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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant series that improved on second viewing., 28 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Ashes to Ashes - Complete BBC Series 1-3 (New Packaging) [DVD] (DVD)
A great box set to complete the Life on Mars collection. I bought this after a bout of illness left me settee bound for a week and I discovered Netflix. However,i prefer the 'ownership' model for those things I consider to be true classics. And this is one of them. The acting is superb despite the Keeley Hawes naysayers. In fact she's as good in this as she is in the recent Line of Duty series. I think she suffered from the problem of following the excellent John Simm and the criticism she took (for which Glenister defended her) was unjust and generally the mewling noises of people who's knives were already sharpened. The first series very much follows the pattern from Life on Mars, as Alex Drake takes a bullet and finds herself in 1981. What follows is denial, acceptance, angst and all the usual theories of getting back to the current time. The denouement of the first series really is gripping and very moving as Alex does everything she can to prevent her parents death without knowing the truth behind the events until pretty much the last minute. Series 2 touches on police corruption as a story arc, and brings into play the superb Adrian Dunbar as the anti-hero to gene Hunt's straight down the middle results based policing. A cliff hanging ending leaves the viewer completely confused as to what time period Alex is actually in. Series 3 is the darkest by far. Alex questions Gene's motives more, and is pulled into the circle of the nasty Jim Keats (superbly acted by Daniel Mays) from Discipline & Complaints. I actually started to dislike Gene Hunts through this series. He seemed angry and more prone to abusing and bullying people, but the strength of Phil Glenisters' performance is by realizing Gene knows what Keats is up to and who/what he represents, and therefore sees the threat but can't cope with it. It becomes about Gene's immaturity from his own previous life events and his own journey to remembrance. The ending of this series makes everything clear, including what happened to Sam and Annie. I defy you to watch this without the eye's moistening. I actually think another series Could have been made, bringing someone from the very current social media, always connected world, but maybe like all the best things it was wisest to stop it at it's peak. All in, a fantastic series, strengthening what Life on Mars innovated, and including stellar performances from all involved and some fantastically apt music. One to watch and warm the cockles on cold winter evenings, or warm summer nights.
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Location: Portsmouth

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