On July 20th 1969 America put the first man on the moon. This ended the space race and firmly ensured that America was a highly intelligent and capable superpower.
For All Mankind is a new drama on AppleTV+ that reimagines a pivotal moment in not only US history, but the history of the world by changing that moment so that Russia won the space race. From that moment on, the course of history is forever changed and due to certain innovations made by Russia’s space program, it spurs NASA on to do better and find alternatives to achieve their goals.
Among the cast of characters is Edward Baldwin (Joel Kinnerman) an astronaut who missed his chance to get to the moon, Molly Cobb (Sonya Walger) an ambitious and determined woman hoping to go where no woman has gone before, and Ellen Waverley (Jodie Balfour) another of NASA’s hopefuls who has to work hard to keep her personal and her professional life separate.
For All Mankind tells their stories as well as paying homage to NASA’s history during their greatest achievements, even talking about moments that NASA may rather forget.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to the right balance set between these historical moments and the personal lives of For All Mankind’s characters, so the latter seem to be put aside for the first few episodes. This and the show’s insistence on jumping years ahead from episode to episode make it difficult to focus on the human-interest elements, unintentionally softening some of the more emotional moments that could have had a bigger emotional impact if they were given time to breathe. Instead, For All Mankind is so focussed on its mission that it forgets some of the characters it leaves behind.
However, in the first season’s final few episodes, For All Mankind does manage to slow down a little, giving the characters a little space to expand.
There are some great moments of joy, sadness and tragedy amongst the cast of characters and hopefully the post credit tease on the final episode will move the show along to yet another era in NASA’s history and build more upon its characters.
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