Mars

DRAMA Na­tional Geo­graphic HD, 8pm

TV & Satellite Week - - Hot List -

As sea­son two opens, it is 2042 and the sci­en­tists have been liv­ing on Mars for nearly a decade when a mys­te­ri­ous deadly ill­ness sweeps through the colony.

new Sci-fi Mars

Sun, na­tional Geo­graphic HD, 8pm

THE FIRST SE­RIES of Mars fol­lowed a group of in­trepid as­tro­nauts in 2033 as they over­came freez­ing tem­per­a­tures, fa­tal­i­ties and a lack of oxy­gen to set up the first hu­man colony on the red planet.

This week, as the docu­d­rama re­turns to Na­tional Geo­graphic, the ac­tion has jumped for­ward nine years. The as­tro­nauts have suc­cess­fully es­tab­lished a colony called Olym­pus Town and, with the help of other set­tlers, are busy ‘ter­raform­ing’ Mars into a less hos­tile land­scape.

‘It’s be­come a real city, a real civil­i­sa­tion,’ says Clé­men­tine Poi­datz, who plays sur­geon Dr Amelie Du­rand. ‘There’s even a bar where the colonists can so­cialise.’

How­ever, with pri­vate cor­po­ra­tions now fund­ing the mis­sion, ten­sions are run­ning high be­tween the sci­en­tists and the ex­ec­u­tives from Lukrum In­dus­tries, a mining com­pany that is mak­ing a profit by ex­ploit­ing the min­er­als found on the red planet.

CON­FLICT OF IN­TER­EST

Head­ing up Lukrum In­dus­tries is Com­man­der Kurt Hur­relle, a high-fly­ing ex­ec­u­tive who sees Mars in terms of dol­lars rather than dis­cov­ery.

‘The new se­ries pits the sci­en­tists against the in­dus­tri­al­ists,’ says Jeff

Heph­ner, who joins the cast as Hur­relle. ‘My char­ac­ter wants to get the job done, and has no in­ter­est in the sci­ence.

He’s not a com­plete vil­lain, though. He is gen­uinely con­cerned about the well­be­ing of his work­ers and you do see a softer side to him.’

Part of that softer side comes from his re­la­tion­ship with his daugh­ter Chelsea, who is played in the se­ries by Heph­ner’s own daugh­ter, Shea. ‘I have three kids and we’ve all got a kick out of learn­ing more about space – the show has ig­nited a real pas­sion in all of us,’ he ex­plains.

Like the first se­ries, the new six-part run in­ter­cuts the drama with doc­u­men­tary footage. Space ex­perts, in­clud­ing Elon Musk, talk about the race to the red planet, while ecol­o­gists re­veal how cor­po­ra­tions are ru­in­ing parts of Earth by ex­ploit­ing its nat­u­ral re­sources – and warn that the same could eas­ily hap­pen on Mars.

HARSH RE­AL­ITY

‘I love the doc­u­men­tary parts,’ says Poi­datz.‘they re­ally make you think about what we are do­ing to our planet. Some parts had me in tears.’

The French ac­tress had a hap­pier time when it came to film­ing her own scenes. While the first se­ries was filmed in Morocco, the pro­duc­ers shot most of the new se­ries in Hun­gary us­ing green-screen tech­nol­ogy.

‘When we filmed in Morocco it was so hot, our shoes were melt­ing. We were los­ing our minds and it was re­ally hard for the crew,’ she re­calls. ‘This time, we shot on green screens with lots of sand shipped in. You had to use your imag­i­na­tion. It felt like be­ing in a big Hol­ly­wood movie.’

IN­DUS­TRI­AL­ISTS ARE MINING MARS FOR ITS NAT­U­RAL RE­SOURCES THE SCI­EN­TISTS MUSTNOW SHARE THE PLANET WITH MIN­ERS CLÉ­MEN­TINE POI­DATZ AS AMELIE DU­RAND

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