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Ashes to Ashes: 1982

June 9, 2009

drakeErm… was that it then? I can’t understand all the commotion about the Ashes 2 finale. So much hot air and hyperbole about how wonderful a room full of Gene’s on screens was, how Shaz’s surprise rescue was awesome etc etc. I thought it was a load of wank. In fact the whole series wasn’t up to much compared to 1981’s almighty action.

Alex’s parents’ death was the main plot of the first series – a tense, psychotic, head fuck of a mystery that tied everything together. And yet there was only a brief dream sequence referring to it in episode 7 and even that was a bit flat. Yeah, so Alex could have changed history could she? Oh well, sod that, sod any feelings of guilt or remorse, she’s got a freaky time-travelling copper to kill. There was nothing really meaty holding series 2 together. A crime a week and a few mentions of the who-can-be-arsed-to-bother ‘Operation Rose’ don’t cut it. It’s not substantial enough and its delivery (an occasional half-hearted reference) didn’t hook me.

Keeley Hawes’ and Philip Glenister’s knicker-twisting chemistry from series one had all but fizzled out. Maybe it was something to do with Gene having some horribly clunky lines and Alex barely getting a look in, in a programme that’s now The Gene Hunt show. It’s as if the writers, bolstered by the viwers’ reaction to Gene as some sort of rock god, put all their eggs in one basket and came up with a one-trick pony of a series. Yes Gene is cool.Yes he’s funny. Yes he can say things that are offensive but it’s OK. But not all the time so the viewer is bombarded by weak joke after weak joke. It’s as boring as an economics lecture from Steve Davis (see?).

love_80sAshes to Ashes has become an I Love The 80s music video. Yes it’s great hearing such awesome songs from the era/year. But not when they’re slapped in too loud so they interrupt your concentration on the (weak) storyline, and not when it’s embarrassingly obvious that the title/chorus echos what’s going on in the scene. Yes. We get it. We’re sci fi geeks. We’re not stupid. That, aside from cringy lines that scream “Look! We’re in the 80s everyone!” make uncomfy viewing. Take an early episode when a “Bananarama duvet cover” reference was shoehorned in. Oh, and who can forget Gene’s terrible “Come on! Come on! Come on, Eileen!” Ick. Shoddy.

Kudos to Marshall Lancaster who was finally allowed to do some serious acting (instead of his usual comedy-stooge schtick) in episode 7. Good wobbly lips, flared nostrils and wet eye malarky. Good to see Ray’s character developing a bit. Shame Keeley wasn’t given more to do, and I think we’ve had enough of Shaz. Either do something with her so she’s not such a wet blanket or kill her off. Please. I can’t take that voice any more.

I hope the next series improves somehow. I hope they don’t keep ramping up the 80s references, turning Gene into an even more awkward caricature than he’s already become, have weird random moments of enforced sexual tension (that have now turned into two people who aren’t that bothered with each other silently gurning at each other) followed by a too-loud Under Pressure when (yup, you guessed it) Gene and co are… under pressure to solve a crime.

This is quite fun though…

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 10, 2009 8:29 am

    I had completely the opposite reaction. I thought the first series stank, with its shoe-horned-in dream sequences, pointless clowns, cruddy plot and woeful sexual tension. The second series, in contrast, was much more in the spirit of its ’70s predecessor. Until the last bit when she woke up and Gene started barking at her, which was shit.

    ‘Orses for course, I suppose, but I reckon you’re WRONG, Badger.

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