Network: National Geographic Channel
Airs: Mondays at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific
Starring: Jihae, Alberto Ammann, Clementine Poidatz, Sammi Rotibi
Reviewer: Kaitlyn Carter
FA Scorecard: B
Mars is where fiction and reality collide. National Geographic takes viewers on a journey tackling our planet’s challenges and the possible necessity to relocate to our red neighbor. While “big thinkers” like Ellen Stofan, Elon Musk, Andy Weir, Michio Kaku, and others give us the facts in typical National Geographic form, a fictional team of scientists face struggle and hardship as they brave the new world to establish the first colony—Olympus Town—on Mars.
Picking up where episode 1 left off, tensions have eased between the Olympus Town scientists and Lukrum Industries now that the pipeline sharing resources has been completed. Friendships begin to forge, though Olympus Town commander Hana is still skeptical of the corporation’s willingness to assist them in their terraforming efforts. And when Lukrum declares the pipeline no longer necessary, suspicions are aroused. Working together may not be as easy as anticipated, particularly when politicians back on earth are reluctant to get involved. Relations are still strained between Amelie and Javier as Amelie plans to leave Mars and return to earth as soon as the Daedalus—their space craft—arrives after its seven-month journey. But one technicality may keep Amelie stranded on the red planet—permanently.
Episode 2 “Worlds Apart” definitely dragged me into the characters’ story more, and I must admit that the end of this episode is quite emotional. There was also, I felt, better integration between the fictional and documentary portions of the show, which allowed me to enjoy the fictional aspects more. The blending of messages and ideas into the fictional account allowed the dialogue and the story to not feel as forced, particularly when politically-charged ideas are involved. The documentary portions took us into the realities of climate change and interviewed several Greenpeace activists as they sailed protest on an oil rig drilling in the artic. This flowed naturally into a conservation message with our Martian scientists, which subtle, but still effective. I am guessing, determined by the direction that the plot is heading, the conservation message will certainly be revisited in future episodes.
Eager to see what unfolds next, both here and on Mars.