Mars (2016 TV series)

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Mars,title screen.png
Genre Docudrama
Science fiction
Created by
Based on How We'll Live on Mars by Stephen Petranek
Developed by
  • Ben Young Mason
  • André Bormanis
  • Mickey Fisher
  • Karen Janszen
  • Jonathan Silberberg
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 6
Executive producer(s)
  • Ron Howard
  • Brian Grazer
  • Michael Rosenberg
  • Justin Wilkes
  • Everardo Gout
  • Tommy Turtle
  • Jonathan Silberberg
  • Lorenzo Mieli
  • Dave O'Connor
  • Jon Kamen
Running time 47 minutes
Production company(s)
Original network
Original release November 14 (2016-11-14) – December 19, 2016 (2016-12-19)
Preceded by Before Mars
External links
Official website

Mars is a documentary and science fiction television series produced by National Geographic, which premiered on November 14, 2016, on their channel, and FX.[1][2] Prior to its official air date, it was launched in a streaming format on November 1, 2016.[3] It blends elements of real interviews with a fictional story of a group of astronauts as they land on the planet Mars.

The series is based on the 2015 book How We'll Live on Mars by Stephen Petranek. The narrative alternates between the years 2016, 2033 and 2037, using 2016 interviews to explain events unfolding in the story. The series was filmed in Budapest and Morocco.[4]

A companion book to the series, called Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet, was published in October 2016 detailing the science behind the show.[1] A prequel episode, called Before Mars, was produced and released conjointly with the series. It tells the fictional story of a moment in the life of one of the astronauts, and the decisions they made to get involved in science.[5]

On January 13, 2017, National Geographic announced it was renewing the series for a second season,[6] which will be premiered on November 12, 2018.[7]


In the year 2033, a crew of six astronauts launch from Florida on a journey to be the first people to set foot on Mars. During the descent into the Martian atmosphere, there is a malfunction with their spacecraft, the Daedalus. They land 75.3 kilometres away from their planned habitat. On Earth their progress is being monitored.

Intermixed with the story are real-life interview footage from the year 2016, of the crew, and their mission control; there are interviews with various scientists, and engineers, such as Elon Musk, Andy Weir, Robert Zubrin, and Neil deGrasse Tyson,[4] about the difficulties that the crew might face on a journey to, and living on, Mars.


The cast for the fictional part of the first season includes:[8][9]

  • Ben Cotton as Ben Sawyer, American mission commander and systems engineer.
  • Jihae Kim as
    • Hana Seung, American mission pilot and systems engineer, later mission commander, and
    • Joon Seung, her twin sister and CAPCOM of mission control on Earth, later secretary-general of International Mars Science Foundation, the multi-nation organization funding the Mars expedition.
  • Clémentine Poidatz as Amelie Durand, French mission physician and biochemist.
  • Sammi Rotibi as Robert Foucault, Nigerian mission engineer and roboticist.
  • Alberto Ammann as Javier Delgado, Spanish mission hydrologist and geochemist.
  • Anamaria Marinca as Marta Kamen, Russian mission exobiologist and geologist.
  • Olivier Martinez as Ed Grann, CEO of the Mars Missions Corporation, consortium of private aerospace companies preparing Mars expeditions.
  • Cosima Shaw as Leslie Richardson, a logistical engineer who joins the expedition to oversee the base's expansion.

With the exception of Martinez and Cotton, all of these actors joined the second season, which started production in July 2017.[9]

