Here's the creepiest scene from tonight's new episode of Ashes To Ashes, the BBC's sequel to the cult time-traveling cop drama Life On Mars. With its second season, Ashes finally starts to show glimmers of Mars' brilliance.

When you're done watching Lost tonight, and you want another dose of "stranger in a bugfuck land" insanity, you could do way worse than flip over to BBC America for the season two premiere of Ashes To Ashes. It's still not Life On Mars-level greatness — nothing could replace the incredible chemistry between Philip Glenister and John Simm — but it's definitely better than the first season, by a million miles. Most importantly, the show is starting to do some really clever things with its premise of a cop who's been shot and zapped back in time to 1982.

What I watched of Ashes To Ashes season one felt, quite honestly, like a cover version of Life On Mars. But the second season has been retooled to feel a lot fresher and more inventive. Gone is the creepy-but-boring clown from David Bowie's "Ashes To Ashes" video. The time-traveling head-injury cop, Alex Drake, no longer spends quite so much time seeming like she's about to have a nervous breakdown at any second — to the point where you wonder why her male colleagues respect her at all — and instead she seems a lot more on top of things.

More importantly, the show introduces some neat elements that weren't in the first show — chief among them a mysterious figure who appears to know something about Alex's time-traveling, and who's responsible for her ordeal in the above clip. This adds a huge extra layer of weirdness and discomfort to the already squicky feeling of watching a 2008 cop deal with all the casual sexism and violence against women of 1982 London.

Meanwhile, the plot of the season opener is completely insane — an up-and-coming police officer is found in a Soho strip club, wearing women's lingerie and apparently dead by autoerotic asphyxiation. And a pirate-themed stripper appears to be involved. As Alex Drake delves into the case, however, she starts to discover that there's a lot more going on than is readily apparent at first glance, and she starts to suspect there's rottenness among her fellow police officers — maybe even including her boss, the awesome Gene Hunt.

Tonight's episode and next week show Alex simultaneously going deeper into the ants nest of the 1982 power structure and falling deeper into the rabbit hole of mental time travel.

Like I said, it's not quite Life On Mars yet — but the cognitive dissonance of being catapulted back in time, mentally, to the height of the Thatcher era (and the Falklands War) does get milked for all it's worth, and the show does seem to be in the process of developing a mythos that will build both shows into something truly bizarre and memorable. (Especially if the hints I've heard about the third season, now showing in the U.K., are true.) It's not a bad companion show to the final weeks of Lost, and could prove quite addictive.

Ashes To Ashes is on BBC America tonight at 10 PM.