The Random Thoughts of a Forty-Something. Films, Restaurants, Theatre, Concerts, World Events and (Mostly) Nice People.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Ashes To Ashes Finale
Hmmmm. When I was a kid there was a TV series called the Banana Splits. It had various 'wacky' characters, who were all blokes in silly dog costumes, with names like Bungo and Fleagle. I haven't seen it for decades, but if I ever did, I'm sure it would look woeful.
The thing is, when this series ended back in the mid 70s, I almost felt like I'd lost a relative. You know the feeling you get when you finish a book you've really got into -- it's like an emptiness that suddenly these characters have gone from your life. That's rather how I felt at the end of the first series of 'Ashes To Ashes' tonight. Never has a programme relied more on it's characters and less on it's plotline.
The final episode tied up no loose ends whatsoever. OK Alex's dad masterminded the carbomb that killed him and his wife, and was apparently intended to kill Alex too. But she was unable to stop the event happening. Which is fair enough, as the first law of time travel (probably) states that you can't change the past, otherwise you'll endanger the future (witness a particularly memorable episode of the Simpsons when Homer alters the future by squashing a bug in the Jurassic.) But then Alex contravenes the second law of time travel, which states that you cannot meet yourself.
And Alex remains rooted in 1981, still unable to be there for her daughter's birthday in 2008, while Gene, supposedly a detective, continues to not ask any pertinent questions whatsoever of our heroine. Where did you come from? Why are you always talking about the future? And why have you only got two outfits?
Even more bizarrely, Gene & Alex have still failed to get jiggy, despite the first rule of TV drama that you must hop into bed within 12 hours of meeting.
So it's all very mysterious. But I just can't help watching.
The character of Gene Hunt is so hilariously likeable that a series of him painting his house would top the ratings. Keely Hawes may not be Oscar-winning material, but her portrayal of Alex Drake is strangely compelling in it's doe-eyed innocence. And the supporting cast are absolute gems, providing some great one-liners; 'how dare a poofter (Tom Robinson) sing a song about cars -- that's a man thing'.
At it's heart, this drama is entirely character driven -- people watch to see Hunt & Drake's chemistry, to hear Hunt say all the stuff we've always wanted to and to guffaw at the rampant homophobia and sexism on display from the finest police force 1981 can offer.
A second series has been commissioned for 2009 and personally I'm looking forward to it.