(Since this is my fantasy, we're going to pluck some of these actors out of time periods in the past where, say, Jerry Doyle was not a scary pundit and would conceivably work with Andrea Thompson. Meme rules are at the bottom, after my pretend show.)
"Man's first mission to Mars... may be the last."
"Mars is there, waiting to be reached." - Buzz Aldrin
In 2048, NASA launches the Ares, bound for Mars. On board are 24 of the world's most brilliant scientists and engineers, with a mission to establish a manned outpost on the Red Planet and lay the foundation for further manned missions, terraforming and colonization.
Except... the follow-up missions don't come. Earth drops out of contact, as politics change and the news spins the other way. The Ares mission is abandoned.
Alone on Mars, the unexpected colony is determined to survive and make the planet theirs - whatever it takes.
Warren Bramhall (Mitch Pileggi): Warren, the Ares project lead, has been involved with every Mars initiative to come out of NASA for the last 30 years, as a researcher, a strategist, a tech developer, and a lobbyist. If any one person can be credited with making the Ares project a reality and bringing the team together, it's him. At one point, NASA considered pulling him from the mission because of health concerns, which few people know. As a leader, he's calm, reserved and practical - he has other sides to him, but almost no one gets to see them.
Cara Demetriades (Annabeth Gish): In many ways, Cara is the opposite of Warren's cool head - she is passionate, brilliant, devoted and erratic. An undisputed genius, she holds the vision for terraforming Mars in her head, only held back by the practical limits of science and technology. At her best, Cara is the heart of the team; at her worst, she's an unstable element hampered by fits of mania and depression.
Vera Sergeyevna Semyonova (Torri Higginson): Nicknamed "the ice queen" for both her groundbreaking research of water on Mars and her cold demeanor, Vera is the consummate professional. A native Russian and naturally shy, she feels like an outsider among the primarily American group. She holds out hope that despite decades of remotely gathered evidence to the contrary, once they get to Mars they will find signs of ancient life. As the chief geologist, she spends as much time as she can on the surface, exploring Mars' terrain and history.
Alex Miller (Joe Flanigan): Alex has spent more time in space than anyone else on the team. Denied twice by NASA as a young adult, Alex has excelled through hard work and relentless determination - ultimately achieving his dream to help design, test, and fly the first manned spacecraft destined for another planet. His design and programming skills are needed on Mars, but with the space journey behind them, Alex will struggle to find his place. He harbors a crush on Vera, and in spite of her initial cold response, he longs to win her over.
Diana Jacobsen Howe (Andrea Thompson): Tough, outspoken and used to being in charge, Diana Jacobsen is the world's leading expert in self-sustaining artificial environments. Soon after being recruited from MIT, Diana met and married Gary Acton (Jerry Doyle), and they designed the first "life capsule" which paved the way for a permanent outpost on the moon. When their turbulent marriage collapsed, Diana left JPL to develop biodomes for independent parties, including a deep-sea habitat. She remarried, but she leaves her husband of 7 years on Earth for the chance to reclaim her passion for space.
Gary Acton (Jerry Doyle): Gary's perfectly aligned low-gravity structures are in sharp contrast to the disarray of his personal life. Impulsive, belligerent and reckless with relationships both personal and professional, Gary has kept his position at NASA only because it would be impossible to replace him. Whether he loves or hates Diana - and often it's both - the Ares mission can't succeed without them. For Gary, Mars is the enemy - something to be survived, tamed and conquered.
Jesse Akamu (Jason Momoa): From oil rigs to Diana's deep-sea habitat to the international space station, Jesse can fix, build, or repurpose anything - he's Miles O'Brien with tattoos. Despite a less than clean-cut appearance and an impressive Iron Man record, Jesse is soft-spoken and shy. His attention to detail and singleminded focus on any project makes him indispensable, but can prevent him from seeing the bigger picture. As a result, he's easily swayed by his more charismatic teammates, particularly Aylee Tremblay (Nicole deBoer).
Malcolm Wright (Cirroc Lofton): Malcolm became a brief media sensation at age 12 when he came across a theoretical problem his mother, a physics professor, had posed to her graduate students... and sketched out a solution that, as the then-chief of NASA said, "in one day, changed the colonization of other worlds from a dream to an inevitability." As a scientist and a man, "the Boy Wonder" has been living in his own shadow. Warren sees himself as a mentor and believes the Ares mission is Malcolm's chance to reach his potential.
Aylee Tremblay (Nicole deBoer): Specializing in the effects of space travel, Aylee is not only responsible for the immediate health of the team but for the long-term viability of human colonies in space. Prone to infatuation and obsession and gifted with a persuasive charm, when she loses perspective she often brings others along for the ride. Once the team is stranded, Aylee is determined to ensure sustainable human life on Mars - and to bear the first native Martian child.
Mars: The characters have intense, deeply personal relationships with the world they're stranded on - for Cara, Mars is a dream, to Gary an adversary, to Vera a puzzle, for Aylee, almost a lover. The planet itself is dead, empty rock... almost.
I'm kind of obsessed with this now! Would anyone read serialized (and wildly scientifically inaccurate) episodic stories about this once sparktober is done? If not, I'll probably write it anyway, so no pressure. :-P In some ways, this is inevitably going to be fanfic of Kim Stanely Robinson's Red Mars with a much narrower scope, but, you know, I'm totally pro-fanfic. Thanks go to havocthecat for helping with my characters (and Das Boy for giving me the title). I'm declaring the theme song will have to be an instrumental version of Bowie's Life on Mars?. Because. Of course.
So here's The Deal:
You post a comment on this entry requesting to play.
In return, I will give you a list of seven actors. (I may look at your profile for a refresher on your fandoms, so consider this a perfect time to update your Interests section!)
Then YOU will go back to your LJ and do a quickie show bible. The show bible includes:
A one-paragraph blurb on what the show is about (like you get in TV Guide)
What character each actor is playing (you don't need character names, but you do need a description
For extra credit, a sketch of a plot arc or two OR a couple of two-sentence teasers for first-season episodes.
If you choose to cast a few more "roles" in your write-up, all the more awesome!
Then you post The Deal at the end of your entry, and for anyone who comments on your post and wants to play, give them a list of seven actors.