Start Things off with a Bang!

I’m really enjoying the new American version of Life on Mars (though I haven’t had a chance to watch the British version yet), though one thing that’s bugged me since the show began is the opening credits sequence. It’s easily one of the worst on TV right now, a quick recap of the first episode rather than an actual opening, and with a jarring musical switch part-way through (in order to stick in Bowie’s Life on Mars). It seems like they life-on-mars-naked-samwere planning on just having a title card as opposed to a full opening, until someone decided that the basic plot needed to be communicated to the viewers each week.

Along with a crappy intro, Life on Mars also has had some of the best cold openings I’ve seen. They really love jumping right into the ’70s cop action, complete with classic music blaring. Which is my favourite part of the show, though the mystery of what exactly is going on has grown on me over the course of the season. Here’s one of my favourite openings, from the second episode. This may just be the best summary of the show as a whole, cutting from the mystery to one of my favourite chase sequences from the show:

I also wanted to share the opening of the eleventh episode with you, as it’s easily my favourite to date and the inspiration for this post. YouTube’s copyright infringement tech seems to be really good at catching that vid for some reason though, so you’ll have to download it to have a look (it’s only four megs though, nice and manageable).

It’s sequences like these (and they’re not always at the beginning of the show, the fight with the Russian mob near the end of 108 stands out in my mind) really show how much fun this show is. And not just for us viewers, it seems clear that everyone involved was truly relishing these chances to partake in some campy ’70s action. It isn’t normal for the driving force to be not the plot but the setting of the show, yet Life on Mars is pulling it off really well.

-Jerk

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~ by Jerk on March 1, 2009.

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