Thursday, February 12, 2009

Life on Mars - Almost Famous

"Don't eat the brown acid!" - Ray (Michael Imperioli)

Oh Life on Mars, what are we to do with you? Week to week you show occasional flashes of brilliance, and then this week you deliver UFO's and Sebastian Grace and The Electric Insects. I'll admit, though, there were a lot of great 70's rock cues, like Max's Kansas City and the great Crawdaddy magazine. The rest felt like it was cribbed from Almost Famous, right down to the Penny Lane-like super groupie Rocket Girl. And there was even a throwaway reference to Bad Company's "Shooting Star," when Rocket Girl's father says "'Love me Do', I think it was," describing the moment he really lost his daughter. So there's that.

Besides Sebastian, Rocket Girl had apparently shacked up with Frank Zappa, David Crosby, Keith Richards, Rod Stewart and members of Black Sabbath, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steppenwolf. And with Led Zeppelin coming to town next, she was about to open her own Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

This week's song choices were inspired, as LoM continues to avoid the obvious choices. Take for example the bands The Action and Traffic Sound, both bands who never quite made it here in the U.S. The short-lived Mod band The Action, were precursors to power pop, fusing the Byrds and The Beatles, anticipating the likes of Badfinger, The Raspberries and Big Star.

Meanwhile, Traffic Sound were Peru's answer to Os Mutantes, part of the surprising South American psychedelic rock scenes. The 'go to' compilation of their stuff is Yellow Sea Years 68-71, from Light in the Attic records, the best label for reissues of this sort. The other two songs were a lot less obscure, to say the least, but no less inspired. The Kinks' "Supersonic Rocket Ship" and David Bowie's "Starman" are both great songs, and fit the 'paranormal' subject matter, obviously. I expected to hear a lot more Bowie in the series, given it's title and subject matter, but the music supervisors haven't disappointed otherwise.

There's good and bad news on the ratings front, based on last night's numbers. The numbers are way down in total viewers, but LoM excelled in the coveted 18-34 male category. In fact, ABC had it's best Men 18-34 number in the time period with regular programming since October 2007. That was in the first half-hour, though, boosted by the Lost lead. The second half-hour saw the numbers plunge again.

Playlist: Life on Mars - Episode 1.10
1. "Look At The View" - The Action
2. "Yesterday's Game" - Traffic Sound
3. "Supersonic Rocket Ship" - The Kinks
4. "Starman" - David Bowie
5. "The Last Planet I Kissed" - Sebastian Grace and The Electric Insects



Previously: Out of Order (Episode 1.08)

1 comment:

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