Writer/Director: Erik Saras
Voice Cast: Sam Boase-Miller, Shannon Lovely, Dan Lovely, Aba Woodruff, Anya Zicer, Aramis Martinez, James Fouhey, Stephanie Hsu, Merissa Morin, Sergey Nagorny, Jordan Cobb, Yelena Shmulenson & Cooper as Luna
Seasons (as of this review): 2 (17 episodes)
Website: Marsfall Website
My Rating of Marsfall: 4.5 out of 5
This is the first podcast I have ever reviewed so apologies to those involved in the creation of the show if it’s not a well-written/structured one or how podcasts are normally reviewed. I decided that, seeing as how I review audio books, and this is essentially telling a story just in serialised form, I might as well review this as I would audio books.
Marsfall was one of those things I accidentally stumbled across on Google when searching for a few suggestions for awesome fantasy or sci-fi podcasts. I had just blasted my way through the majority of Black Tapes and wanted something different to sink my teeth into that didn’t focus around the paranormal. When I saw the blurb for Marsfall, I knew that fit the bill in ways no other podcast could.
I mean what’s not to love about the idea of humanity trying to colonize Mars? I downloaded it to Podcast Addict and dove right in.
The general premise of Marsfall is that humanity has tried their level best to colonize Mars. The show follows the a group of colonists aiming at setting up the first permanent colony on the red planet. As you can imagine; the harsh reality of space travel hit them with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Our colonists soon discover just how hard life can be when you’re on an entirely different planet and the things you take for granted suddenly start to go wrong.
The show covers pretty much every range of emotions that anyone could expect or hope for and, for the more sensitive viewers, there is a trigger warning before each and every episode detailing the potential triggers that occur in each episode (suicide references, simulated battle, death or extreme medical situations). Personally, this was the only aspect of the show I did not like and the only thing that stopped me giving it a 5 out of 5. I can see why they put the trigger warnings in but I also feel that by saying ‘this episode contains a battle and death’ you’re just full-on giving your audience a massive spoiler. I would prefer that they just take every possible trigger warning for things that might occur in the series and just play it as one generic message at the start of each episode. That way we know that all of those things will occur throughout the series but not that this episode will feature a character death.
From the very first episode you can tell you’re onto something special with Marsfall. The production quality is way up there and the voice acting is superb. Considering its a podcast and all you hear is the voices and the surrounding sounds from the environment, you really need to hit a home run with your voice actors, and Marsfall did that. They also smashed it out of the park with the sound effects as well, managing to create a truly immersive world that got me through those slow days at work.
I have a few favourites as far the vocals and character work go. My all time favourite is Commander Jacki O’Rania (voiced by Shannon Lovely). Not only does Shannon have the most lovely voice (not a pun, just the best way to describe it … honest) but it fits the character in such a way that I couldn’t fathom any other actress playing the role. The character is also such a driven woman and, despite having given up so much by leaving for Mars (friends, family, girlfriend etc …) she doesn’t let it get to her as much as some of the other colonists, so she’s a tough cookie. Just what you need in a commander, despite the fact that giving a civilian artist the role of commander might be seen as unorthodox. So I like the fact she is trying to prove her doubters wrong with every breath,
You then have the ultimate bromance between Chip (voiced by Sam Boase-Miller) and Andi (Dan Lovely). Chip is the colony’s chief engineer and Andi is their AI. On a world where 95% of the human population distrusts the artificial intelligence and his role within the colony, it’s cool to see Chip go to bat for Andi as often as he does, even when it could easily mean people ostracizing him for it (to be fair, he is the head engineer, so I suppose they have to cut him some slack and can’t just full on kick him out, but still. I loved that bond the two of them had).
I have so many things I could say about each character but I’ll stop myself from doing that otherwise I’ll just spoil the entire thing.
If you haven’t heard about Marsfall but love a good science-fiction drama, go for this one. Each episode is only 25-40 mins long so they are nice, manageable chunks. It is also only 17 episodes old, so it won’t take long to catch up. You don’t have that daunting task of blasting your way through dozens upon dozens of episodes.
Seeing as how I came to the party late, I had the pleasure of getting to just power through both seasons. The only downside of powering through, is that I now have to wait alongside everyone else for season 3.
If you love quality story-telling and want to try something a little bit different to the norm, please visit their website (Marsfall Podcast) and give episode one a try. Or download it to your favourite podcast streaming service. It’s free to listen so you have absolutely nothing to lose and plenty of enjoyment to gain.
For those who think it sounds like it could be too sci-fi heavy, don’t worry about that. Surprisingly it actually feels very light on the sci-fi given the overall story. Genuinely is the kind of science fiction that the majority of people could listen to and enjoy without having to be too into the genre.