Customer Reviews


143 Reviews
5 star:
 (97)
4 star:
 (24)
3 star:
 (11)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (6)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We are coppers, not spies...Look at us Tinker , Tailor, Soldier T**t"
Where Life On Mars garnered an across the board positive critical reception Ashes To Ashes has had a more mixed reception. Obviously the concept is not as fresh this time around and the whole series has a slightly contrived ambience to it. For instance even taking into account it's a series with a fantastical element what are the chances of Gene Hunt (Philip Glennister)...
Published on 6 May 2008 by russell clarke

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars average
was okay but I didn't get what everyone raved about. I've seen much better television series than this. I suppose if you have nothing better to do.........
Published 22 months ago by Ms. Helen Jennings


‹ Previous | 1 215 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We are coppers, not spies...Look at us Tinker , Tailor, Soldier T**t", 6 May 2008
By 
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Where Life On Mars garnered an across the board positive critical reception Ashes To Ashes has had a more mixed reception. Obviously the concept is not as fresh this time around and the whole series has a slightly contrived ambience to it. For instance even taking into account it's a series with a fantastical element what are the chances of Gene Hunt (Philip Glennister) ,Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster) and Ray Carling (Dean Andrews) all transferring from London to Manchester at the same time? Still willing suspension of disbelief is required with this series so what the hell.

The central concept is that police psychologist Alex Drake(Keeley Hawes) who is tied into the series having worked on Sam Tyler's case is shot in 2008 and wakes up in 1981 to find the same principal characters that invaded Sam,s world existing in hers. The "imaginary constructs" as she calls them must also aid her in that old sci-fi staple of changing the past in order to influence the future. In this case Drake wants to prevent her parents becoming victims of a car bombing -a consequence of their involvement in civil rights campaigning and as defence lawyers.

Mixed up with this is lots of stuff about Drake questioning her parents commitment to her with their busy professional life,s, her relationship with her uncle and her burgeoning fractious relationship with Gene Hunt. Not to mention her motherly feelings for young policewoman Shaz Granger( Montserrat Lombard)who is a kind of surrogate daughter for the one left behind in 2008.Then there is the clown from the Bowie video haunting her dreams and more worryingly her waking moments as well.

The series takes time to get going and too often the writers resort to having Hunt and co run around spouting pithy one liners- though admittedly some of these are very good. DI Drake,s awareness of her predicament also means we miss the air of bewilderment from Sam Tyler that made Life On Mars so enjoyable. The will they ,won,t they thing between Hunt and Drake is wearily predictable but thankfully is not consummated and although the series hints at the socio-political climate of 1981 ( The Blitz club scene , homophobia, the anti-nuclear movement, Princess Di,s wedding ) it too often relies on it's soundtrack to give it a period feel -often using music from the wrong era rather annoyingly. The one time it tackles the times head on is the last episode with Geoffrey Palmer playing Lord Scarman and it,s no coincidence that this is the finest episode of the series , though the electrifyingly tense and emotional conclusion to Drakes obsession with her parents death helps tremendously as well.

Keeley Hawes has come in for some stick for her portrayal of Alex Drake and it is true that she relies on her luscious pout a little too much but I feel she does invest the character with some depth and handles the big scenes well. The rest of the cast are excellent with Amelia Bullmore as Alex's mother especially good and there are some choice lines -usually from Gene Hunt though Ray Carling gets a few as well .

The DVD has audio commentary from Keeley Hawes and the shows producers for episodes one and two(Why not the whole series?), a making of documentary , a set tour and outtake scenes. Compared to Life On Mars Ashes To Ashes suffers , but take it on it,s own merits and it,s an entertaining series that gradually gets better and ends with a genuinely edgy and affecting finale. It will be interesting to see how the writers approach the dilemma of how to get Alex Drake back to 2008 for if she was sent back to 1981 to solve the mystery of her parents death then what is there left for her to do?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A ropey start, but soon becomes compelling television, 2 July 2009
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In 2008, DI Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) is a police psychologist based in London who is planning to write a book about the criminal mind. She is intrigued when she is forwarded a batch of reports from a Manchester copper named Sam Tyler, who fell into a coma after a car accident and experienced what appears to be a vivid hallucination about going back in time to 1973. Drake is fascinated by the world that he apparently created in his own mind. So, when her own encounter with a gun-wielding criminal goes wrong and she is shot, when she wakes up in 1981 and almost immediately meets DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) and his constant sidekicks DS Ray Carling and DC Chris Skelton, she immediately knows what the game is and the rules are.

100% convinced she has created this world in her own mind after slipping into a coma like Sam's, Alex sets about trying to find out what it is she needs to do to wake up. Realising it is only a few weeks before the deaths of her parents in a car bombing incident, she convinces herself if she can save them, she can save herself. But Alex's situation is different, she's not getting any messages from the beyond like Sam was, and her hallucinations (about a clown) seem to be very different. So what is going on this time around?

