Earth sends its first manned probe to Mars in 1999, and a jealous Martian murders the two astronauts when his wife has erotic dreams of meeting them. Members of a subsequent expedition are hypnotized into believing that they have landed in the childhood community of their leader and have been reunited with deceased family and friends, and they are poisoned by the Martians. Col. John Wilder leads a third expedition and learns that a chicken pox virus brought to Mars by the first two expeditions has almost eradicated the Martian population. A member of Wilder's team becomes obsessed with protecting Mars from Earthman and murders some of the others in Wilder's party, before Wilder kills him. Colonists arrive on Mars to settle, among them priests seeking God, and a lone Martian masquerades as the most desired persons of various settlers. Global war on Earth reduces man's natal planet to radioactive waste, and most of the settlers returned there prior to the holocaust. Wilder struggles to ...Written by
Kevin McCorry <email@example.com>
A 90 minutes version, edited out of three episodes of the series, was theatrically released in France a year before the complete version was weekly aired on television. See more »
In the opening scene of "The Expeditions", the wires used to slowly lower the Mars probe are visible. See more »
Maj. Jeff Spender:
You know, a race creates itself for a million years, refines itself, does everything it can to give itself respect and beauty, and then it dies - part in its own time, with dignity as it should be, but the other part... Does it perish of some majestic affliction? No, it doesn't. It dies of a disease that does not kill the youngest child on Earth. It's like saying that the Greeks died of mumps. Or the Roman Empire was decimated by athlete's foot.
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Probably another chapter might have been needed for The Martian Chronicles mini-series to have gotten in all of what Ray Bradbury had to say in his epic science fiction work about first contact. It certainly wasn't like Star Trek's First Contact to say the least.
After a couple of failed expeditions that did not return to Earth from Mars in what was projected in 1980 to be the last dozen years or so right now, Rock Hudson the head of NASA heads the third expedition himself. He finds a presumably dead planet, but are these Martians really dead?
The 'Martians' we do meet seem to be at all levels of human development and way in advance of us on Earth. I can see where Gene Roddenberry got his ideas for the Talosian characters who can change appearance and for the incorporeal Organians for Star Trek. We'll meet both kinds in The Martian Chronicles.
Two characters really stand out for me. First is Fritz Weaver as Father Peregrine who together with Roddy McDowall has come to bring Christianity to Mars. But how do you explain religion to beings way in advance of your development. In fact though it's the Christian religion that is used here, all religions on Earth don't take into account other beings on other worlds. Every founder of every religion only had a view of the world he was on. When 'Jesus' played by Jon Finch appears to Fritz Weaver the Martians can't even grasp the nature of Weaver's conception of him. Makes for a very interesting scene.
Secondly Bernie Casey does in the old English colonial term, 'goes native' on Rock Hudson, he so identifies with the Martians as a race potentially to be exploited just as folks originating in his part of Earth were. Casey raises some interesting questions about the morality of what the Earth people are doing. There is war threatening on Earth to annihilate mankind. How many science fiction movies have as their premise a dying race coming to Earth to take it over and enslave mankind? Food for thought.
There's still enough of Ray Bradbury's ideas in this mini-series to make The Martian Chronicles good viewing. One thing I would like to say, as advanced as the Martians are, you would think that what killed them is something they would have taken measure to prevent a long time ago.
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