Netflix released a new show that is billed as a Sci-Fi.
Spoiler Alert…I talk about events that happen in this show and offer advice for a season 2. Binge watch it like I did before you read this unless you are not going to, then enjoy it.
I usually don’t watch TV, much less binge watch a program. As a writer, I have a few things to say about this program.
I want to start with a shout out to Talitha Bateman. Your acting is what made me continue to watch the show. When I write an emotional scene, often, I will include the ‘strings of snot,’ as we have all been there. Those are as important as tears. They make it real. Not only were you visually believable, but for 19 years old, I look forward to seeing what else you show up in. Don’t lose your soul while you live in the lights.
Some of your acting was a little over the top. In the scenes in the hospital, when it is mentioned that you are too comfortable, that scene was unbelievable and jarred me out of the story.
Whoever told you to eat with your mouth open is wrong. It is a total distraction, stop it. If you do that in your real life, go to charm school. As an actress, you can ill afford bad habits.
Hillary Swank…I was lukewarm about her performance. There were times she sold me, and times she fell flat. I think NASA training would have had her emotions totally in check. The model of Patrick Stewart on Next Generation. If you need a female model, pick Janeway from Voyager. Shit happens. As a leader, you have to deal with it. Emotions are not part of the package in that role.
If you were to indeed fall apart on the moon before leaving on a three-year mission, any competent ‘GROUND’ would have scrubbed the mission. In my opinion, this show made women look weak, and I know plenty who could be a Katherine Janeway.
Josh Charles… I had totally empathy for him as a character. He needs to make better progress with his health in Season II.
His daughter and his wife are the focal points at this juncture. His brokenness is established and turning in to a distraction.
Felicia Patti was adorable, and her part was believable. I would love to see her more active in Season 2 if there is indeed a season 2. I would look for other roles quickly, so you are not typecast in that role when your name is mentioned.
Monique Gabriela Again loved her acting. While supporting cast, she sold me.
I have nothing negative to say regarding the other actors. The ones I mentioned carried the show.
There might be too many characters or POV’s to deal with, which are a distraction. I felt like we were doing a lot of head-hopping.
There were way too many flashbacks ‘information dumps’ slowing the pacing of this show to a crawl. NASA would never miss something like RAM’s health issues, which made the attempted airlock and subsequent corona viruses PPE hot zone Epstein Barr BS hit too close to home, not allowing us to have that fantasy we all try to have when watching a show or reading a book.
Mark Ivanir was fun, but, again…the daughter drama was just over the top and took away from the story. From ‘she is not qualified to, I am blind is a stretch.’ The puppet show was amusing, and the character of Misha was likable. I would rather see more of his culture than all of this lost my wife and now I am too broken to be anything but a lowly cosmonaut See, that doesn’t work even in writing.
I have severe issues with him cheating on the eye exam. The concept of space blindness coming on that quickly seems very contrived. I would think their strict training would have him fess up that he was having issues. The thousands of bolts and parts made this scene too long and unbelievable.
Drilling a hole through the side of the ship was unbelievable. Knowing that was a possibility they could have had something to put over the hole with them and ready just in case. If NASA engineers told them where to drill, how could they not hit the water? Sorry, that is poor writing and lack of technical expertise on the writer’s part. As soon as the drill punctured the metal, they would have heard the hiss.
The message of Climate Change was there, but not to the point where it took away from the show itself. The concept of all of the countries working together was good until you had the Chinese pulling strings for propaganda.
Who would agree to that? Why would they agree to that? It makes zero sense.
If the purpose of a mission to Mars is to bring the world together in a Cumbia moment, just possibly, we should have developed a relationship with the entire crew that they had when they landed before they took off. Yes, that removes some conflict, but…the conflict on the ship takes away from the believability of the show.
Instead of drilling a hole, have a micrometeorite punch a hole.
Have them fly through a dense area of them damaging things like the solar panels, limiting the power they can use.
The tension on earth, behind the scenes is one thing. Tension and BS with the crew, not so sure NASA would send up a team that might stab each other in the back if given the opportunity.
Everything that went wrong was predictable, and as a writer, I was looking for it. The only twist, the only thing that I did not expect was the Midnight Mass. That was refreshing and made me like Isaac. Whoever came up with that idea. Good Job!
As a writer, I know what I would do to make a season 2 but, it would change the film from a soap opera into science fiction.
We are Not Alone
When they get to the Pegasus, show evidence that someone or something got to it before them and took most of what they need to survive, leaving, of course, the parts necessary to convert urine into water. Give them just enough to survive while they wait for the second supply ship.
During this time, they must figure out who or what else is living on MARS.
They must wait for the secondary supply ship because if they leave right now, they will die on the return trip.
This lack of supplies forces them to deal with the natives, and they don’t have guns. They will have to invent a weapon to protect the ship from the Martian marauders who are looking for more food.
Flesh out the relationship between Emma and Ram while working the same magic on earth between Josh and Monique.
I love the idea of him as broken and her with a special needs daughter that needs a sister, friend, and father figure. Emma and the crew thought they were going to die and had a fling, making it impossible for them to get back together when they return to earth. Yes, it is a trope but, you already have us going down this road. We already want them to hook up. Emma needs to change the way she feels about Josh.
His daughter and her boyfriend can further the conflict by having her get on the bike and race for a prize. This forces her dad to deal with her as an adult and not a child. Monique assist him with this process and he is amenable because of some strange messages from Emma regarding Ram. She talks about him in just about every email.
Possibly some bacteria gets into their food or water, which messes with their brains…a little. I was thinking the water in the skin of the ship came from the moon…How about a moon virus, or bacteria, from that water which they drank?
Think about it, life on the moon too…
Remember, this is science fiction. All of these complicated subplots need to be sprinkled and not flooded on the screen. Focus on the Martians and protecting the ship while you sprinkle. Maybe they have to track the Martians down to retrieve something they need to make the ship work. Force them in the lion’s den.
Bring in more science and some tense moments with the Martians, whatever they are. I would make them underground creatures that only come out at night… They might look like giant spiders … Spiders that think and act as a collective. Maybe and have a taste for human blood. There was plasma on the supply ship, and now they are vampires…LOL
Seriously, they could be creatures that act as a collective like honeybees or ants.
Ok, that is my two cents worth.
If you have watched it I would love your take.
Much Love -TW