Categorised | UK TV reviews

Spiked accuses Life on Mars of missing the point, while simultaneously missing the point

Posted on February 16, 2006 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Spiked has posted another of its rubbish TV reviews. This time, in its usual “Argument Sketch” style (“This isn't an argument. You're just contradicting everything I say”), it accuses Life on Mars of missing the point of The Sweeney. I would do my normal rant but I thought I'd be disciplined and restrict myself to a few comments

  1. The writer assumes the creators of Life on Mars are as anal about The Sweeney as he is and are actually critiquing particular episodes. They aren't.
  2. He assumes Life on Mars is intended to demonstrate how Neanderthal The Sweeney's characters were. It isn't. It's partly designed to demonstrate that certain aspects of policing (and life) have justifiably moved on. Mostly it's just about having a laugh and enjoying car chases (seriously, its entire premise was based on a whiteboard with “70s cop. Ford Granada” written on it).
  3. He thinks that we're not supposed to learn anything from the 70s characters, only look down at them. Clearly, he hasn't been watching. One of the subtler themes, reiterated in every episode is that clinical future cop DI Sam Tyler is supposed to learn gut instinct and a proper understanding of people from his 70s counterparts, among other things.

I also take issue with this statement, written by someone with no understanding of televisual history:

Britain in the 1970s was a tense, edgy and often violent and volatile place. No other TV programme reverberated with this same crackling aggression (and, curiously for a cop show, class anger) as did The Sweeney.

Hmm. He clearly never watched Special Branch, Callan or The Professionals, if he thinks The Sweeney was an isolated incident. Special Branch in particular was invented purely to be a show even more violent than The Sweeney.

Still, what was I expecting from Spiked? It's not like they know anything there. Must stop reading it...

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