Right time, right space. That’s how I felt after watching season 1 of Apple TV Plus’s space soap opera, FOR ALL MANKIND from Ronald D. Moore (known for the superior BATTLESTAR GALACTICA). I needed a big budget action series that had APOLLO 13 sentiment mixed with ARMAGEDDON silliness and HIDDEN FIGURES women empowerment. The kind of sentimental drivel that reminded me of what I miss the most in this COVID world – the darkened theatre where I can immerse myself in an escapist narrative alongside an audience of strangers.
The plot is basic. What if Russia landed on the moon first? The events that follow can get lost in space as we get the classic TV tropes – a kid in a coma, the crusty old leader with a soft heart, political showdowns and a forbidden love. Yet none of that matters. FOR ALL MANKIND knows what it wants to be. It’s escapism that gets grounded at blast off occasionally, but makes up for it with the big moments that shoot for the moon. This is cliched TV at its most absurd and best.
What pulls audiences through the show is the theme of sacrifice, especially from the female characters. As one fictional astronaut, Ellen Waverly (Jodi Balfour) states, “sacrifice is the price we pay to push forward, pushing ourselves to the limit. It’s that hope that no matter how hard it is now, when we look to the future, we can see that things can get better and believe this.” Couldn’t all audiences use a little bit of that right now?
Season 1 is available on Apple TV Plus. Season 2 reviews are coming soon to #SpoilerFreeReviews