The best additions to Amazon Prime Video in December 2018
Here are our top Amazon Prime Video picks for December 2018:
Here are our top Amazon Prime Video picks for December 2018:
Christmas might not typically be the time of year we associate with on demand, but this year Netflix has taken a step up.
Prepare to be spoilt for choice over the festive season with festive specials, top notch drama and the returns of some of our favourite Netflix Originals.
Here are our top Netflix picks for December 2018:
The big American party we’re not invited to is here.
Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrating the harvest, but we mostly know it from consuming lots of American media. It’s an excuse to have time off work and eat Christmas dinner a month early (while still also eating it at Christmas – win!).
Being such a well known time of the year, it’s also the setting of quite a few films – so us Brits can experience Thanksgiving too.
Here are some of our favourites on Netflix, Amazon and Now TV:
Humans have landed on Mars, but what happens next?
National Geographic’s seminal space docu-drama Mars returns tomorrow (Sunday, November 11) for new insights on how humans can live on Mars. Last season, based on real science and predictions for the next two decades, Commander Hana Seung (Jihae) successfully established a human settlement on Mars. What comes next is the hard part.
Mars season two looks at questions of science vs profit, disease and human catastrophe on a foreign planet and whether humans are doomed to plunder and destroy. Ultimately, it asks one huge question: Will humans make the same mistakes on Mars as they have on Earth?
We spoke to members of the cast, production and big thinkers assigned to National Geographic’s most-talked-about show for their thoughts on season two and the future for space exploration.
“One of the crises in this season is space programmes aren’t funded in the way they were previously funded,” reveals newcomer Akbar Kurtha, who portrays medic Dr. Jay Johar. “Now you’ve got private corporations getting involved in the space programme, and once private corporations are involved we’re bringing capitalism to a new planet.
“I think there a lot of interesting dilemmas about the world we will create based on the values we have in our current world. That’s what season’s two’s about.”
Series two sees the International Mars Science Foundation team joined in space by for-profit corporation Vulcrum Industries, bringing science and capitalism into conflict on Mars. “I think the second season’s very realistic in that there’s a tension between the commercial people who arrive on Mars and the scientific people,” says Big Thinker Stephen Petranek, who wrote the book How We’ll Live on Mars on which Mars is based. “There are a lot of scientists who would like to leave Mars as a scientific park forever, which is not going to happen.”
“The second season is more about us,” adds Clementine Poidatz, who portrays doctor Amelie Durand. “There is a conflict between IMSF and Vulcrum on Mars for economic reasons. We don’t want to make money out of Mars, we just want to make life. Season one was the survival mission. The stakes were very high. Now it’s been nine years that we’ve been on Mars so life and human nature is explored more in this season.”
The second series uses models of resource extraction on Earth to predict how commercialisation of the Red Planet might start to look. Oil expert Antonia Juhasz was called in to lend her expertise to the show for its second season. She has a bleak outlook on humankind’s history of plundering: “When you look at oil extraction, very often it is the most autocratic governments that have used oil extraction in the most detrimental way without looking at the broader impact on the people who live there and the environments where they are.
“That really can’t be our approach to going to other planets because we’ve seen where that’s led us on this planet.”
“It’s so human of us to think ‘I’ll do it better this time’,” says newcomer Jeff Hephner, who portrays Vulcrum Industries head Kurt Hurrelle. “If our past portends our future, we’re just gonna do the same thing, we’re gonna be humans.
“That’s the negative take on it. The positive take for me is the hopefulness of it. The idea of thinking that there is that possibility we could do it right.”
One small step for woman, one giant leap for diversity.
National Geographic’s Mars is back for a second season and its first mission is smashing down gender roles. After season one saw humans establish a colony on Mars, season two takes us nine years into the future to see what life has become there. Commander Hana Seung (Jihae) is still at the forefront of the mission to make Mars habitable for humans, while Dr. Leslie Richardson (Cosima Shaw) is the new head of the International Mars Science Foundation. It’s a startling and noticeable take on an industry that is usually perceived as predominantly male.
We spoke to members of the cast, production and big thinkers assigned to National Geographic’s most-talked-about show for their thoughts on season two and the representation of female experts in space.
Showrunner Dee Johnson admits that portraying women in power wasn’t meant to be so topical. Johnson, who started work on Mars for season two and previous credits include Nashville, said: “It was set up when I came into season two. There was so much in place already that I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I knew a private company would come and that would be the primary source of conflict, but in addition to that those strong female characters in leadership positions and of course you’re gonna take from your own life.
“I have faced these kinds of leadership decisions and women leaders they have a different experience. This is something I really want to explore. It’s really weird how topical the things we have been exploring in season two would become. Who knew?”
“I think this happened organically in the show,” adds Anamaria Marinca, who portrays exobiologist Dr Marta Kamen on Mars. “The subject matter informed the decisions, and it was a natural thing that [Leslie] become the head of ISMF. It’s like the characters are there, they have a life. It’s the obvious thing to do.”
Meanwhile, Shaw has her own insights. “It’s interesting, we lost two male characters in season one due to bad decision making, but the women survived. The woman who dies in season two dies due to natural causes.” She laughs, before adding: “Maybe Dee’s slightly responsible for it.”
The portrayal of females in prominent positions of leadership on an interplanetary stage suggest some huge questions. What are the fundamental differences between men and women, and how can that affect decision making on a new planet? Shaw believes male and female leaders have some vital differences: “I think we have this classic understanding that men act from their head and women act from their heart, and I think that’s put into question again and again and again throughout the season. We see women in power making difficult decisions that have to come both from the head and the heart.”
The fact of the matter is there are women in science, and plenty in fields that are perceived as predominantly male. Oil expert and Mars consultant Antonia Juhasz thinks such diversity is vital in discussing important world questions. “In season two, the majority of the talking heads are women and there’s a predominance of women of colour. We present different attitudes and a different way of thinking what are the challenges, presenting a much broader sense of answers to the same set of questions.”
Ultimately, the goal is simple. “I hope young women see this and see that there are women in these fields,” admits Johnson. “You kind of get the impression there aren’t, but there are a lot of women in these fields. They just have been invisible. Representation matters. If you see that’s a possibility, then that’s a possibility.”