Reach for the stars

Published May 22, 2021

For All Mankind

I am completely in love with the show For All Mankind. The sheer audacity of the whole thing is wonderful. It’s out there but also somehow grounded in reality. If you’ve not seen it, or read my thoughts on Series 1, the premise is an alternative history where Russia landed on the moon before the US, and everything that follows from that.

I read a review of the show that explained how anything that tries to exploit the butterfly effect - small things creating exponential changes - is bound to start slow but gradually pick up speed. That describes the first season perfectly. It took me two attempts to get going with it, but once I did, I adored it.

This second season had exactly the same impact, but for a different reason. I watched it in two batches: the first half as it was released weekly, then a pause, then the second half was binge watched to the end. This was a planned attack on the show, to avoid the agony of cliffhangers, but I’m not 100% sure it’s an effective way to have watched it.

The first half of the series was so steeped in relationship and personal drama that it felt like the science and space travel was taking a back seat. Combine that, then, with a final couple of episodes that saw at least four potential earth-shattering catastrophes happening all at the same time, and it felt like the pacing was really off.

But on the other hand, the intricate plotting meant that all those elements had to be intertwined. Tracy and Gordo’s story couldn’t have happened without the Russian’s siege on the moon, and the Pathfinder debacle would have had more of a fallout if it wasn’t for the Apollo-Soyuz thing. It all came together even if it was a lot to take in during a super-sized episode.

And it all ended, just as the first series did, with a sneak peek at the next decade. The wonderful 1990s, and humans appear to have landed on Mars. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

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