Winter binge watching: Mars *spoilers*

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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.

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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.

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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.

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