Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Ashes to Ashes Sucks: Part 3

Well, it’s time to wrap up this miniseries now I think.  Now to touch on one of the biggest things wrong with this series:  the main character.  Alex Drake doesn’t work on a variety of levels.  She is unlikeable, emotionally fragile, arrogant and apparently utterly unable to keep anything to herself.

Now, Sam Tyler had a number of these problems too.  You can’t have a flawless character and make him/her particularly interesting (or at the very least it is exceptionally difficult).  Sam was distant, cold and had a bit of superiority complex, but he wasn’t anywhere near as bad as Drake herself.  We are introduced to Drake as she is doing the school run with her daughter and (for some reason) they are discussing the case of one Sam Tyler, a fairly recent suicide and joking about it.  I have already addressed why confirming that he genuinely had committed suicide and that the modern day world was definitely real was a terrible thing so I won’t dwell on it further.  However our introduction to Drake clearly seems (to me at least) to be setting her up to be a thoroughly dislikeable bitch.  Anyway, blah, blah, blah stuff happens and Drake is at a hostage scene being shot in the head, waking up in 1980-something, etc.  If that seems rushed and threadbare; it is.  I haven’t watched the episode since the first time it was aired several years ago.  Anyway enough of my shoddy blogging ethics, on to the top three reasons why Drake is really annoying.

1.  Upon reaching the 80s, she’s fairly convinced that she’s already got everything figured out, because she was Tyler’s psychiatrist, you see, and she counselled him up his revival from the coma and so knows about the world he lived in for the duration.  She must’ve been bang up on the counselling job, I must say, seeing as Sam killed himself only weeks after the coma.  Some rational characters might end up taking that as a bit of a failure on their part, but not Alex, oh no.  One of the things that made me like Tyler was his confusion and bemusement at the world he’s forced to inhabit.  Not to say that Drake isn’t also confused, but she manages to temper this relatable and sympathetic trait by being an insufferable smart-arse about everything.  Because, you know, she has the ramblings of a (probably) insane suicidal ex-coma patient committed to her memory for just such an eventuality.  Ugh.

2.  She meets her parents.  This isn’t bad in and of itself.  Sam did the same thing.  However, when he did it, he was a little overwhelmed by the whole situation but acted with a great deal of self-restraint and caution with the whole interaction.  He still appeared a little mad, but I challenge you to act better when a car-crash has teleported you to an era of pure brown.  However, Drake breaks down in the space of about10 minutes and tries to directly interfere in her parents’ lives informing them of future events and flat out trying to tell her mum about the situation without any pretence or forethought.  This wouldn’t necessarily reflect awfully on Drake herself (although it definitely ends up doing so), as I can imagine it would definitely be a temptation in that situation.  However, she comes across (quite rightly) as an absolute fucking lunatic for the entire scene.  Now, instead of trying to repair the damage or learning from her mistake and leaving them the hell alone, she meets up with her mum seemingly every other bloody episode to have the whole breakdown over and over again.  And her mum actually allows it to happen!  I see no reason why the supposedly smart lawyer character wouldn’t have the crazy, drunken, ranting police officer committed or at least have a restraining order slapped on them after, say, the third time that officer turns up at their house completely uninvited and unannounced.

3.  She starts falling in love with Gene.  Enough said, really.  That premise is fucking ridiculous in itself.  Fuck this show.

Anyway, that’s about it from me for now.  I don’t think I’m well cut out for ranting, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t try it again in the future.

In conclusion: Life on Mars was great.  Just pretend Ashes to Ashes never existed.  It’s better for all of us that way.

So long!


Lost on Fenris said...


I've been reading this with interest as I also loved Life on Mars. The trouble is, I don't think that you've given Ashes to Ashes a chance. The first few episodes of series 1 were by far the weakest. The later episodes in series 1 were far better and the last series (and particularly the last episode) was awesome.

Alex Drake can be irritating, but it's partly because of what she sees the world to be. That attitude mellows later on. I'm afraid that I also found Sam Tyler pretty whiny sometimes but both main characters were pretty good when they weren't thinking of themselves for once.

Please dig out series two and three. You won't regret it if you can stick it out to the final episode, I promise.

P.S. The clown is far more important than the test card girl and is only in series 1, which you'll realise when you reach the last episode.

And if all else fails just be glad that it wasn't like the US version!

Meatshield said...

Fair enough. Like I said earlier in the rant, I didn't watch all the first season before disliking the show. I watched at least the first five or six episodes before rejecting it, so it's not like I didn't give it a chance at all.

I suppose one of the reasons I grew to dislike it so much was disappointment. I loved Life on Mars and was really hyped to watch Ashes to Ashes and, well...

I may well give it another go at some point, as I'm willing to be proved wrong about this. It just didn't show any signs of getting out of the slump it started in.

I fully stand by my comments about Drake's mum getting her committed though!

Mike said...

Hello, I just finished half of season one... Upon completion of episode 4 my first impulse was to pound "ashes to ashes sucks" into google and I came across your blog. I agree 100% with your assessment of the show. I don't really have anything else to say except I'm happy to have found someone who shares my disappointment.

Meatshield said...

Hey man,

Glad you liked the rant. It's a bit of a departure from the rest of the blog (which is either a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective).

I still haven't actually got round to watching the rest of the series, due to being a bit of an epic procrastinator, and one of my blogging associates swears up and down that it gets a lot better later. I hope it does, but I have no idea when I'll see enough to either prove or disprove that assertion.