In 1930s, a psychotic drifter who's after the mystery woman who covered his whole body in illustrations that foresee distant future shows three of them (The Veldt, The Long Rain and The Last Night of the World) to a mesmerized traveler.
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>
The American Flag on the astronauts uniforms contains only 48 stars. See more »
[Probably intentional] People on Mars move about in normal Earth gravity, but Mars has only about 38% of the gravitational pull of Earth. 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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This is a British production, made in 1979. The same time as UK's Dr. Who. The production values are almost identical. Of course, there was whimsy in Dr. Who, that made the cheesy effects campy. But still, there they were.
As for the implausibility of a Martian atmosphere and climate like earth's, Bradbury wrote these stories before 1950, when such was considered possible. The producers made a creative choice to retain the conceit that Mars was like Nevada, so the characters wouldn't have to wear space suits all the time.
Those who trash this miniseries because of its production values miss its point. What the Martian Chronicles have going for them are terrific story lines, which the technical problems unfortunately obscure. I can't help thinking Rod Serling took a page from them when he came up with Twilight Zone, with its emphasis on people rather than the technology.
Also fascinating is how the near future is projected. As in 2001: A Space Odyssey, our advancement into space was wildly optimistic, not because it wasn't possible, but because in reality we've lacked the character to see it through. The fact that we should have settlements on Mars by now, if not manned missions to Jupiter, but don't, speaks to how contemptible we are, in choosing rather to pursue personal gratification, while accommodating the barbarous primitives among us. At the end of the Martian Chronicles is an affirmation of what we could yet be, if only we'd decide to stop wallowing in the gutter and once more reach for the stars. Too bad this message is lost on today's fatuous audience.
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