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Doctor Who: The Rebel Flesh (Review)

I love Matthew Graham. After all, the writer who gave us Life on Mars is surely something of a British national treasure. however, his track record on Doctor Who seems just a little bit spottier, with his previous contribution being the somewhat… poorly received Fear Her way back at the end of the second season. So, perhaps giving Graham a two-parter, especially the two-parter directly before the cliffhanger before the break in the season might have seemed like a bit of a gambit. Fortunately, The Rebel Flesh is a much stronger entry than Fear Her, even if it’s not quite as spectacular as last week’s episode.

Flesh and bone?

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Life on Mars USA

Well, that was… weird. I seem to be the only person on the planet with love for the American iteration of Life On Mars. It got a lot of hate for being too conventional, for not being as ‘out there’ as its British predecessor and basically being unoriginal. And I can appreciate those critiques having watching the first season – they are all relatively fair. On the other hand, isn’t it a little unfair to measure it directly to the original series, like comparing apples and oranges? New York of the 1970s was a very different place from Manchester of the 1970s and the new series had its own aesthetic. I won’t pretend that the show was a masterpiece of television history, but I do think that Life on Mars certainly deserved a second season.

Is there life AFTER Mars?

Note: It seems impossible to discuss a show like this without discussing the (incredibly divisive) ending. I will be doing that, in gory detail, below. However, as per usual, I will flag it a paragraph or two beforehand, so you can avert your eyes or navigate away or do whatever you need to do. Consider yourself forewarned.

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In Defense of “One Season Wonders”…

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, what with the US version of Life on Mars ending on FX over the weekend and the rumours that Caprica doesn’t have strong enough ratings to secure a second season. We live in what is increasingly the era of “one season wonders” – television shows that are lucky to get a full season (or maybe a full season and a half) before being unceremoniously dumped from the schedule. It’s easy to look at shows like Firefly and Dollhouse and bemoan executives unwilling to take a chance with edge material, but part of me thinks it might really be for these best. Although maybe I’m trying to put a good spin on a bad situation.

The network may nuke Caprica early...

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My Top Ten Shows of the Decade

Yep, it’s retrospective time. I’ve done my top 50 movies of the past ten years, so it’s time for me to reflect on my top 10 television shows of the 00s. Prepare to be awed and mazed, shocked and astounded, angered and enraged, by the inclusions (and omissions) from my list. The good folks over at Television Without Pity included their favourite episode in each choice, so I think I’m going to run with that idea.

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Ashes to Ashes, Funky to Funky…

Caught the finale of Ashes to Ashes on the Beeb last night. It was actually quite good, all told – though it did end on the twist that I had predicted erroneously that Life on Mars would end on. Still, though the second series was a vast improvement over the first, I couldn’t help but think that Ashes to Ashes remained in the shadow of Life on Mars throughout its run. It was solidly entertaining television and one of a handful of shows I’d watch week-in and week-out, but it wasn’t really spectacular. And it had so much potential…

Here come the fashion police...

Here come the fashion police...

Update: Apparently Ashes to Ashes is to have a three-season run, confirmed by Philip Glenister on BBC Breakfast yesterday, so this article is rather premature. I’m not sure if this changes how I feel about that  brilliant  final scene, but I’ll be tuning in…

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