For All Mankind (spoilers)

Anyone watching? On the new Apple platform. Fictional drama about the Apollo program, but with a twist.

It opens with the whole world sitting down to watch the first moon landing–from the Russians, in June 1969.

I saw the first episode. Production values were fantastic, but it is ridiculously slow moving, IMO. Especially for a pilot.

Not to be confused with For All Mankind, a documentary account of the Apollo program with Brian Eno’s Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks as the soundtrack.

The next two are the same way. But the moments of drama are very dramatic.

Since you asked…

Nope, not going to watch it. Looks stupid. Why should I care about people from a parallel universe?

Plus it will just remind me of the current state of the US space program.

Still nobody watching this? Latest episode is especially screwed up.
Throughout this season NASA discovers water in a few polar craters on the Moon (like in real life) and place a small, 3-person base at the rim of Shackleton Crater with an “elevator” down into the crater to study it and collect samples. The Russians put one of their own a few miles away on another part of the rim. Delays in relief missions cause the crew on the moon to be there longer than planned (including one delay from a launch pad explosion that kills IIRC 15 ground crew but the astronauts survive by ejecting.) One astronaut goes stir-crazy, two of them head back to Earth in the return vehicle, leaving the third behind alone to man the base.
So, last night the Apollo 24 relief mission is finally launched, but when they try for the trans-lunar injection burn, the stage doesn’t fire. The diagnose the problem to be with a flight computer, and they send Apollo 25–which had been stacked on a Saturn 1B for an unrelated mission–to tether to Apollo 24 and replace the flight computer. At the time, I wondered if they would have the rocket unintentionally fire as soon as the computer was replaced, frying the repair crew. The rocket unintentionally fired as soon as the computer was replaced, frying one of the repair crew (on a tether, in a moment very much like the scene on the Vulcan Space Drill in the Star Trek 2009 remake.) All telemetry from Apollo 24 is lost, and the trajectory will miss lunar orbit. Meanwhile, on the Moon, the remaining astronaut there is visiting their elevator and runs into a Russian there. They have a brief stare-down and go their separate ways. Except later on the Russian comes banging on the door to the American base wanting to be let in–the Russian rover wasn’t working and he didn’t have enough air to walk back to the base. So the American flips a switch to drain the air from the airlock (which takes like 5 seconds) lets the Russian into the airlock, then repressurizes it (again in about 5 seconds.) At the time, I wondered if he would murder the Russian astronaut by depressurizing the airlock rather than letting him in. He murdered the Russian astronaut by depressurizing the airlock rather than letting the Russian in. End of episode.

So this is deep into season 2. In this timeline, Regan is elected 4 years earlier, John Lenon survives his assassination, John Paul Two doesn’t, and people are flying standard space shuttle orbiters to and from the moon. And they are about to test a new space shuttle orbiter that looks slightly different and is nuclear powered but is otherwise basically the same size and layout that will be used for Mars missions.

I personally think that the producers missed a potential plot point concerning Danielle Pool’s husband Clayton. I was expecting a semi-major story arc concerning their marriage this season, only for the show to reveal that he is already dead, having committed suicide after being unable to cope with PTSD.

I discovered my free Apple TV subscription with my new iPad in December, but hadn’t seen the show until last month. I’m really enjoying it and binged Season 1 and have been watching the new episode each week.

Why should you care about any fictional being?

I’ll allow myself a bump here since season 2 just wrapped up last week and I couldn’t see a more recent thread.

Seeing Joel Kinnaman is always a treat and I loved season 2 as much as the first. More, actually, since I thought the end of the first season’s action movie moment was ridiculous.

This time I didn’t really feel they’d built up the underlying US-Soviet tension enough to warrant pulling the air-raid sirens card. And I wasn’t happy they pulled another Deke at the end.

That said, I’m happy to recommend the series. It’s science fiction made by the guy who did Battlestar Galactica, not a documentary. If you liked Altered Carbon, BSG, The Martian and other pop-sci-fi like that, I expect you’ll enjoy this as well.

I’m kinda sorta watching S2. I don’t find it all that compelling to be honest, as it continues to be fairly slow moving and the payoffs aren’t really worth it. It seems they went from trying to just land on the moon to massive moon base really, really fast. I’d like to see more POVs from the Soviet side. We have a few, but very little.

Looks pretty though.

Episode 1-3 really dragged. I’d be fairly happy if they’d most of it out since it basically didn’t feature space at all. It picked up somewhere around episode 4 and 5, for me.

I think the last ep I watched was… S2 ep 5? Gordo about to go back up.

Some of the interpersonal stories just kinda make my eye roll a bit.

Speaking of Deke-pulling plot elements, if you are gonna have windows on your moon base, you really gotta anticipate that it is a good idea to put shutters on them.

MILF–it does a buddy good.

(You’ll get it).

I actually thought the season was pretty great overall. Particularly the finale, which managed to tie together the disparate storylines. I had no qualms with the decision to kill off Gordo and Tracy. It was unexpected, original, the kind of thing we seemingly want in a peak TV series. Somebody online compared the twist to Boardwalk Empire; it really did remind me of the second season finale of that show when they killed of Jimmy Darmody.

I get the impression that Danny Stevens will become a major character starting next season; he’ll likely become an astronaut himself, with his major storyline being his forging his own career while trying to break free from his parents shadow. I also wonder if they will address the Karen-Danny affair in any way; they threw that bombshell into the show and then didn’t wrap it up before the end of the season.

We just finished watching a couple of weeks ago.

I love this show. In particular, it really shows that Ronald D. Moore has a degree in political science. I found the alt-history to be quite plausible, with lots of finely worked out details that make sense. Reagan elected four years early, Ted Kennedy becoming President, the cold war continuing longer with a rejuvenated USSR after beating Americans to the Moon, etc.

It was very smart how they started the show with mostly people we knew, such as Gene Kranz and Deke Slyton, then killed them off or retired them as we moved into alt-history. Good way to bring the audience long slowly.

The attention to detail is fantastic. Lots of little easter eggs for people who really kmow their space history. For example,

When they buried Deke on the Moon, they put his astronaut pin on the grave. The wings had a little diamond at the top. In real life as in the show, Deke was grounded with heart trouble and became head of Astronaut operations. The other astronauts got together and had aspecial astronaut pin made for Deke with that diamond in it, to show that he had special status. His was the only astronaut pin to have the diamond. The show didn’t even mention it - just showed the little diamond on the pin. Very cool.

I love shows that take the time to get the little details right.

I also love how they brought to life some of the concepts we space nerds at the time knew about and never got to see developed. Watching Sea Dragon launch from the ocean was super cool. Bob Truax would have been thrilled.

And then it has Space Shuttle Orbiters flying to the moon–so very big details very stupidly wrong.