The Martian Chronicles (1980 series)

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Martian Ruins depicted in The Martian Chronicles (1980 series)...

Summary

"The Martian Chronicles... a warning to all mankind." Adapted from the collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury, this miniseries follows the attempt by humans to colonize Mars amidst the ruins and ghosts of a fallen Martian civilization, as told through a series of loosely-connected short stories.

Details

  • Release Date: 1969
  • Country/Language: US/UK, English
  • Genres/Technical: Sci-fi, Fantasy, Drama
  • Runtime: 6 hrs
  • Starring: Rock Hudson, Gayle Hunnicutt, Bernie Casey
  • Director: Michael Anderson
  • Writer: Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson
  • Producer/Production Co: Charles Fries Productions, Stonehenge Productions, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
  • View Trailer: (link)

Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: (no rating) (perhaps equivalent to a PG, for 1960s TV-friendly Violence and Adult Content)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • S____ (One Tentacle: Debateably Lovecraftian; has almost no direct connection to Lovecraft's work)

This is definitely more a "Bradburyan" than "Lovecraftian" creation, but the sometimes pessimistic storytelling, along with the alien ruins and the ghosts that haunt them, are a theme that wouldn't be too far out of place in stories by Clark Ashton Smith (such as "The Vaults of the Yoh-Vombis (fiction)", "Vulthoom (fiction)", "The Dweller in the Gulf (fiction)"), or even Lovecraft (compare loosely to "In the Walls of Eryx (fiction)"....)

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.

Reviews

Review Links:

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Synopsis

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

Adapted from the collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury, this miniseries follows the attempt by humans to colonize Mars amidst the ruins and ghosts of a fallen Martian civilization, as told through a series of loosely-connected short stories.

  • Episode One, The Expeditions:
    • "Rocket Summer": after an unmanned probe lands on Mars, NASA argues over whether Mars is inhabited. If the probe had only landed a few miles away, things might be different....
    • "Ylla": A Martian woman, trapped in a loveless marriage, dreams of the first Earthmen landing on Mars, while her jealous husband waits in ambush....
    • "Mars is Heaven!": The second Martian expedition finds an idyllic exact replica of 1920s era small town on Earth....
    • "And the Moon be Still as Bright - The Settlers": A third Martian expedition finds the Martians wiped out from Chicken Pox spread by the earlier expeditions. The crew are divided over whether it is right to colonize Mars, and fighting breaks out among the explorers...
  • Episode Two, The Settlers:
    • "The Locusts": Human survivors of the last expedition return in force with a horde of colonists desperately fleeing a troubled Earth.
    • "The Fire Balloons": Colonists encounter godlike disembodied Martian "Old Ones"....
    • "The Martian": Colonists encounter a shape-shifting Martian survivor, one of the last Martians....
    • "The Off Season": After most of the colonists are evacuated from Mars to Earth to prepare for nuclear war, one of the few remaining colonists is greeted by one of the last Martians; the colonist panics and shoots the Martian, and other Martians arrive to deliver their fallen comrade's message: they are giving half of Mars to the colonists! The colonists receive the news with mixed emotions, as a nuclear apocalypse begins on Earth....
  • Episode Three, The Martians:
    • "The Watchers": The remaining Martian colonists watch as the nuclear apocalypse destroys civilization on Earth, rendering most humans on Earth extinct....
    • "The Silent Towns": A man who believes himself to be the last human is going mad from loneliness, when his phone rings....
    • "The Long Years": An expedition of survivors from Earth arrive on Mars, and respond to a signal from a colonist hermit and tinkerer and his family. It soon becomes apparent that something is strange about the family....
    • "The Million-Year Picnic": After learning that Earth is uninhabitable and Mars is all that is left, small group of the last humans go to a Martian canal to see the first Martians....


Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

  • In an early draft of the short story "Usher II" (not included in the miniseries), in which an eccentric colonist defies the interference of Earth censorship banning all fantasy fiction by erecting a reproduction of Edgar Allan Poe's "House of Usher" on Mars, populated with android copies of important literary figures, H.P. Lovecraft appeared as one of the android characters; the android Lovecraft eats ice cream while huddled beside a roaring fire, writing letters to all the other literary figures living in the same house.


Associated Mythos Elements


Keeper Notes