williamjm: (Default)
[personal profile] williamjm
I watched the series finale of Ashes To Ashes tonight. I'd been busy for a few Fridays in a row so had the last 5 episodes recorded which I watched over the last week. A few days ago I was discussing how few shows seem to end on an entirely satisfying note, regardless of whether they are cancelled (Flash Forward, to take another example from this week) or come to a supposedly planned conclusion (see Battlestar Galactica), so I'm quite happy that it has such a good ending. I am really quite impressed with the ending, it makes sense not just of the final season's story arc but the whole 5 years of Life On Mars/Ashes To Ashes and has plenty of connections even back to the first season of Life on Mars. Of course, it doesn't explain everything but I think there is sufficient explanation of the basic premise and there are some things (like what happens to most of the characters after the end of the episode) that shouldn't be explained and there is a limit to how much you can explain a show with such a fantastical premise. It might leave a couple of plot holes here and there but nothing too major.

I like it more than the series finale of Life On Mars which wasn't a bad ending, but I didn't find that the LoM ending either really explained anything (it took the sequel series to really clarify what happened) or was satisfying in terms of theme or storylines (I don't think the last episode really did enough to justify why Sam did what he did), although at least it sounds better than the ending of the US remake of Life on Mars which does sound comically bad. By contrast, I thought that AtA's ending was a satisfying end to the story arcs of all five main characters, I heard someone describe the ending as being "sad but strangely beautiful" and I think that's quite an apt description.

Overall I thought the third season of AtA was perhaps the strongest. I wasn't too keen on the first season of AtA, whilst I had really liked Life On Mars (I'd say it was one of my favourite shows of the last decade), I didn't feel the scriptwriters really wrote the main character correctly in the first season of AtA. With such a superficially absurd premise there is a very difficult balancing act between acknowledging how fantastical the premise is and not taking it seriously enough to make the story interesting. I think the first season suffered from Alex's character not taking the world seriously (she even remarks on this in the penultimate episode of the show) which hurts the show because the police-case-of-the-week has to be approached with at least a certain amount of seriousness or it is difficult to care about that part of the show. I thought the second season was better written and the third similarly good. Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes did have some of the most memorable characters of recent TV series (helped by some great acting, particularly from Phil Glenister), many entertaining plotlines and a great soundtrack. Hopefully there will be another series as good coming along sometime, although there might be a bit of a wait.
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williamjm: (Default)

April 2012

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