Our favorite Martians: 10 memorable versions of Mars (and Martians) on the screen

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Mars may be the fourth planet from the sun, but it’s at the top of the list when it comes to Hollywood’s interest in planets other than Earth.

The latest movie to set its sights on Mars is “John Carter,” Walt Disney Pictures’ big-screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ series of novels about a Civil War soldier who becomes the red planet’s greatest hero. In the film, the title character finds himself unexpectedly transported to Mars and caught in the midst of a massive war between the various native inhabitants, which include the humanoid Red Martians, the savage, four-armed Green Martians, and the massive White Apes.

Still, the wildly differing races represented in “John Carter” are far from the only memorable depictions of Mars’ residents to appear on the big screen.

Here are ten more Hollywood versions of Mars — or Martians — that are hard to forget.

“Cowboy Bebop” (1998-99, 2001)

One of the greatest anime series ever made, “Cowboy Bebop” spanned 26 episodes and a feature film (“Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”) released in 2001. Director Shinichirō Watanabe’s music-fueled, sci-fi masterpiece unfolded years after a scientific experiment caused the destruction of Earth’s moon, forcing humans to colonize the surrounding planets and their satellites. Over the course of the series and film, the bounty-hunting crew of the spaceship Bebop frequently found themselves returning to Mars, which had become the center of human civilization among the stars, where they chased fugitives within bustling cities built within massive craters.

“Invaders From Mars” (1953)

Billed as “A Nightmarish Answer to the Wizard of Oz,” this 1953 film was notable for telling its story from the perspective of a child who discovers the Martians’ evil plot. Fondly remembered for its use of moody music and surreal set pieces, the film featured not one but two versions of Martians that gave ’50s-era audiences nightmares: a group of humanoid, green-skinned, bug-eyed aliens and the Martian Mastermind, a creepy head with a tiny body and tentacles that’s encased in a floating sphere. The film was remade in 1986, but never quite captured the suspenseful tone and atmosphere of the original.

“Mars Attacks!” (1996)

One of the few films ever made that was based on a series of trading cards, Tim Burton’s “Mars Attacks!” featured an all-star cast of actors attempting to stave off an invasion of Earth. The effects-driven comedy was notable for its depiction of the Martians as short, skeleton-faced beings with massive, green brains and an affinity for blasting everything in sight with their ray guns. Fortunately, the world eventually learned of their weakness: cowboy singer Slim Whitman’s yodeling version of the song “Indian Love Call.”

“The Martian Chronicles” (1980)

Based on Ray Bradbury’s collection of short stories about the colonization of Mars and the conflict between humans and the planet’s native inhabitants, this three-part television miniseries was written by prolific author Richard Matheson (“I Am Legend,” “The Twilight Zone”). While Bradbury himself found the series “just boring,” it’s widely regarded as one of the better adaptations of the famed sci-fi author’s works (which says more about the other adaptations than it does about “The Martian Chronicles”). As for the Martians, the story depicts them as rather similar to humans in many ways, with golden skin and telepathic powers.

“My Favorite Martian” (1963-66 & 1999)

This popular mid-’60s television series starring Ray Walston (pictured) as a Martian anthropologist stranded on Earth spawned both a 1973 cartoon and a feature-length comedy in 1999 starring Christopher Lloyd. The original series featured a take on Martians that had them looking almost entirely humanoid, save for a pair of retractable antennae and various abilities that allowed them to read minds, turn invisible, and move things telekinetically, among other traits. However, in Disney’s modern take on the TV series, the Martian only appeared humanoid, thanks to a shape-changing pill. His normal form had four arms, four legs, and three eyes.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.


IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines


The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.


Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.


A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.


Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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