreme of this contrasting style, but with Sam’s influence tones down some of his methods.

The 1970s period is done really well, with references to “new advances” such as a TV remote control, which are now considered very basic by modern standards. My favourite reference is in the first episode where Sam refers to a “PC Terminal” – “PC Who?”.

There is quite a bit of bad language, and some sexual references, but stays within the 12 age group.

It is a mix of drama, comedy, suspense and action, which works really well. Wondering if Sam ever gets back to the present – you’ll have to wait until the final episode of series 2 to find the answer.

There are 2 series both of which are on DVD. This second series is the last, but they have released a Ashes to Ashes, which follows Gene Hunt into the 1980s.

I have not yet seen Ashes to Ashes as it has a release date of May 2008, but the Life on Mars series is one of the best I’ve seen. I initially rented the first series, but then after watching it ordered my own copy and couldn’t wait to get my hands on series 2.

Book: The Rules of Modern Policing – 1973 Edition (Life On Mars)

The book “The Rules of Modern Policing” is a book written from the point of view of one of the central characters DCI Gene Hunt. It is a comedy book covering the policing methods in the series including pictures from the show. An excellent read *****.

CD Soundtrack – Life on Mars

There is a lot of good music used throughout the two series. The soundtrack covers the first, and although it captures a handful of really good songs, a number of the good songs are missing. It’s worth getting the CD for the 3 dialog tracks and these good songs. You could then create your own compilation using iTunes featuring your favourite songs from the 1970s.