Brilliant, I thought, until I found myself drowning in a despairing pit of too much Sam/Annie, new characters upsetting the dynamic and new conspiracy theories (over egging the pud, just a bit) and it just didn't seem quite right. But worst of all was the overwhelming AnnieSue, described, quite rightly by a friend as looming large over Manchester like a corduroy clad collossus, stamping on all before her.
They lost me, they really did, and I was deep into sulky pouty mode, considering storming the battlements, howling from the cliff tops or at the very least sharpening my pencil and dashing off a very stern letter to The Times re the complete lack of male bonding in grim Manchester pubs, as promised, when towards the end of episode two something changed, the episode finally snapped into focus, and there was my Sam and Gene, in the pub, giving each other the eye. At last. Saved by the bell, just about.
I'm not sure about this whole new angle on Sam's situation re the voice from Hyde, but at least we can add paranoid delusions to Sam's quiver of possible dysfunction as now the voices are actually telling him to do things, though now that I think upon it, there was a lot of that last season, too, but it was more fight the good fight, win one for the Gipper kind of thing than anything quite so sinsister as we have here, though TPG was the nasty little imp on Sam's shoulder telling him to lie down and die, now that I think about that, too. But it is the first time Sam's actually had a conversation with one of his voices, TPG aside.
So, Sam has an Al now? A shadowy mission controller at the end of the line? So, is Sam mad, some sort of Sapphire and Steel time agent (who may or may not have gone mad) or merely from the ghost squad (and ditto, btw, see Jason Flemyng in Ghost Squad for an idea of what I'm getting at here, and a brilliant little turn it was, too).
I kinda like the idea of the whole Ghost Squad angle (and see how I don't mention The Scruffy One), but another impish crackpot theory occured at the bus stop, that the Sam Tyler from Hyde is buried in a shallow grave somewhere in that wasteland near the future Mancunian Way and that our guy, either a Bad Cop or Loose Nutter, has taken over Sam's life, after having being bonked on the head and woken up confused. Not that the text supports the idea, but there's just enough meat there for a plot bunny to feast on, I reckon.
Then again it could be a Harsh Realm set up, which really, really, really fits with the clues so far (coma and alternate reality). Yikes.
But if it was Sapphire and Steel, I'd giggle, because while the fic I'm working on has nowt to do with S&S, it's so all about the David McCallum. Trust me on this.
Okay, so loathing the Sam/Annie, simply because I can't see the chemistry and she thinks he's a nutter and Sam isn't exactly big with the wooing, and, yeah, okay, because it's not my OTP, okay. I think the mentors, though there only to serve the plot, as I learnt to my relief, played merry hell with the Sam & Gene, which is why I watch, for the S&G, so I was not happy. And it doesn't have to be Sam/Gene, of the heavy looks, either. Just Sam & Gene trading insults and punches works plenty fine for me.
So, glad to see the superfluous characters sent from the field, though I was bemused at the all sons must kill their fathers line. What a great idea for a fic. No wait, kinda did that - grin. And I was right, Gene is a shoot first kinda guy. He's that kind of Sheriff. Of course he is. How could I ever think different.
I think they wasted the long awaited for masked guys in a van with shooters moment, though, imho, and, in my experience, I'm not sure how Gene could have thrown Sam in the boot like that. I mean, cute, but every guy I ever knew who drove a big ol 70s car (and to my distress, there were quite a few as I totted them up absently), all their boots were absolutely chockas with crap, so I now have this image of Gene having hold of Sam with one hand, while trying to empty out the boot with the other.
Gene really, really needs to stop walking around with his thumbs stuck in his belt and I'm not sure about all the Morecombe and Wise references. Certainly they were actually in an episode of The Sweeney, saving the world from internaional terrorism with, well, fish (really). It's not a favourite episode of The Sweeney for me, and I'd rank it highly as a jumping the shark moment had not the Diana Dors episode preceded it.
Whatever the case, there was certainly an aquatic odour about the first new episode of LOM, and I don't just mean the fish tank. Btw, nice try on the accent, Marc, but. Oh well, no one can wear animal pelts like Marc.
Someone on TRA pointed out Sam's Moment of Truth/Van Helsing turn with the badge. Such a classic image (and if only he'd tried that the first time a speeding car had him in its sights - grin). It reminded me of that Dr Who episode where the young soldier takes faith from his badge and wards off the nasties. So, Sam's warrant card is a symbol of his faith? Interesting. Predictable, but interesting.
And is Gene saving Crazy Sam's bacon again with the insanity clause bail out? Deliciously hard to tell.
But I loved the pub bit at the end. And Gene bursting through Sam's door. And the way Sam pulled Chris away from the trannie. And the way Sam cracked a smile at the sheep jokes in private after being all stern and disapproving to the lads. And Gene telling Sam to "try and look hard for once in your life". And the way Sam never did give a definitive answer on whether he was a poof or not (smirk). And the way Gene dismissed Sam's hangups as nothing compared to his hangovers.
But overall, it's not quite the Life on Mars I remembered. I read they had less of a budget, and it shows, alas. Episode two was far better than one, so that's something. But more Sam and Gene. It's a cop buddy show, so make with the cop buddies, 'kay?
So I watched Life on Mars. Watched House in several stages (got interrupted more times than I can count, you've no idea how many times I had to ff through that rat being sliced up) and wallowed in Heroes, or rather Peter Petrelli doing the whole Princess Di coquettish gaze up under the fringe thing. Oh, Pete, you soppy, foppy clueless little boy (and was that subliminal Milo in the trailer for that Rocky film? Why yes, I think it was - good grief).
Oh, so much for racing home tonight (this time, fer sure) to get that blasted newsletter posted. Not only am I drowning in work (oh, if you could see the newspaper headlines), but there's a big ol' storm and I'm afraid I'm twitchy about using Dell Boy in a storm (especially as he's been so uncharacteristically crash happy of late - I swear its a fiendish Microsoft plot to make me upgrade).
Still mizzling over missing all the theatre, galleries and museums I had so wanted to see. Talk about suffering for the sins of one's fathers, grandfathers, etc. Right now I really feel like dangling myself off the ornate sandstone balcony currently lurking a metre or so to my left, still feeling somewhat sulky over my cancelled leave and acutely distressed over a severe lack of UKTGM, suffering a severe Marianne Faithfull moment.
Well, you know what they say: only pop music can save me now.
The Ghost Squad
The Ghost Squad
Sapphire & Steel
TV program delays 'turning viewers into pirates'
Are you a TV show pirate?
Britons simply can't resist the lure of pleasure in Blackpool
Queen Elizabeth 2 Sails Into Sydney Harbour - February 20, 2007
Freeze 'condemned Neanderthals'
Marianne Faithfull - Ballad of Lucy Jordan
Black Hawks QUIET down!
Kaiser Chiefs - Everyday I Love You Less And Less