The Martian Chronicles

The Martian Chronicles

1980 - United States

With the popularity of the mini-series in America during the later years of the 1970s it was only a matter of time before television makers turned to the genre of science fiction as a source of drama. 

NBC-TV made two series of this type; the first was Brave New World adapted from Aldous Huxley's novel of the same name and the second was also adapted from a book: Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles (known in the UK as The Silver Locusts), first published in 1950. 

The story dealt with man's colonisation of the planet Mars and the title refers, not to the indigenous species, but to Mankind, who arrive on the planet in silver rockets that blight the beautiful Martian landscape. The book then deals with the deliberate destruction of the Martian way of life. The book was adapted into a teleplay by Richard Matheson who had written scripts for The Twilight Zone, Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Star Trek

The main character in the TV version, Colonel Wilder, played by Rock Hudson, was not so central to the plot in the original novel and although he led the first mission to Mars (as in the TV version) he was killed as he attempted to explore other regions of the solar system. The series was originally scheduled for broadcast over three consecutive nights during September 1979 but internal politics at NBC meant it was delayed until January 1980. 

Although received well by viewers and critics, the series did not bring about a flood of science fiction series and it wasn't until V came along in the mid-1980s that the genre was successfully tried again.

Published on January 3rd, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.

Read Next...

The Adventure Game

The brainchild of Patrick Dowling and devised with the help of Ian Oliver, The Adventure Game was inspired by the early text-based computer game of Dungeons and Dragons and had elements of Douglas Adams' radio comedy The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Also released in 1980

Roy Thinnes in The Invaders

When David Vincent gets lost on a country road he stumbles across visitors from another planet. But will anyone ever believe him?

Also tagged Scifi

Button Moon

The adventures of Mr. Spoon who would travel to Button Moon in his homemade rocket-ship. All of the characters were based on kitchen utensils...

Also released in 1980

Battlestar Galactica

A band of humans who, fleeing the destruction of their twelve homeworlds by the implacable cybernetic alien race the Cylons, strike out in their rag-tag fleet protected by the last surviving Battlestar, the Galactica, in search of their mythical lost colony.

Also tagged Scifi

Brendon Chase

Classic children's story shown over thirteen episodes concerning the Hensman brothers, Robin, John and Harold, who spend eight months living as outlaws in the forest of Brendon Chase.

Also released in 1980

Dark Angel

In the year 2020 the world is left paralysed by an electromagnetic pulse that freezes technology in its tracks. Enter into this dark dystopian future - Max - a genetically enhanced human being.

Also tagged Scifi

McMillan and Wife

San Francisco Police Commissioner teams up with his wife to solve crimes.

Also tagged Rock Hudson

Hi-De-Hi

Fun and laughter in a British holiday camp...

Also released in 1980

Farscape

Astronaut John Crichton is on a test flight of his module, Farscape 1, when a spatial wormhole opens directly in his path.

Also tagged Scifi