By: Kimmy Schmidt
National Geographic’s annual 2018 Television Critics Association (TCA) event on July 25 at the Beverly Hilton, Los Angeles was a star-studded evening. Not just because of the network’s partnerships with megastars like Ron Howard [MARS, Genius], Arianna Huffington [Valley of the Boom], Jeff Goldblum [The Curiosity of Jeff Goldblum], and Gordon Ramsey [Uncharted], to name a few, but also because of rising viewer interest for new perspectives of life on earth and beyond our own star-studded galaxy.
With new seasons on the way for One Strange Rock, MARS, StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Cosmos—there’s a new revival for space exploration and the ratings are coming in hot like the asteroid we need to dodge by going to Mars to begin with. CEO, Courteney Monroe, is the driving force behind the network’s new wave of quality over quantity with programming that is carefully curated with fact-inspired, cutting-edge filmmaking, and culturally relevant storytelling in science, exploration, and adventure. The network is doing what it does best—entertainment with a purpose. And it goes without saying, National Geographic is making space exploration sexy again like it’s the summer of 1969.
Case in point—MARS, a sci-fi docudrama executive produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, which debuted in 2016, reached 36 million viewers globally. Based on the book “How We’ll Live On Mars,” by Stephen Petranek, the show examines the lives of the first pioneers to settle on the red planet and asks fundamental questions surrounding human behavior, i.e. the need for exploration versus the fear of exploitation.
The underlying themes reflect our current social commentary regarding future life on Mars and real-world issues we are facing on Earth today. Viewers will be entertained and educated by both a visually stunning fictional narrative interweaved with documentary footage with experts Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX; Michio Kaku, preeminent theoretical physicist and futurist; Ellen Stofan, former NASA chief; Neil deGrasse Tyson; Bill Nye and more.
During the panel discussion about the series Mars—as if the stars were in alignment themselves—discoveries from a Mars orbiter of a potential lake of water was simultaneously breaking on the news.
MARS 2 premieres in November on National Geographic. Be sure to watch the first season on www.nationalgeographic.com/tv/mars/