Friday, April 21, 2023

Fired on Mars

Fired on Mars is a new animated sci fi show on HBO Max. Unfortunately, this is a slow, boring portrait of a man who gets fired and falls into a long depression. I barely got through the pilot episode without turning off the TV and picking up a book.

The pilot episode ignored some of the most basic requirements of a good storytelling: 1. Give your character a goal to achieve and 2. build a believable world.

Jeff Cooper (voiced by Luke Wilson) is a graphic designer who gave up his life to travel to Mars. But 8 months after arriving, the company eliminates his position. This leaves him with nothing to do, and no way to return home. So he falls into a terrible depression. He tries once or twice to let people know that he's available to work, but no one cares.

The worldbuilding is absolutely terrible. The office, even though it's on Mars, looks like any typical office from the 1990s. Brightly lit, spacious, and everyone in open cubicles. It could easily be on Earth. The computers look like iMacs (which I've never seen in a real office) from the late 1990s. Close ups show them running Mac OS 5 or 6 (which were obsolete by the time iMacs were produced) and software that looks like MacDraw from the 1980s. Yet Jeff has a modern smart phone that provides instant communication between Earth and Mars. 

The banal and superficial dialogue makes all the characters sound like idiots. Worse, nothing in the dialogue contributes to the worldbuilding. Most of this dialogue could have occurred in any generic company anywhere on Earth 30 years ago.

 I don't know what HBO was thinking when they produced this show. But I will not watch a second episode.

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