Friday, October 24, 2008

Life on Mars Goes on in America 3: What Happens When a Time Traveler Runs Into His Younger Self?

I gotta say my single favorite moment in last night's episode 3 of Life on Mars in the mean streets of New York City was when The Marmalade's "Reflections of My Life" came on at the end. I haven't heard that song, maybe since 1973. "All my sorrows, sad tomorrow..." was just perfect for a man unwillingly, apparently stuck back in 1973 from 2008 ... Yeah, that music was perfect, just like about every clip of music I've heard thus far in the series.

Not perfect at all, though, is the purely cop part of the show. Michael Imperioli's Det. Ray Carling is annoying - that's the fault of the character and the writing, not the fine actor - and though I've warmed up a little to Harvey Keitel's Lieutenant Gene Hunt (he finally displayed a bit of a heart last night), he still has a way to go.

It almost feels if the series is a collaboration between a very cool and a tone-deaf writer, with the cool one writing the time travel parts, and the tone-dead writer the cop parts.

There were very good time travel touches last night - the best being when Sam sees his younger self at the end. A time traveler running into his or her younger self is one of the sweet, infinitely paradoxical moments of any time travel story ... does the older traveler instantly get a memory of that encounter? What happens when that look is exchanged between their eyes? "I'm changing, rearranging..." as The Marmalade sing.

I've played with that a lot in my Loose Ends and Plot to Save Socrates stories ... When you're writing a novel or a story, it's easy to explore and lay out some of those possibilities. But what was Sam, the older Sam, thinking we he saw his younger self, and his younger self saw Sam, last night?

I'm looking to find out...

See also Life on Mars Debuts in America ... Life on Mars 2nd Episode in America: Coma, Time Travel, Mars Rover ... Life on Mars #4: All in the Family ... Life on Mars #5 Meets the Wire ... Life on Mars #6 Meets Itself on Television ... Life on Mars #7: Is Annie Real, Or, Is Life on Mars a False Memory

The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

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And, hey, like a short, savvy, funny book about time travel? Try Frank Borzellieri's The Physics of Dark Shadows...
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