Star Trek: Short Treks: Children of Mars
January 10, 2020 7:23 PM - Season 2, Episode 6 - Subscribe

12 year-old classmates Kima and Lil find themselves at odds with each other on a day that will change their lives forever.

Memory Alpha wishes you could swim, like the dolphins, the dolphins can swim:

- This is the second Star Trek: Short Treks episode not set in the 23rd century, after "Calypso", and is the first episode set in the late 24th century as a continuation of where the timeline left off after the events of Star Trek Nemesis and Star Trek.

- This is the first episode to be credited as "based upon Star Trek: The Next Generation created by Gene Roddenberry" instead of "based upon Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry".

- Similarly, while the title cards of all previous Short Treks were in the typeface used for Star Trek: Discovery, the title card of this episode is in Crillee, the typeface used for episode titles and credits in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

- The music heard in the first part of the episode is the cover of David Bowie's "'Heroes'" done by Peter Gabriel.

Poster's Log:

Another Short Trek that's pretty short (just under eight minutes, including the credits), but conveys a fair amount of info in that time. Mars is attacked by "rogue synths", whatever that means (new threat or related to previous Trek AIs?); one of the facilities that is mentioned at the beginning, and presumably attacked, is Utopia Planitia, where many of the TNG-era class ships were built and where Benjamin Sisko worked between Wolf 359 and being assigned to Deep Space Nine. The shuttle that acts as a school bus for the kids looks DSC-era, and at least one of the ships in drydock at Utopia Planitia is a Magee-class like the ill-fated Cabot in "The Trouble With Edward." AFAIK, we've never seen Kima's race (which has blue blood) before. And, of course, we see Admiral Jean-Luc Picard respond to the attack, as this is a mini-prequel to Picard. The flavor of this short is very much that of a space 9/11, which we've seen before in the franchise.

Poster's Log, supplemental: There is, in fact, another short film titled "Children of Mars"--a 1943 short film that has scant info on Wikipedia, aside from it having been nominated for an Oscar.
posted by Halloween Jack (7 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
"Oh, it's about kids. We can watch this one with the boy. I don't want to read the summary and get spoiled, just put it on."

Folks, don't be me.
posted by jordemort at 9:36 PM on January 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

I knew I recognized that font.

The use of that song struck me as heavy-handed. It made everything seem like a teaser, not a sort-of episode of a sort-of series. Well, either a teaser or a PSA.

The following exchange took place on my sofa during the fight scene.
MRS.: Girls wouldn't do this! They'd just post shit about each other on social media.
ME: Well, they ARE Martians.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 10:07 AM on January 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

The song choice was probably one of the things that made me think of 9/11; Bowie played it at the Concert for New York City.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:08 PM on January 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

MRS.: Girls wouldn't do this! They'd just post shit about each other on social media.

Maybe in communist space utopia they don't have social media because they've realized what a terrible idea it is.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:51 PM on January 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

The song took me completely out of it, because I didn't enjoy this cover - and it made it look like a PSA rather than a story about believable characters. I wish this had more of a fleshed out narrative rather than being a lengthy teaser for PICARD alone.
posted by crossoverman at 1:06 AM on January 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

blog post: Searching for the "Children of Mars" (Alison Pitt, Daily Star Trek News)
My first thought was: what if the next Short Treks episode is actually an adaptation of this short film from the 40s? In 1943, World War II was still raging, so a short documentary could actually make a really interesting choice for a science fiction adaptation.

So I went down the rabbit hole.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:07 AM on January 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

I found a lot of the plot reflected poorly on the writers' imagination. It seems they directly lifted 80s tropes and added future tech as shiny.

Missing the shuttle by 10s and being late (no automated student checklist? transporters too expensive?) , note being passed and getting in trouble (would you have auto accept enabled in school from someone you don't like?), etc. etc. Then again I may be expecting too much from what is mostly science fantasy.
posted by Marticus at 2:50 PM on January 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

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