I’ve been re-watching “Life on Mars” – the highly successful BBC series from a few years ago.
Remember it? How a modern day Manchester DCI, Sam Tyler (John Sim) is hit by a car, knocked down, and awakens in 1973. He then goes on to be part of Gene Hunt’s team of politically incorrect thuggish detective squad.
All the while, he is desperately searching for some sort of doorway back to the present. “Am I mad? In a coma? Or back in time?” he asks over each episode’s opening.
I hadn’t realised that an American version had been made – it bombed, lasting only one season.
The scriptwriters had to resolve everything in the last episode, and this is what they came up with:
Sam wakes up in the year 2035 as an astronaut aboard a spaceship bound for Mars. It turns out his life as a cop in 1973 was a holodeck-type virtual-reality program—one Sam had picked out to entertain himself as he hibernated in a pod during the long space voyage. But wait, you interrupt with knitted brow, how does this explain the fact that the first episode of Life on Mars depicts Sam as a cop in 2008? Why would his virtual-reality program briefly plop him into one past era, and then confuse him by booting him further back in time for no clear reason? Ah, that too is part of the computer mirage. A glitch in the software caused the whole cop scenario to flicker between decades!
from “The Slate”
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