HBO’s New Sci-Fi Show Is a Brutal Elon Musk Takedown

Are you ready to die on Mars?

Elon Musk wants you to die on Mars. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it seems, sort of. The Tesla-Twitter-SpaceX CEO has a vision for humanity as a multi-planetary species spread across multiple planets. To make that happen, pioneers are going to have to fly to Mars with the understanding that they’ll never come home (they may also wind up as debt-loaded indentured servants). If that somehow sounds appealing to you, there’s a new science fiction show on HBO Max you should probably watch.

Fired on Mars is a new adult animated series starring Luke Wilson as Jeff, a schlubby white guy who prides himself on being the first graphic designer on Mars. But, as the title suggests, that title doesn’t last very long. After making the one-way trip for his employer,, Jeff is unceremoniously fired over Zoom by a corporate exec with disheveled hair. It’s the kind of conversation that Musk (who’s fired 80 percent of Twitter’s employees since buying the company in October 2022) probably wouldn’t flinch at. But for Jeff, it’s just the beginning of his misfortunes.

Jeff (Luke Wilson) enjoys unemployment on Mars.


Warning: Spoilers for the first four episodes of Fired on Mars below.

After several days (or weeks? time passes fast on Mars), Jeff finally gets a new job: cryogenic sleep in “The Tank.” The device is first introduced as some sort of vague experiment, but it’s quickly revealed to be the equivalent of Mars jail. The executives at have decided to hide their problems (aka, Jeff) in the tank until they go away. Later on, the Tank is used as an unsubtle punishment for multiple characters, including Jeff, again.

Here are a few more things that happen to Jeff in Fired on Mars:

  • His finger gets exposed to Mars’ frigid atmosphere and freezes off
  • He gets a new job killing rats in the colony’s plumbing
  • He’s unknowingly experimented on by a secret cabal

It might sound like a dark sci-fi drama, but Fired on Mars is also a lot of fun. Jeff is a likable lead and the cast includes hilarious people like Tim Heidecker, Pamela Adlon, and Stephen Root. It’s essentially a workplace comedy, where office birthday parties and coworker romances seem more important than the quest to establish a human civilization on Mars.

For all the terrible experiences Jeff goes through, the reality is that the real-life equivalent would be a lot worse. By Episode 4, the employees of are preparing to celebrate the colony’s one-year anniversary. Elon Musk probably would have gotten bored and moved on by then.

Fired on Mars is streaming now on HBO Max.

Related Tags