Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Let's fire up the Quattro!" - finally on my US telly!

Well, well, well...it was pretty late last night when I awoke on the floor of my (just barely) 3 year old daughter's room. See, after the tooth-brushing, story-telling, and book-reading activities are finished, she often requests either me or my wife to "lay down on the floor" for a few minutes at bedtime. Well, when I sign up for the job, I quite frequently fall waaaaaaay asleep there. Nice, eh?

Anyway, last night I woke up at about 1 am or so and decided I was sorta awake again, having slept there on the floor for a good 3-1/2 hours or so. So I mosied on down the stairs to the great room and switched on the TV to help clear out a little of my 99% full DVR. I know, I know...I have a slight packrat issue with my recordings. I'm working on it.

Anyway, after a few old episodes of The Office (US version). The Superbowl night episode, which was a full 1-hour ep, got cut short, thanks to post-game ramblings and interviews, so seeing how my DVR doesn't really care about timing, I missed the freakin' ending of the episode....ugh.

So, I switch over to OnDemand (Comcast cable's service of past episodes, movies, specials, etc) and looked for the episode I was just watching to see if I could catch the ending there. It wasn't a choice. The series is there, but not that particular episode. Bugger!

However....as I paged thru the other choices there, I see Ashes to Ashes...WTF!?!?!?!?

Man, I have been pining for this show to cross the pond ever since it was launched in the UK last year. I absolutely loved it's predecessor Life on Mars and was so looking forward to the followup series. As with most BBC/UK shows, we're getting Ashes to Ashes quite a bit later over here on BBC America. LoM was the same way, just like Robin Hood, Primeval, Doctor Who, Torchwood, etc.

And now it's here too! Well, actually it's apparently been here for a few weeks. There are 4 episodes available via OnDemand, and it's being run on BBC America on Saturday nights at 9pm (EST).

Ok, so why does this matter to a blog entitled Back in '81 you ask? Well, it's set in 1981, for Gorf's sake!

Beyond that simplistic reason, it's a show that really does throw you back to that timeframe, and as you might guess from my most recent Birthday Party pics, I kinda like the '80s.

They really seem to have nailed the era (specifically the early 80's), so far at least, in the same manner as the completely nailed the early 70's in Life on Mars. Sure, there are some little discrepancies you can find here and there. For example one that is called out in the Wikipedia article, the Quattro is a 1983 model, and it's right-hand-drive which wasn't available there, then. But really, if that blows the imagery for you I would have to say that you're not giving it a fair shake.

Speaking of "giving something a fair shake", in regards to the US version of Life on Mars, I myself have yet to give it it's due. I have watched maybe 20 minutes or so of one episode, and just recorded the rest, figuring I would get around to watching them someday. Of course decisions like this are partially responsible for my DVR bulging at 99%. I think I am being a bit prejudiced toward the US version, because I loved the UK version so much that I fear I will be disappointed in a remake so soon. The opposite goes for the The Office. I saw the US version first, and now view the UK version inferior. I know that others disagree, but that's ok.

Back to A2A, most of the LoM cast returns, including the trio of Gene Hunt, Ray Carling, and Chris Skelton.

Honestly, Gene Hunt is more than enough to bring me back to this show every week. He's totally rad, dude!

The lead character Alex Drake is played by Keeley Hawes, who you may recognize as Zoe Reynolds from MI-5 (or Spooks in the UK), another BBC show that I dug (at least the first couple seasons).

Anyway, here's a few goodies from the first episode:

Alex: "You're taller than I imagined."
Gene: "I'm bigger in every department."

Suspect being questioned: "You're living in a fantasy world, Mr Hunt."

Alex: "Can you get me a change of clothes? I would like to change out of red before Chris de Burgh writes a song about me."

Gene: "Uniform you're the C Team; DI Drake you lead the B Team; I'm the A Team."
Alex: "God have mercy."

Alex: "There's nothing on this hard-drive but the time and date."
Gene: "Pong, I've got Pong."

Ah well, one episode down, only 53 minutes into this show, but I must say so far "It's totally awesome!"


Robert Saint John said...

I know in my heart of hearts that LoM is the superior show, but I absolutely *love* A2A. Gene is more front and center, the music and other period touches just twang that nostalgia chord of mine, and the pierrot is spookier than the test card girl, IMO. The final episode of A2A Series 1 will KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF. It's art. And Keeley Hawes? Yum.

Still waiting for Series 2 to start over in the UK, should be any week now.

yoyorobbo said...

@ Robert Saint John:

Still waiting for Series 2 to start over in the UK, should be any week now.

You lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky dog, you!

I still need to snag me a region-free DVD player, so I can pick-up the LoM seasons (series for you Brits...ha!) I have some of them on DVD, burned from my DVR, but I'd love to own the whole thing, in a professional format.

Did I mention that you are a lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky.......?

Robert Saint John said...

Oh, I'm not British. Just a Doctor Who and UKTV fan in the US who is extremely motivated. :) But I do have a Region Free NTSC/PAL DVD player (3 in fact; Philips DVP5982, highly recommended) which I couldn't live without. Wife and I went to the UK last September and bought a ton of DVDs, including LoM 1&2 (I hear it may never come out here because of the music rights). And Amazon.uk works fine if you can swallow the postage.

I.J. Parnham said...

We are lucky over here, but that doesn't stop us whingeing. It seems like forever since last March when we saw the first season and the wait to find out where they'll take the format has been a long one. Everyone thought s2 would start in Feb, but shooting took longer than expected. Apparently the first promo is rumoured to be appearing on tv tonight though where we'll find out when it'll show. I assume it will be up on youtube about 17 seconds later.

yoyorobbo said...

@Robert Saint John:

Philips DVP5982, highly recommended

Cool, I'll check that one out. I've seen the CyberHome(?) ones (IIRC)...the half-rack variety, that seem to be a good, cheap choice. But now, I'll check out the Philips. Thanx!

yoyorobbo said...

@ I.J.Parnham:

I assume it will be up on youtube about 17 seconds later

Ah yes, youtube. It's certainly nice to get some quick glipmses and such, but I so much want the real deal. Gratz to you getting to see it all waaaaaay before me.

Yay you. Boo me.

Robert Saint John said...

I've had 3 CyberHomes. They're cheap and small, but have a short lifespan. One died within a year, another within 2, last one is still going after 3. Apparently they were manufactured with very poor power supplies. It's hard for me to recommend them, but if you do get one, I've read that the best thing to do is simply unplug them when not in use.