I mentioned Life on Mars not long ago. Now I’ve caught up with last Monday’s second episode, it’s time for an update.
Sam is still in 1973, and still not sure what the hell is going on. The world he’s in seems incredibly real, yet how can it be? Spliced into the 1970s action, some more strangeness occurs that reinforces the idea that Sam really is in a coma in 2006, and what he’s experiencing is something his brain is making up to keep itself occupied.
We see a lot of Sam in his bedsit. He goes to sleep with the TV on, with the Test Card showing after the night’s programmes have finished. He dreams that the girl from the test card is talking to him – talking about his real life. Maybe.
Then, towards the end of the episode, Sam’s in a hospital ward, checking on a colleague injured in the line of duty. She’s in a coma. Then all the lights go out, and Sam is trapped in the room. We hear voices talking about his life support having been turned off, then that his catheter has come out and it’s leaked into the electrics. The equipment is turned back on, and Sam falls through the previously blocked door as the lights come back on.
Interesting stuff, and the more conventional police stuff works well, too. There’s the beginning of a grudging respect between Sam and his aggressive “traditional cop” boss. And it’s intriguing enough for me to be looking forward to the next episode.
 In the days before breakfast TV and rolling news channels, TV stations used to shut down at night. Before switching off completely, and before programmes started the next day, they used to show a Test Card. You can have a look at a selection of them here
 Mid morning. Educational stuff for schools, mostly.
 Sam’s test card is the classic card F
 Sam’s brain is seriously playing tricks with him…