In the British version, Sam has really only three options for what’s happening: he’s time-traveled, he’s in a coma and dreaming, or he’s gone insane (Alison's edit - I don't agree, but these are the only ones made explicit). The American version will add another 10 possibilities, for a total of 13. Including the idea that Sam is dead and in purgatory. At the start of the second episode, Annie walks in on Sam writing all 13 possibilities on a chalkboard. And the show’s first 13 episodes will each explore one of those possibilities.
Great! I always thought the most interesting aspect of Life on Mars was the tension between abstraction and pragmatism (embodied of course in the tension between Gene and Sam) and this tension was somewhat frittered away in Ashes to Ashes. It sounds to me like the American writers have finally cottoned on to the metaphysics and will be front-loading it. Could be fab. Remember how Lost backed away from it, and fluffed it.
But are there 13 ways to explain Sam's predicament? Niall suggests:
You know my theory: I think Sam is one of the few characters on TV who is coming to realise he is a character on TV. Niall also says he could be in a Truman Show type set-up (a real person caught in a fake world). So that's two more.
You could split 'afterlife' into a number of possibilities (heaven, Hell, purgatory, bardo etc.).
Can you help boost this to 13?