NatGeo’s ‘Mars’ pits science against industry
It’s 2042 and the IMSF has established a colony on Mars. But now it needs additional funding that can be raised only through a partnership with private industry, which supplies much of the drama of Season 2 of NatGeo’s hybrid drama/documentary “Mars,” which returns this week.
Premiering Monday, Nov. 12, the six-episode second season finds the astronauts of Olympus Town living on and exploring the Red Planet and its mysteries. But to keep the expensive mission going, it partners with Lukrum Industries, which agrees to provide funding in return for the lucrative rights to Mars’ natural resources. Which puts it in direct conflict with the scientists at the base.
That’s made clear in Monday’s opener, when the Lukrum spacecraft’s entry into the Martian atmosphere sprays Olympus Town with debris and sends everyone diving for cover. Tensions are further heightened when the Lukrum contingent’s commander Kurt Hurrelle (Jeff Hephner, “Chicago Med”) informs base chief Hana Seung (cast returnee Jihae) that they will need to tap into their already limited water supply if they’re to be able to establish their own outpost and survive. Needless to say, Hana and her crew – including hydrologist Javier Delgado (Alberto Ammann), physician Amelie Durand (Clémentine Poidatz), Lt. Commander Mike Glenn (Gunnar Cauthery) and engineer Robert Foucault (Sammi Rotibi) – are less than thrilled with the arrogant newcomers.
At first blush, Hurrelle comes off as a first-class jerk, but Hephner explains he’s merely a guy doing a job in the hopes of making a little money for his wife and young daughter.
“On a very micro level inside that macro is a guy like Kurt,” the actor explains, “and a group of these miners and this corporation who they’re going to help facilitate this financially and help with some of the science while they’re there, but at the same time they’re there to make money and to profit off what Mars has to offer.
“And the documentary side of the show really fits in so well because we see examples on Earth often in our daily life and the creation of our own civil society based on fossil fuels. I mean, that’s been an ugly business but it’s gotten us to this point. So it’s a take-the-good-andthe-bad kind of a moment.”