Survive Mars
When Mars was "Scary"
Past Mars


Past Mars

Mars in "Space"
by: Bert Ehrmann

Think back. Past the summer of 1999, '98, '97, '96, all the way back to the summer of 1995. I remember that I was just starting my second year of College, taking classes like Graphic Design and Painting. That summer I was working at K Mart when a god of a show emerged onto the networks, SPACE: ABOVE AND BEYOND.

   Although I initially missed the pilot episode I eventually saw it several weeks later. During that episode, there was a specific portion of the show that took place on the planet Mars. During this episode, Marine trainees were sent out to the planet Mars to further their training in a "hostile combat environment". Unfortunately for the trainees, they soon discover that the enemy has crash landed on Mars and aren't to happy to see the trainees already on planet. What follows is a fire fight and a POW situation.

The producers of SPACE: ABOVE AND BEYOND choose to use a desert in Australia for their "On Earth" Mars. Although the sands of this desert were naturally a very earthly tan, through the use of VFX, the sands and skys were soon turned to a more "Mars Friendly" red/orange.

   In the episode, the viewer gets to see just what a "hostile combat environment" is when one of the trainees is killed during the fire fight and another almost dies when her air supply is compromised. Mars is shown as just what it is, a beautiful planet that can show beautiful vistas in one minute and take your life the next.

   In the episode, Mars came across as a kind of Antarctica: a place where scientists live and work at, but is still a dangerous place to be. I got the feeling that there were several colonies on the planet and a terraforming project was in the works.

   It's too bad that SPACE: ABOVE AND BEYOND had to die. Few other science fiction shows were brave enough to deal with the Solar System. Most shows take place in the far off Galaxy (STAR TREK, LOST IN SPACE, etc). I have the feeling that we'll be seeing less and less of the planet Mars on prime time t.v. and more and more of the far off planet Zavrox Prime.



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