Mars is a strange half-fiction half-documentary production of the National Geographic Society. It is 6 hour-long episodes. It has many faults.
It starts with a James Bond-y, overly-long credit sequence with dreary theme music best classified as Doors Lite™. It’s like 2 minutes of bummer time and sets a sour mood.
Apparently to save casting budget, one woman plays both lead executive and lead astronaut.
Half of the fiction sequence time is taken up by a parody of nattily-dressed executives running around the C-Suite making bad decisions.
Documentary segments featured too many fast jump cuts to really be able to see or appreciate what was going on in the historical segments.
The penultimate episode centers around a moment where a stir-crazy botanist opens a door to the outside and lets all the air out, thereby killing himself and all of his plants. Yes, that’s right: A door to the outside. Not an airlock. A single door. Like on your garden shed. Like that would be an OK and obvious design decision for a habitat facing onto a low-pressure alien atmosphere. And it kills 6 other people, because there are no hatches between habitat sections. Like that would be another OK design decision.
For another take on a downbeat scenario with a considerably more optimistic tone, see The Martian with Matt Damon. Don’t slog through this. I did, because I thought it would be educational for my son, but with a sense of increasing disappointment, when I didn’t find myself napping through sections. Hollywood agrees. I guess I would say it’s a bit of a lost opportunity. Or maybe just what you’d expect if a bunch of non-profit bureaucrats decided to make an educational disaster scenario with an aging and sonorously morbid Opie.