Missions: this French sci-fi drama on BBC Four is like Lost meets 2001

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New French sci-fi drama Missions is currently broadcasting on BBC Four - and it is well worth checking out.

Missions began showing on the channel last week, and is available to catch-up on with iPlayer.

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The 10-part series follows Ulysses 1, a mission funded by the European Space Agency to send the first humans to Mars.

The mission - also partly bankrolled by Swiss philanthropist William Meyer - is an international affair, with a crew made up of French, Italians and Germans.

Ten months in however, just hours from the touching down onto the red planet, the crew learns that they were not in fact the first people to make it there.

Things get weird

It transpires an American crew had previously landed on the planet.

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And in true, sci-fi thriller fashion, it seems things did not go according to plan.

Things don't go so smoothly for the crew of the first manned mission to Mars (Photo: BBC)

The Ulysses crew receive an alarming video that appears to show the demise of the American team, and vow to alter their mission with the hopes of tracking any survivors down.

But things get weirder still.

While on Mars, the team discover Russian, Vladimir Komarov; the first man to die on a space mission. In 1967.

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Enigmatic inspirations

It's an intriguing slice of science-fiction, and the influences on director Julien Lacombe are clear.

He told the French magazine 20 Minutes that inspiration for him came from films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Interstellar and Alien, as well as the books of Isaac Asimov.

As for the show's many mysterious twists and turns, Lacombe said that J.J. Abrams' Lost was a touch point, and he "tried to reproduce the same fascination for the series, being careful not to open too many doors to answer all questions".

The European crew make their landmark descent onto the red planet. But were they really the first? (Image: BBC)

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Footage of the crew's Mars expedition was shot in Morocco, while everything else was filmed on location in France.

Each of the show's 10 episodes clock in at around 25 minutes, so they're perfect, bite-size chunks of enigmatic sci-fi.

BBC Four is broadcasting two episodes back to back on Thursday nights, and will continue to do so for another four weeks.

Missions is on Thursday nights on BBC Four at 9pm. You can catch up on episodes you may have missed on iPlayer

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[Main image: BBC]

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