The follow up to the brilliant Life On Mars, Ashes To Ashes has managed to outlive its predecessor while having roughly the same level of love for the time it is set in while still showing its bad points. They managed to do this by taking as long as they needed to clear the story up, which is evidently three seasons’ worth of story.
Tomorrow evening will be the end of an era. Yes, the day will finally come when we no longer see Gene Hunt’s brand of misogyny and light prejudice. However, as seen with the recent Labour and Tory posters, I feel that the viewers have somewhat missed the point of Gene Hunt’s character. When he started out, he was a character who was supposed to be respected begrudgingly, to show how policing styles of today contrast with the early 70’s. The public have somehow come to love him, as shown by his character growing progressively more awesome as the show moves on, with lots of bad-ass one liners and a large amount of tyre-squealing, gun wielding fun.
By the end of tomorrow’s episode, we should have found out exactly who Gene Hunt is, what Alex is doing with him and all the plot threads that are hanging at the moment should’ve been cleared up. All of this had better be cleared to the fan’s satisfaction, as they have one hour to do it in. The problem with this is that the trailer shown at the end of last Friday’s episode doesn’t seem to come close to clearing it all up. Mind you, I suppose they couldn’t show us a lot if the alternative would spoil the show for us.
For all that viewers may have missed the point of Hunt’s character, it’s not actually a bad show. Yes, the opening narration for the first two seasons verges on boring, but they’ve trimmed it down to shorter than Life On Mars’ narration for the final season, which is a blessing.
Conspiracy seems to be the order of the day, because where the arc question for Life On Mars is “How do I get home?”, the arc questions (for there are many) seem to be “What’s wrong with this world and how can I fix it?”. Whereas Sam Tyler’s motive was to get home, that is now an afterthought (in at least the third series) for Alex Drake, the protagonist for Ashes To Ashes. This is another example of how brilliant the shows are at portraying the differences in mindset between the two, as the shows take place in their respective minds and the details within are examples of how they think.
I do like how the characters were developed further in Ashes To Ashes, as they didn’t have much time to work on giving each character a day in the spotlight in Life On Mars; in a way all the characterisation has built to what is coming tomorrow.
Unless they utterly destroy the character of Hunt in the last episode, I suspect that he’ll be back with a spin-off along the lines of Starsky and Hutch. One Man And His Quattro? Could that work? If they don’t bring him back (and the actor has said that this is his last time as Gene Hunt) then on the part of this blogger at least, he will be missed.