|The alternatives presented were that he was in a coma and imagining all the 70s stuff, in a coma and pushed back in time as a result of the coma, or in the 70s and not in a coma at all. |
That's fair; but now all but one of those options has been apparently closed down, I suppose. It's B.
I'm glad they've decided to forget the final episode of the last series. Really, they had no other option if the show was to remain in any way watchable. I also think that the idea that the main reason for watching it was to find a solution to the time travel riddle is ridiculous - the reason for watching is the interplay between the characters, same as it ever was, and that's just as strong this time around as it was before.
Well, we can't say why people other than ourselves watched it. The time travel riddle wasn't my main reason, but it was a key reason. The interplay between the characters is certainly appealing, but I can see it becoming a bit samey without any sense of progression or "arc".
And comparisons to The Singing Detective? That just confirms that you're expecting far too much from this - or, if not too much, then something completely divorced from what the reality was ever going to be.
Again, while I can see your point of view, I'm not sure if the absolute sense of what the reality of Life On Mars was ever going to be can be pinned down as a comparison point. I can accept that it's plausible the creators didn't mean it to be read as a complex psychological mystery like The Singing Detective, but if it was really just intended as a fun 1970s nostalgia buddy romp, there was no need for the hallucinations, fantasy visions, flashbacks and four-image-per-second sequences, which were presented as an ongoing puzzle that built up week by week, clearly aiming at a resolution and climactic epiphany in the final episode.
Do you see The Singing Detective as some kind of high-flown art-TV with which it's ludicrous to compare Life On Mars? It was a popular, entertaining drama, among other things ~ like much of Potter's work.