I really like the way folks are referring to the two versions of Sam, '73 Sam and '06 Sam. Certainly Sam has evolved, or devolved, or at least broadened his horizons somewhat since whatever the hell happened to him happened. I like the clever way the series panders to all theories. Like Sam being tested while in a coma and experiencing it in 1973, or expressing classic symptoms of schizophrenia. I love that everything is shown from Sam's point of view. No character really exists outside of Sam's sight. Even when Sam was freaking out over the radio, only Sam could hear Pulp, everytime the scene cut back to Gene, it was business as usual, playing into the Sam is a '73 nutter.
I did love Gene's gentle wrangling of Sam though. So sweet. And it was so totally a date. It was only Sam who wanted to keep it all business, the anal little twit. I tell ya, that Gene restrains himself to only thumping Sam once or twice an episode is yet further demonstration of his grudging affection.
A friend glowers at the pandering to the slash crowd that's going on, but it's no more than the nod and a wink the shippers, footie fans and rev heads get. I mean, Gene all but winked at the camera when he slammed through those cardboard boxes. And hooray for the cardboard boxes. I'd have pouted if there'd been no driving through cardboard boxes.
I'm bemused by the nitpicking, and the posts that insist some paperweight that's anachronistic by three weeks must be some massive clue that it's all in Sam's head. What great faith they place in the producers. Personally, I wouldn't be attaching any great significance or symbology to anything a few weeks out of date just yet. Stuff wildly out of place, yes, but I think we must allow for some human error, even in a Kudos production.
However, it is fun to watch closely and, I must say, I'm piss poor at that game compared to others (I'll blame Captain Craptastic, my crap telly here). I mean, what about Sam's digital watch, predating the very era when digital watches were still though of as a pretty neat idea. Is the digital watch just a homage to the Arthur Dent-like situation Sam finds himself in?
Or are all these minor details major clues, as on Lost or the late and sometimes lamented Buffy?
Oh, another review compared the show to Peggy Sue Got Married. I'd forgotten about that one.
I like the way the music, the lyrics, especially, are all extra layers of text and meaning (especially the Bowie and Cream songs). I love the way the characters speak lines that have two meanings, like Gene telling Sam he requested his transfer, and that Sam could leave at any time, but he hadn't, because he secretly loved it there. Or when Sam is told he can tear down the world, or the references to a Connecticutt Yankee, or the empty factory being just a shell, like Coma!Sam, we presume (so that makes '73 Sam Funky!Sam, heh).
I love the idea of Gene trying to make Sam come out and say he loves the 70s (and big, rough 70s coppers?). Heh.
Even if the characters are just figments of Sam's parboiled imagination, I do like the way Gene just unfolds layer after a layer. I love, love, love Gene at his most Regan-esque, but I also love how cunning he is, how smart, how adapatable, how accommodating, how loyal, how flexible, how reasonable, how hard, how soft, and how much of a good friend he could be to Sam, if only Sam would let him in. From the brief glimpse we saw of 2006 Sam, I don't think he let anyone in. Abandonment issues much?
And what is it with these Tylers going back in time to confront Daddy issues? Does the Beeb only have one plot nowadays? They should have made Sam Rose's dad and really done my head in. Like that pic of John, despite all his whining about the costumes, dressed as Sam, but from a premiere in 2003. Alas, I can't think about why John is dressed as 1973 Sam in 2003 or my brain will get stuck in a temporal loop and no amount of reversing of polarities will unstick it.
I love how Gene surprised Sam in episode 7, by winding Sam up and letting him go, all without Sam realising it. Could you really be played, manipulated and tricked by a figment of your imagination? Whoo, Sammy, some A grade A Beautiful Mind stuff going on there.
I love how this show hits all my 70s cops buttons, especially my 70s slashy cops buttons, but still gives me so much to chew over later, like Sam's heartbreaking sililoquay over football hooliganism or the death of the factory, or just whether or not Sam is where he thinks he is, and who he thinks he is, and all the clues that can be neatly assembled for either case. Clever, cheeky, smashing show.
That said, I've been a long time fan of Philip Glenister's, and, oh my, how hot does John Simm look in the gear, eh? Sizzle, sizzle.
They aren't just playing my type and hitting all my buttons, they're bouncing up and down on them like a bloody bouncy castle. I love this show so much. It is perfect, it's everything I ever wanted. Time travel, mystery, alternate realities, mind fucks, history, issues, angst, groovy music, nostalgia, 70s coppers, fast cars, cardboard boxes, buddies, dollops of slash and sexy men, and that's just for starters. Finally, a show that is an absolute perfect fit, a perfect mesh of everything I've ever loved. No wonder I'm insanely addicted, when it hammers my pleasure centrees so hard. Give me more Life on Mars. And now, dammit. Arrgh, don't make me wait until October for the dvd. That's cruel and inhumane.
And SFX could at least give me some posters and articles, but I've alrady dashed off a terse email to the editor to that effect. Hmph. Give me eye candy. Now.
At least I can read the forums (ah, the beauty of watching a show close to the actual screening times, and having the websites still extant and active) and discover all the little details I'd missed, all the in jokes and all the theories. Certainly it helps having 1973 Manchester explained, because a lot of that stuff is going straight over my head. Not that I mind. There's always pretty Sam and sexy Gene to look at.
Back on the props, there was a thread about how the phone in the pub was too late for the period, and it was accused of being an 80s phone, and thus evidence of Sam's delusion. I saw Jack Regan use one in The Sweeney in 1975 the other night, so that's near enough. Could be just a mistake. Or maybe not. Nelson did drop his accent last episode. Strange, this show, really strange. And what a magnificent dodge, that every dubious prop is really proof of Sam's insanity. I have noticed that Sam takes personal phonecalls from unplugged phones, and phones no one else can hear ringing. Further proof that Sam's as mad as a hatter?
Heh, maybe it's all of the above. Sam is nuts, is in the present and in the past. Things do shift and are out of kilter, because either Sam or something else is playing with reality.
And then I just want to watch Sam and Gene roar down an alley in the old Cortina, and I realise again just how much I love this show. It was love at first sight.
Sexy? Pete's a mess
Shockwaves NME Awards 2006 – Outside Arrivals
Shockwaves NME Awards 2006 – Press Room
Shockwaves NME Awards 2006 – Show
Still in love with Austin's powers