Author Topic: National Georgraphic's "MARS"  (Read 528 times)

Offline smartcooky

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National Georgraphic's "MARS"
« on: November 28, 2016, 02:31:44 AM »
For those who haven't yet seen it, this is a six-part series that tells the story of a fictional astronaut crew on the first human Mars mission in 2033. In addition to this fictional story, the series weaves in interviews with a number of real-world space experts.

Warning - there be spoilers here!

I have to say that I am very disappointed in the series so far. Yes, the sets and special effects are very good, but the script has the characters making fundamental errors that defy belief.

1. The mission commander had to leave his command seat to perform emergency maintenance during re-entry. With only seconds to go before retro-thruster firing, instead of climbing down to safety, he tried to climb up, and when the RTs fired, he lost his grip and fell about 15 feet at high G, sustaining an injury that was eventually fatal,. If he had climbed down, he would not have fallen.

2. The crew communications back to mission control is a shambolic mess. They are unclear in what they are saying. The second in command mumbles a lot instead of making her decisions and commands clear and concise.

3. In episode three, one of the crew members finds a panel missing from a piece of equipment he is responsible for. He finds that another crew member has cannibalized some parts for another job, and has left exposed wires inside. When the crew member reaches in to find out why the equipment is not working, it sparks and he gets a shock.
 
4. Also in episode 3, they have to winch a member of the crew 200m down into a lava tube to look for a flat area so they can erect their living area dome. Its very, very dark when she gets to the bottom, and what does she do? She unhooks herself from the winch cable, and with spotlights only on the front of her EVA helmet, she takes a a few steps backwards and almost drops into a deep canyon.

Now, I know that there is a need for some dramatic license to make things a bit exciting for the viewers, but some of this is beyond ridiculous. These people are supposed to be highly trained ASTRONAUTS!!!

- no astronaut would make such a poor decision as the commander did;

- no astronaut would mumble incoherently when communicating with other crew members and with Mission Control,

- no astronaut would cannibalize a piece of equipment without following a strict procedure and without the express knowledge of the crew member responsible for that piece of equipment.

- and finally, no astronaut would ever, ever, ever step backwards in the pitch dark in a completely unfamiliar area.


Things might improve in episode 4, but I'm not hopeful.
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Offline twik

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Re: National Georgraphic's "MARS"
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2016, 01:36:40 PM »
Have you noticed that no screen-writers or directors have been accepted as astronauts yet?

I suspect that they have a very different mental approach to things. Quite possibly screen writers would mumble vaguely when trying to communicate critical information. "Come on, Mission Control! You have to listen for the subtext!"

Offline onebigmonkey

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Re: National Georgraphic's "MARS"
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2016, 04:31:43 PM »
I'm kind of enjoying it, but it's not really living up to the hype.

I get what they're doing with the mix of present day science infotainment and future drama, but I kind of already know all the sciency stuff (at least at the level it's pitched at here), it's the drama I want!

Offline smartcooky

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Re: National Georgraphic's "MARS"
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2016, 06:15:23 AM »
SPOILERS FOLLOW: BE WARNED

In the latest episode, one crew member goes psycho and opens a door to the outside, causing an explosive decompression which kills him and an number of other crew members. This is just beyond all reason now. No Martian habitat would ever be built in such a way that a person could simply open the door to the outside.

I expected this programme to at least resemble something close to what a Mars mission would really be like. I'm very disappointed in the bad science, bad engineering shown in this story, as well as the fact that the way the crew members behave simply does not resemble in any way that way astronauts behave.

I am officially giving up on this program.
► What you can assert without evidence, I can dismiss without evidence
► When you argue with idiots you risk being dragged down to their level and beaten with experience.
►"Conspiracism is a shortcut to the illusion of erudition." - JayUtah

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: National Georgraphic's "MARS"
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2016, 01:18:24 AM »
I found it very dull (at best). Very annoying at worst.

The usual wittering about how hard Mars is without really exploring the many solutions to the challenges.

The constant intercutting between interviews in 20156 and the 2030s story was really annoying.

Many of the interviewees did not have a clue.  Stephen Petranek the technical adviser in particular.  As for Peter Diamandis...Far to much hagiography with regard to Elon Musk.  Other than Zubrin almost none of them really addressed the technical issues of why we should go and how it would be possible.

The script for the story was really badly written.  It was dull, gloomy, uninspired. None of the characters were worth caring about.

The visualisation of Mars was underwhelming.

The music was dreadful.

The usual exaggeration about dust storms.

The whole thing about lava caves was silly.

Has Ron Howard had a brain transplant?  After "Apollo 13" and "From the Earth to the Moon" he gives us this?

I have also just watched the 2007 Canadian production for the discovery channel. Far more better in every respect on a much lower budget.




Offline smartcooky

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Re: National Georgraphic's "MARS"
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2016, 05:03:31 AM »
I found it very dull (at best). Very annoying at worst.

The usual wittering about how hard Mars is without really exploring the many solutions to the challenges.

The constant intercutting between interviews in 20156 and the 2030s story was really annoying.

Many of the interviewees did not have a clue.  Stephen Petranek the technical adviser in particular.  As for Peter Diamandis...Far to much hagiography with regard to Elon Musk.  Other than Zubrin almost none of them really addressed the technical issues of why we should go and how it would be possible.