The notion of Life on Mars having a sequel/spin-off series, especially after its finale seemed to answer the outstanding questions (or at least given the viewer some very strong clues as to what was happening) from that series, always seemed a bit weird. When the premise was announced, the uneasiness settled in. Was it just going to be a cheap rehash of Life on Mars but in the 1980s rather than the 1970s and with a female lead instead of Sam? These fears seem justified by the first two episodes of the first season of Ashes to Ashes. Unlike the perpetually confused Sam, Alex Drake immediately cottons on to the 'game' and rather smugly thinks she knows an explanation for everything that is happening. It has to be said that a smug hero isn't the most likable of characters, and in these opening episodes Alex is very tedious. Also, the writers seem to have forgotten some of the basics of Gene's character, and he is uncharacteristically passive as the series opens and his new DI starts going a bit loopy.

Luckily, things pick up a lot in the third episode after Alex has had the wind knocked out of her sails a few times and the mystery elements of the show kick in. We start to see less of a pastiche of Life on Mars and more of an intelligent evolution of the premise. The characters of Gene, Ray and Chris have moved on somewhat since the 1970s, presumably thanks to Sam's influence, and the 1980s' own issues start to be explored in an intelligent manner, from the shifting attitudes to sexuality to the music of the era and various characters' amazement at cutting-edge technology such as Space Invaders and Betamax. The arc story is also stronger than the two in Life on Mars, with Alex's attempts to avert her parents' deaths lead her to inserting herself into their lives and learning some secrets that perhaps were better left buried. The writers also rediscover Gene Hunt's voice around episode three, and the classic lines and the wince-inducing bull-in-a-china-shop approach to policing are soon front and centre, as they should be. There's also a highly amusing bit of sexual tension between the two characters as well.

The remaining episodes are very strong, the music is excellent, the characters are developed nicely and the denouncement in the final two episodes is compelling. In particular, the rules of the game that Life on Mars laid down and Alex has been following seem to be shattered by the events in the final episode. What really is going on? With two seasons to go after this one it'll be a while before we find out, but after a very shaky start, Ashes to Ashes hints that the answer could be stranger but more interesting than we first thought.

Ashes to Ashes, Season 1 (***½) takes a while to get going, but once it does it becomes a worthy continuation and successor to its parent series. It is available now on DVD in the UK. A US release is planned for 2010. Season 2 will be released on DVD in the UK in a couple of weeks.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive and sexy, 13 July 2008
Life on mars was fantastic already. I did not get hooked by the first Ashes to Ashes episode but kept watching and got to really love it. Maybe it is because I can relate more to the 80s than the 70s, everytime music starts in ashes to ashes I was going like Uuh I remember that, the same with the fashion and details. The series is perfectly produced and the actors are great. I like how Chris and Ray have developed. And, quite frankly, Gene Hunt becomes one of the most sexiest characters on TV ..... Fire up the Quattro..... Now Bollinger Knickers you can either punch me or kiss me ..... Gene Hunt Chapter 1, Verse 2 .... - just a few of the utterly un-PC scruffy quotes by Gene Hunt. Of course, the female lead, Keeley Hawes, is great too and carries her part tremendously. Ashes to Ashes is very recommendable, either if you know Life on Mars or you dont, Ashes to Ashes stands for itself as well as it does as a follow up.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars its goooooooooooood......, 26 Dec 2009
Everyone is aware that is not life on mars and this series is quite short of what life on mars was. However, the direction that this show took the whole franchise into was very sensible. Gene Hunt is somewhat toned down due to the changes he had experienced in his personal life, the police force and his country's state. If he had continued in the manner we had saw in the previous series, he would have quickly became some tiresome novelty act. The characters of Ray and Chris were developed more-so which gives the show a whole new dimension of interest. Many will say they find the performance of keeley hawes in this particular series annoying and snobish, but i think this is simply the result of good acting and a strong portrayl of the character, which is what the writers were trying to acheive. Alex Drake is not Sam Tyler, both have different personalities and come from different backgrounds which, in a a sense, is more interesting to watch. The relationship between Hunt and Drake is compelling as both are almost complete opposites and there is also a tension which lingers as they are opposite sexes. Anyway, overall, some parts of this series are very good, the last episode in particular, and also many are not so good which i think s the result of a rush job. The second series of this show far surpasses this, but ths series was solely for helping the show find its feet. It's still entertaining, nobody can say its not, and those who cannot help but rubbish it in comparison to life on mars are rather deluded in my opinion. Apart from references made about sam tyler on rare occasions, this show is now one in its own right and name. Early episodes are undeniably dissapointing but from the last episode onwards into the second series it has become the most gripping thing on british TV. So yeah, its the best thing on TV when its on, i think its worth a watch, if you do not like this i would still strongly reccomend wathcing the second series, which wont dissapoint. Enjoy, if you can...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Manc Lion Returns with a Roar, 9 Jun 2008
By 
Mrs. Ann M. Dawson (Rossendale, Lancs.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
After much anticipation the Manc Lion returned. The Gene Genie returned more mature and more laid back. Philip Glenister's on screen chemistry with Keeley Hawes works well, and the storylines have been excellent - and Gene's one-liners have been up to scratch from "Life on Mars". The music has been brilliant and the DVD is now well watched. I look forward to the next and final series with bated breath. Just keep up the good work, writers, actors and BBC.

