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4. Life On Mars (2006 – 2007)

As with The A-Team or, well, Green Acres, the opening credits of Life On Mars set up the show’s whole concept: police officer Sam Tyler (John Simm) gets hit by a car in 2006, waking up to find himself a member of the Manchester police force back in 1973. Gimmick? Hardly. What exactly has happened to Sam – is he hallucinating? time traveling? brain-damaged? – is a tantalizing, J.J. Abrams-esque mystery. And the writers used the retro setting to explore racism and sexism in ’70s England, as well as play some crackin’ tunes from Sweet and Slade. Philip Glenister‘s bigoted, explosive DCI Gene Hunt is one of the most memorable creations ever on television. (Own it on DVD.)

Next: No. 3

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By Kevin Wicks
Kevin Wicks is the founding editor of Anglophenia.