The script for the story was really badly written.  It was dull, gloomy, uninspired. None of the characters were worth caring about.

The visualisation of Mars was underwhelming.

The music was dreadful.

The usual exaggeration about dust storms.

The whole thing about lava caves was silly.

Has Ron Howard had a brain transplant?  After "Apollo 13" and "From the Earth to the Moon" he gives us this?

I have deleted the final episode without bothering to watch.

I agree with you on every point - the flashbacks detracted from the program rather than adding to it, the music (it was diabolical), the sets, the cardboard cutout characters and the bad science. Whoever took the decision to cast a rock singer (Jihae) as the mission 2IC (and ultimately the commander) ought to be fired. She was totally uninspiring and was very difficult to understand.

Add to that the fact that the living areas were just not in any way realistic and contained bucket-loads of bad engineering!

I have also just watched the 2007 Canadian production for the discovery channel. Far more better in every respect on a much lower budget.

That production was superior in almost every way.

SPOILER ALERT

I especially liked the aspect of the story that led the viewer to believe that some of the crew might have caught a Martian disease (which would lead to the conclusion that life might exist on Mars). Ultimately, it was  carbon monoxide poisoning; I would have taken a leaf from Asimov's short story "Sucker Bait" and used something like Beryllium poisoning or dust pneumonia as the symptoms are more virus/bacterial infection-like.


IMO, Ridley Scott's direction of Andy Weir's "The Martian" is still the benchmark for Mars movies and television series.




« Last Edit: December 23, 2016, 06:13:01 AM by smartcooky »
► What you can assert without evidence, I can dismiss without evidence
► When you argue with idiots you risk being dragged down to their level and beaten with experience.
►"Conspiracism is a shortcut to the illusion of erudition." - JayUtah

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: National Georgraphic's "MARS"
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2016, 09:44:57 PM »
The whole gloomy aesthetic thing really got me too.  We know what Mars is like, it does not look boring, nor is it wrapped in dust clouds like smog.  The arrival of dust storms is nothing like the onset a haboob. Even a B or C-grade movie like "Last days on Mars" had a better representation of Mars and Mars technology than this (although I did like the MCP suits).

Apart from emergencies when everything is powered down, there is no reason for a Mars station to be dimly lit.  Yes, I know it's trendy aesthetically (see "The Expanse"), but come on!  We don't see the interior of the ISS dimly lit.  So why a Mars station?  Especially the plant growing areas - these are of necessity going to be very brightly lit otherwise the plants won't do their stuff.

Then there is the whole lights inside helmets thing (the Martian did this too).  Yes, I get the fact that people want to see the actor's faces, but ever tried walking round in the ark with lights shining in your face?

Everything screamed low budget, but the 2007 Discovery Channel thing showed you could tell a good story, get a good point across, with unknown actors, all on a budget probably much lower than this.  "From the Earth to the Moon" showed you could get the most technical story across brilliantly without losing human touch.  The BBC's "Voyage to the planets" did a better job too, despite the implausibility of a grand tour human mission (really just a narrative conceit).

SPOILER

Then there was Ann Druyan's whole "human space exploration is the modern equivalent of human sacrifice" thing in the last episode.....
« Last Edit: December 23, 2016, 09:50:56 PM by Dalhousie »

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: National Georgraphic's "MARS"
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2016, 11:00:08 PM »
Here are Nick Caves theme lyrics.  Good luck making sense of them....

https://www.musixmatch.com/lyrics/Nick-Cave-Warren-Ellis/Mars-Theme

Offline twik

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Re: National Georgraphic's "MARS"
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2017, 09:51:09 AM »
Here are Nick Caves theme lyrics.  Good luck making sense of them....

https://www.musixmatch.com/lyrics/Nick-Cave-Warren-Ellis/Mars-Theme

Ah, yes, because the theme for a space exploration drama should be a poorly-written love song.  ???

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: National Georgraphic's "MARS"
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2017, 04:56:23 PM »
Here are Nick Caves theme lyrics.  Good luck making sense of them....

https://www.musixmatch.com/lyrics/Nick-Cave-Warren-Ellis/Mars-Theme

Ah, yes, because the theme for a space exploration drama should be a poorly-written love song.  ???

It was a love song?  :o ??? ::)

Offline twik

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Re: National Georgraphic's "MARS"
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2017, 09:55:26 AM »
Here are Nick Caves theme lyrics.  Good luck making sense of them....

https://www.musixmatch.com/lyrics/Nick-Cave-Warren-Ellis/Mars-Theme

Ah, yes, because the theme for a space exploration drama should be a poorly-written love song.  ???

It was a love song?  :o ??? ::)

The lyrics "(Love love love love love love love)" would appear to indicate that they were trying to achieve a romantic mood of some sort.

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: National Georgraphic's "MARS"
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2017, 06:12:20 PM »
Here are Nick Caves theme lyrics.  Good luck making sense of them....

https://www.musixmatch.com/lyrics/Nick-Cave-Warren-Ellis/Mars-Theme

Ah, yes, because the theme for a space exploration drama should be a poorly-written love song.  ???

It was a love song?  :o ??? ::)

The lyrics "(Love love love love love love love)" would appear to indicate that they were trying to achieve a romantic mood of some sort.

"Of some sort" :D

Offline Dalhousie

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