Series 1 (2016)[edit]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUS viewers
1"Novo Mundo"Everardo GoutStory by : Karen Janszen
Teleplay by : Karen Janszen and Paul Solet
November 14, 2016 (2016-11-14)1.42[10]
In 2033, the first human mission to Mars enters its atmosphere with the commander being injured saving the ship. In the present, SpaceX is attempting to land the world's first reusable rocket.
2"Grounded"Everardo GoutStory by : André Bormanis
Teleplay by : André Bormanis and Paul Solet
November 21, 2016 (2016-11-21)0.974[11]
The Daedalus crew battles harsh Martian terrain to reach base camp. Command changes with the death of the original commander. In reality, NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly undergoes a mission on the International Space Station, which will be the longest number of continuous days a human has spent in space.
3"Pressure Drop"Everardo GoutStory by : Mickey Fisher
Teleplay by : Mickey Fisher and Paul Solet
November 28, 2016 (2016-11-28)0.795[12]
In 2033, the Daedalus crew struggles to find permanent shelter, which hinges on locating a water source. Currently, the European Space Agency and Roscosmos partner to launch an orbiter.
4"Power"Everardo GoutStory by : Ben Young Mason
Teleplay by : Ben Young Mason and Paul Solet
December 5, 2016 (2016-12-05)0.866[13]
In 2037, four years after Mars colonization, a storm threatens the outpost. In reality, Antarctica serves as a parallel for remote human settlement.
5"Darkest Days"Everardo GoutPaul SoletDecember 12, 2016 (2016-12-12)0.738[14]
In 2037, psychological pressure takes its toll as the crew is trapped in the habitat. A botanist who loses his grip with reality opens an airlock killing himself and several others. In reality, scientists study the effects of extreme isolation.
6"Crossroads"Everardo GoutStory by : André Bormanis
Teleplay by : André Bormanis and Paul Solet
December 19, 2016 (2016-12-19)0.714[15]
In 2037, a devastating tragedy in the colony forces everyone to question the mission. On Earth an upcoming statement (presumably about the mission ending), results instead with an announcement of the discovery of life on Mars. In the present, SpaceX attempts another pioneering launch.

Second season[edit]

The second season will premiere on November 12, 2018[7]. It has a new showrunner, Dee Johnson. Stephen Cragg and Ashley Way join returning director Everardo Gout for Season 2. The second season’s six-part arc jumps ahead several years into the future after the Daedalus astronauts have built a full-fledged colony called Olympus Town. Having established humankind as an interplanetary species, Mars examines the impact that humans have on the Red Planet and the consequences the planet has on us. Esai Morales, Roxy Sternberg, Gunnar Cauthery, Levi Fiehler, Evan Hall, Akbar Kurtha and Jeff Hephner have joined the Season 2 cast.[9][16]

Critical reception[edit]

Mars has received mixed reviews from critics. It holds a 63% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 7.3/10 based on 16 reviews; the critical consensus states: "Ron Howard's direction ensures that Mars is an attractive endeavor, even if the show struggles to move smoothly between its documentary and fictional elements".[17] On Metacritic, it has a score of 59 out of 100 based on 14 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[18]


Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
Saturn Awards Best Television Presentation Mars Nominated [19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Messier, Douglas (November 2, 2016). "National Geographic Channel's 'Mars': Does Art Imitate Life?". Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  2. ^ "National Geographic Presents: Mars". FXNOW. November 3, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  3. ^ Nordine, Michael (November 1, 2016). "'Mars': Watch the First Episode of National Geographic Channel's Miniseries Now". IndieWire. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "National Geographic Channel to Air New Event Series". Broadcast. November 3, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  5. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (May 9, 2016). "Nat Geo Channel's 'Mars' Drama Series Sets Scripted Online Prequel". Variety. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b "Watch MARS on National Geographic". Watch MARS on FOX. Retrieved 2018-07-28.
  8. ^ "National Geographic Channel, Imagine Entertainment, and RadicalMedia redefine television storytelling with global event series, Mars, beginning November 14, 2016". Corus Entertainment. November 3, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c Denise Petski (July 24, 2017). "Mars season 2: Esai Morales, Roxy Sternberg, five more round out cast as production begins". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  10. ^ Welch, Alex (November 15, 2016). "Monday cable ratings: Monday night football and 'WWE Raw' dip". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  11. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 22, 2016). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.21.2016". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  12. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 30, 2016). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.28.2016". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  13. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (December 6, 2016). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.5.2016". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  14. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (December 13, 2016). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.12.2016". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  15. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (December 20, 2016). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.19.2016". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
  16. ^ "Mars' Season 2: Esai Morales, Roxy Sternberg, Five More Round Out Cast As Production Begins". Deadline Hollywood. 24 July 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Mars: Season 1 (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  18. ^ "Mars - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  19. ^ McNary, Dave (March 15, 2018). "'Black Panther,' 'Walking Dead' Rule Saturn Awards Nominations". Variety. Archived from the original on March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.

External links[edit]