Review: Ashes to Ashes 1×5

Did I miss anything?


Well, folks, I did say there was going to be a chance I did episode by episode reviews of Ashes to Ashes and here I am, not doing a review of the fifth episode of Ashes to Ashes. Sorry, I had to go pick my wife up from the station midway through and I haven’t watched the end of it yet.

More to the point, I’ve had every chance to but I haven’t. I haven’t felt motivated. Last night’s seemed quite well written, like the writer (who also wrote last week’s) knew what he was doing. I just didn’t really enjoy it, right up until the moment I turned off the telly.

I’m trying to work out what the problem is with Ashes to Ashes. Why is it just not very interesting?

There are various possibilities that I’ve turned up, so far:

  1. It’s just not fun. Well, it’s not. There’s no fun in it at all. At best, it’s stupid.
  2. There’s no real draw like there was in Life on Mars. Is she dead? Isn’t she? I don’t really care because they’re not dribbling out information quickly enough.
  3. There’s no real interaction with the clown, whereas the little testcard girl was more scary for actually talking to Sam
  4. I can’t really relate to the whole "parents were car-bombed" thing.
  5. I’m just not interested in Alex

I’m not sure whether any of them really are the problem. The last one’s tricky. The more I try to pick apart my Alex dislike, the more I can’t seem to work out why I dislike her. I’ve been trying to work out if I’m a secret sexist discriminating against someone who’s pretty much like Sam Tyler except for a few crucial differences. Is it because 

  1. She’s a woman?
  2. She’s a posh woman?
  3. She’s a posh, arrogant woman?
  4. She’s a posh, arrogant woman who tells everyone that she was better than them?

And yet, she’s not a million miles from DI Rosie Campbell in The Paradise Club, who I was very partial to, despite her being a posh, arrogant woman who told everyone that she was better than them quite a lot of the time. So it’s none of those. 

Maybe it’s the ultimate sin as far as an English person is concerned: taking herself too seriously, something our Rosie didn’t seem to have a problem with. Or maybe it’s an even worse sin: being Keeley Hawes. I just don’t know. It’s starting to feel increasingly irrational, particularly since Alex Drake is seemingly a more interesting character than Sam Tyler. 

Either way, despite the fact the writing’s been picking up, I’m just not feeling motivated to watch next week’s episode. Or to find out how this week’s finished even. Oh well.

PS Couldn’t work out from the first half whether my theory was holding up all right. Can anyone name the TV show it was mocking or am I going to have to toss the theory in the bin with all my other theories, as per usual?

  • Craig Grannell

    Well, having sat through the first three episodes, we decided we can’t be bothered with it, and just wiped the last two off the Toppy. Life’s too short to sit through boring crap week after week.

  • I head a suggestion the other day that the reason Alex is less popular than Sam is that she’s exactly the kind of person who’d have been one of the mega-popular bitches at school and that’s exactly the wrong kind of person to be the POV character for any geeky types watching.
    Personally I think that much of the problem with AtoA is that the 80s just aren’t far enough away from the modern Police for there to be any major culture clash – and without that there’s no sense of character growth.
    So it ends up being just another show about someone with parental issues and/or just another cop show.
    We’re only watching it now for the occasional Gene Jenie one-liner and in hopes that Sam and Annie will re-appear…

  • MediumRob

    I’d go along with most of that. Although this is supposed to be 1981, which was pre-PACE and Operation Countryman so there’s still a whole load of things they could have done. I think the problem is that most of those things were pretty well mined in Life on Mars

  • Even better – Countryman was taking place in 1981 so they could have had Alex interacting with that enquiry whilst knowing how it would end up.

  • I’ve read somewhere that both Countryman and Scarman are going to be referenced in AtoA.

  • MediumRob

    I’d heard that the Ashes to Ashes was going to show Gene and co working in an atmosphere coloured by the Scarman report, but not that it was going to be specifically referenced. Hadn’t heard anything about Countryman making it in.

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