Life On Mars: The Final Word

THE debate about the final episode of Life On Mars has certainly thrown up some interesting viewpoints.
Some fans continue to ask questions at The Railway Arms.
Named after Manchester CID’s 1973 local, it’s a brilliant fan site with some of the most passionate and intelligent comments to be found on the web.
It also demonstrates how a TV drama can spark creativity, humour, fun, serious debate, empathy and friendship via the world wide inter-web.
If you were a fan of the BBC1 series, then it’s a place you must seek out.
Members of the TV team, including John Simm and Dean Andrews, have also contributed their thoughts there from time to time.
And Life On Mars co-creator and lead writer Matthew Graham called in again this afternoon to “draw a line under a few points”.

It follows on from what he explained in Life On Mars: The Answers.
I highly recommend a visit to The Railway Arms – just click on the name to reach the site.
But for those who may not otherwise have found his comments, here’s part of what Matthew had to say to the regulars today:
“The Ending: Many of you liked it. Some of you loathed it. A lot of you were baffled.
“This struck me as an interesting irony. Because I have noticed that the deeper a person’s love of the show is, the more that emotion clouds their reasoning. ‘Ordinary’ folk (by that I simply mean people just sitting down and watching their telly of a night) tend to get the ending.
“Sam lived in 2006. He was stifled by red tape and modern life only he didn’t know it.
“He harboured secret fantasies about breaking out. He had an accident. He pitched up in a place of bigotry, narrow-mindedness but also of emotional liberation.
“He didn’t embrace this world but he loved to fight against it. The fight made him feel alive. And he fell in love. With Annie, not Gene.
“He fought to get home because he believed it was the right thing to do. But making it back to 2006 came at a price – leaving his ‘friends’ and the woman of his dreams to die.
”He told his mother as best he could and she, in her own way, endorsed his decision to return. ‘Then she has nothing to worry about because you always keep your promises.’
”He committed suicide. But it was a positive act because he could rescue CID and find peace.
“As the Cortina drives into the setting sun, Sam hears a doctor pronounce him dead. He doesn’t care. As the car drives away perhaps Sam now lives that last second of consciousness forever.
”And then the Test Card Girl appears. And her look is intended to say ‘That’s enough of that. It’s only a story and now it’s ended. Go and read a good book.’ And off goes the telly.
”Are there loose ends? A few. Is that deliberate? Of course. Loose ends are fun. Life has loose ends. No one has all the answers.
”Should Sam have ended up on Mars? Should Gene have been his dad? Should Chris have been the secret leader of a cult of Martian scientists investigating the human condition?
”Why? Because this isn’t an SF show. This is about a man’s emotional odyssey. The ending was always going to be this.
“I didn’t write the show to give it a wacky bizarro climax. I wrote about Us and what We were like Then. And then I left it open for debate – was 73 better? Should Sam have killed himself? Is Gene a good guy or a bad guy?
“Big questions but emotionally, this story hangs together. You don’t have to like what I did with it but don’t tell me it should have ended in deep space or with an elderly Annie or aged Gene.
”Does my opinion vary from Ashley’s or Tony’s or Chris’s or Mark’s or Julie’s or Guy’s? No it does not. Because Episode 8 existed as a concept before any of them started writing. They all knew where it was headed because Ash and I had told them.
”Is there more to learn?
”A2A will take you on a bigger journey. There is more to Gene Hunt than is dreamt of in our philosophies. But the journey takes time folks.
”Of course feel free to love or hate what has come so far but I just thought I could draw a line under a few points.”
The Railway Arms