Thanks for a very good spin off series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh start, old favourites, 14 Aug 2009
By 
J. L. Tompsett-ince (Bangor, Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Despite reservations that the series was only given life because of the success of Life of Mars, Ashes to Ashes stands on its own two feet as a fantastic police drama.

The story blends gentle science fiction expected of Hollywood blockbusters with the classic police dramas that Britain seems so well at churning out. The dialogue is realistic and never overhammed, but still manages to pull in the laughs at the right opportunities. The character interplay is fantastic and as opposed to the series that came bofore they develop some real growth.

Clearly anyone a fan of Life of Mars should invest in this series and anyone who come across this series afresh I recommend you approach with an open mind.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hangover Cure, 23 Mar 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As a big fan of Life on Mars I was a bit apprehensive about watching this series. The reviews on Amazon persuaded me to give it a go and so glad I did. So thanks to all the other reviewers. I watched the first two episodes at 04.30 hrs on a Sunday morning whilst suffering from the mother of all hangovers. Despite this I laughed out loud frequently and got totally immersed in the story line. If this show does not win awards there's no justice. The Gene Genie is back on top form and his two laurel and hardy type sidekicks Chris and Raymondo are also brilliant. But for me as a bloke it's Keeley Hawes who steals the show, Gorgeous and a brilliant actress mmm. I miss Annie and Phylis from LoM but otherwise I think they have done the impossible and surpassed the earlier series whilst retaining the timeslip theme. It's also surprising when you see "period" scenes or items that you had almost forgotten about or thought were more recent than 1981. Surely the Audi Quatro is not 28 years old? your mind can sure play tricks with memories. I cannot rate this show highly enough, 10 stars if that were possible. If you are reading this or any of the other reviews your already on your way to a great time. Just get online and buy it! You wont regret it. Roll on series two. Can I get my order in now?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let's do the time warp again - 80s style, 11 Oct 2009
By 
Star_Sea "Xing" (Salisbury, England) - See all my reviews
It is very tempting to compare "Ashes to Ashes" to "Life On Mars" but while the premise is the same and it has some of the same characters, it IS a different series. Although the writing is a bit weak during the first few episodes, the characters develop as the story goes on.

After being shot by a suspect, DI Alex Drake awakes to find herself in 1981 and working with Gene Hunt, Ray Carling and Chris Skelton... characters from the coma fantasy of the late Sam Tyler. Convinced that this is nothing more than an unconscious fantasy, Drake is by turns flippant and furious, emotional then dispassionate as she struggles to get back to her daughter. Some viewers may find her irritating and smug, though I found her realistic. Both Gene and Alex are frustrated by each other's personalities and styles, but they do manage to develop a grudging respect. But why has Alex gone back to 1981, the year of her parents' death? If she saves them, will she save herself? And what is the significance of the clown that terrorises her dreams? As she and the viewer discover more and more about what was really happening with her parents, the series builds to an emotional and shocking climax.

Extras include episode commentaries by the series creators, as well as fact finders and galleries.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life on Venus?, 22 Aug 2008
By 
Mr. Stephen Kennedy "skenn1701a" (Doha, Qatar) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Quite simply, if you liked Life on Mars, there is no reason you should not like this. Yes, there are quibbles, and Sam Tyler is sorely missed - but the writers have managed something quite rare, in managing to keep life in the premise, keeping what worked, and yet injecting something new.
So what's new? This time, a woman - DI Drake - is the main character, as she was Sam's psychologist and therefore knows this world completely. When something happens to her, she finds herself immersed in it, with the characters we came to love in Life on Mars. However, this time it's the 80's, and as well conceived as the 70's was in Life on Mars, the 80's and 80's TV cop series conventions seem even more vivid here.
It takes a couple of episodes to get into gear, as Keeley Hawes struggles to fill the gap left by Sam Tyler. She is never as compelling as John Simm was as Sam Tyler, but does get into a groove, particularly in the chemistry with Gene Hunt.
And it's Gene Hunt that is really the star of the show... in the `70's he was in his hey day, here, the 80's bring the beginning of political correctness, and this makes for many of the more interesting scenes, the clash of Hunt versus pc-ness. The script and its wonderful one-liners that todays cops could never get away with are just so worth tuning in for. In fact, in this series it would be fair to say that all the characters get more of a chance to shine.. kudos to the scripwriters.
Don't make the same mistake I did though and think this was going to be the whole thing - this is only season 1, so not all story threads get wrapped up here! I for one will be keeping my eyes peeled for season 2...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sweeny meets totp 80's style, 10 Aug 2009
By 
Philip A. Thorley (Lanc`s England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Tv at its best, unlike many tv series this one is bang up to date but not. old values still ring right today, good story lines bring this series to all generations. 80's tunes in the background an amazing underlying story in each episode makes you want to watch more. well acted and filmed, a must see series for any person...great entertainment.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 215 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Ashes to Ashes - BBC Series 1 (New Packaging) [DVD]
£6.75
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews