The second season of the internationally acclaimed docudrama, "Mars" returned to National Geographics this month.
And showrunner and executive producer, Dee Johnson who wrote episodes 1, 2 and 6 says the even though humans have now made it to Mars - their problems are pretty much the same as when they were here on Earth.
The first season aired in 2016 and was notable for its blending of fiction and science-based documentary, a format the show has maintained and improved.
Now season 2 picks up several years into the development of Olympus Town.
“Season 1 was about the journey to Mars. Now that the journey is complete, season 2 digs deeper into each characters. The show looks at the prospect of colonisation, capitalism and the exploration of science. So things are the same on the red planet except for people living in a dome,” said Johnson about the new season.
Johnson penned more than 70 episodes of television over three decades and worked on more than 12 series, including "Melrose Place", "The Good Wife", "Profiler", "Any Day Now" and "Nashville" - but "Mars" is the first fictional show that she’s written.
“I hadn’t done this genre before, but it’s renewed my interest for Mars. I’ve always had a fascination towards the planet and I’d often think what it would be like to live here - and maybe if they had a return ticket, I would definitely want to go,” she said.
She said the show also appealed to her because it had an Asian women commander.
“Seeing Asian faces on American shows is not popular. I was intrigued by the casting of this show, especially with the Asian woman commander. It was also good knowing that the show was the second most-watched show here, so fingers crossed for season 2,” said Johnson.
She said the show is 75 percent scripted and 25 percent fact and thorough research had to be done where scripting of each episode.
“There was a small staff who wrote the six episodes and we worked very closely. So the scripts would go through me and then a documentary staff for fact checking. Because while we are telling a story, we still want to portray the facts of the planet that have been scientifically proven,” said Johnson.
She said she can not wait for viewers to watch the second because it would change their perspective.
“It’s a show that makes living on Mars feel reachable. The questions asked are relevant - and it speaks to our human drive to move forward and explore. It will excite young people and hopefully they will revisit the possibility of doing this. It’s a really cool show,” she said.
"Mars" airs on Sundays on National Geographics at 8pm.