Review | The Mars Generation

By Daniel Hart
Published: December 17, 2017 (Last updated: January 18, 2024)
Netflix Original The Mars Generation

Netflix Original The Mars Generation

Director Michael Barnett
Writer(s) Michael Barnett, Michael Mahaffie
Rating PG
Release Date January 20, 2017

What’s this?

When you read the reports about Mars, the planet is almost convenient. In the grand scheme of the ever-expanding universe, Mars is our close neighbour or a potential second home. Almost ironically, Mars offers us a second chance to retain humankind. Let’s be honest, our planet is on its backside and whilst governments are trying to balance the economies, the unspoken truth is that the biggest threat is an impending natural or man-made disaster. And whilst my colleague and friend Jonathon Wilson recently revealed on the reviews round-up show that he doesn’t believe we landed on the moon, I’d like to be a bit more enthusiastic about our chances.

Netflix Original The Mars Generation provides space travelling enthusiasts like me a beacon of hope.

What’s Netflix Original The Mars Generation all about?

Initially, it is about a group of young aspiring scientists working for NASA. Each individual aspires to go to Mars one day. In fact, one declares that, “If I went to Mars and died then I would not care because at least I’d be achieving my ultimate dream”. The Mars Generation shows off our elite intelligent young who displace themselves from the bullshit world that we live in and reside in laboratories trying to get important developments done. The Netflix Original does a worthy job of providing an idea of how this courageous generation thinks, but also gives credible insight to what it is like working in the space programme at NASA. Ultimately, you are potentially watching people who may be on Mars one day. That’s if we do not fake it like moon conspiracists will make you believe.

The Mars Generation is also political.

Political how?

The range of different topics is where the documentary suffers. At the same time, it benefits from the knowledge it provides to the audience. It is not just about the next generation of space travellers. It does not have a sole focus that it lays its eyes on. A large part of this feature gives you the history of NASA, the space race and US governments. The materials brought forward gives you an idea of how space programs work and what needs to happen politically in order for a project to pass. For instance, it shows President John F. Kennedy’s enthusiasm for space exploration and technology.

On the flipside, it shows other presidents, including tangerine-face Trump, showing little enthusiasm. The argument the documentary is trying to bring forward is that funding is key and it is affected heavily by changing political landscapes. The reason why the documentary suffers is that it does not know what is the most important message. The Mars Generation tries to amalgamate as many topics as possible in hope of making a satisfying documentary.

So there is not a sole focus in Netflix Original The Mars Generation?

Not at all. The documentary tries to piece everything together but offers no clear direction. Ultimately you get the message; we need more funding for space exploration and to save the human race. I struggled to understand whether the feature wanted to come across as controversial or serious about their points. I am always wary when documentaries use Donald Trump as an example. The agenda should be above him.

Netflix The Mars Generation

What should be the sole focus?

The kids. The moments where they are focusing on their projects are the most inspiring. I understand that may not be the point, however, they obviously truly represent the Mars generation that could elevate space travel to the next level.

In the end, I wanted the documentary to offer more and provide an explanation of how the young people could, in theory, go to Mars without a political angle. End of the day, if anyone is going to win, team science will defeat team politics.


If you are genuinely interested in space, yes. If you are looking for a solid documentary, no.

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