I never think the plot and events hang together that well in Life on Mars, but what I am really looking out for are those fun seventies images, and the culture stuff. Oh, and the characters and acting of course.
I think this series they have decided they can tackle two things they were a bit nervous of handling in the first series. These are the controversial social issues of the seventies, which still embarrass us today, and the problem of what Sam is experiencing. I'm not saying they'll resolve either of these.
Examples from 2.1 are the denigration of women, and the treatment of those deemed mentally ill. These are serious issues, and it's problematic for a semi-serious drama to start to pick away at them. Wanky Hollywood issue films have feisty modern-style characters 'fighting back' and winning the hero round. But in real life these social issues are hard to shift because the oppressed are part of the same culture, and at least partly buy-in to the oppression.
This is even more starkly portrayed in the second episode, around the issue of race. I'm not saying they tackle it properly, and the black barman still strikes me as a racially patronising character, but at least they tackled it. And the way that the women buy into sexism.
I think they also tackled the issue of the police doing frankly evil things - how evil is it to condemn a young man to a lifetime imprisonment in a secure mental hospital, no matter what he has done? I have a feeling this will get stronger as the series progresses and they tackle two key controversies of the early seventies - police corruption and the IRA.
I haven't even started on what is happening to Sam, and what the mysterious phone calls from Hyde mean. Because I don't have a clue. Do the creators? Why was 'Starman' on the soundtrack? They aren't going to pull a 'Lost' on us are they? Nah.
And special love to the Morecombe and Wise-alike images and actions, and the return of synchronised punching. Come and have a go.