Review: For All Mankind

The road not taken…

There’s a very good chance that you have never heard of Apple TV’s “For all mankind”, given that we live in an age of “silo TV”, where different streaming platforms and an absolute glut (in a good sense) of high quality TV means that a show that would have been huge a decade or two ago instead ends up with a niche audience.

Well, if you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out.

The series, having just ended its second season recently and with a third season already in production, is essentially an alternate history drama which starts with the USSR beating the United States to the moon, and the US responding with a massive commitment to the space programme.

It has a large ensemble cast and mixes the family and personal drama of the astronauts and senior NASA officials with seriously top-class special effects and CGI. In particular the smooth insertion of both historical figures (Ted Kennedy, Ronald Reagan) and a different spin on real-life events adds an authentic touch.

It also has a social history running through it, talking about the challenges of women and minorities in the astronaut programme, and the weaponisation of space.

I don’t want to make it sound too worthy, because it is also very entertaining with some genuine edge-of-seat and gut-wrenching dramatic moments. I also don’t want to pick out any particular member of the cast (none of whom were hugely famous before) because there is such a generally high quality to the ensemble performance.

This is quality TV. Give it a go.

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