Monday, September 25, 2006

Life on Mars

Have not many of us been one step away from being permemently esconced in rubber rooms. I know in my last period of mental derangement I looked at corkboards for entertainment. It has been described as walking dreams, difficulty as always in dreams is separate the "real" reality and reality your mind has constructed.

Sam Tyler is a cop, a DCI in Manchester. He is a on the murder squad. He the very model of the modern policeman. He is a stiff. He is by the book following ever tittle and jot of regulations. He suspends his girlfriend from an investigation because she is beginning to "lose her objectivity" That is now. Then Sam Tyler ends up in the past in the '70's, where he also has a identity of a cop. He is back working in the same building as a DI. He back in the past filled with violent, racist cops. The series is a stranger in a strange land working as a cop.

We forget how CSI would be science-fiction not that far in the past. In CSI the one part of a city police departmant is able to do things that only well funded national organizations. At one point in the first episode Sam is told that the it will take two weeks to get a fingerprint match back from London. Without computerization fingerprint matching is long, tedious and expensive in money and manpower. DNA may have been known but DNA matching as a diognostic or forensic tool took a long time to develop.

There is a question about where is Sam. Is the entire series taking place in the past. Is the everythimg just a figment of a brian in shutdown. In the recent Sopranos series Tony was in an alternative timeline where he was a computer salesman. In those episodes there was no doubt that Tony was in a coma. In Mars there is enough doubt that either places, 2006 or 1973 is in some ways a figment of imagination. This was similarly handled in Star Trek DS9 in Far Beyond The Stars, where Benjamin Sisko ended up in the past as Benny Russel who's only connection to "reality" is the sci fi stories he writes about a space station. In the end he believes so fervently in his DS9 life that he is commited. As Benny/Benjamin is taken away on the disoriented express he is told that he is the dreamer and dream. After watching the entire first series I am still unclear what is the reality and what is the dream.

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