As alt-history science fiction stories go, For All Mankind on Apple TV+ is right up there with The Man in the High Castle and Watchmen (both of which we discussed on the Sci Fi Fidelity podcast as well). Speculating on what the world would be like if the Soviet Union landed a man on the moon first, this series starts out as a sort of historical drama inside 1970’s NASA but begins to show the larger effects on society of a continuing space race during the Cold War, taking things in a much more sci-fi direction as time goes by.
As is usual for the show topics on Sci Fi Fidelity, we discuss the first two episodes of the series and share what we think of the established characters and central conflict. As much as we love Joel Kinnaman in the role of astronaut Eddie Baldwin, it’s the supporting cast that we really appreciate, especially Wrenn Schmidt as flight director Margo Madison, who sets the tone for the evolving status of women in the workplace and in the American culture at large in this new version of history.
Our views differ somewhat about the subplot involving Aleida and her family as they cross the border between Mexico and the United States. While we agreed that the foreshadowing of her eventual involvement in the space program was obvious, the subtext of her status as an immigrant is up for discussion, at least in the early stages of the narrative of For All Mankind. The spoiler zone includes broad discussion of the later episodes in the series that have aired so far and predictions about where things might be headed.
If you enjoy our discussion of For All Mankind and shows just like it, be sure to subscribe to Sci Fi Fidelity so that you never miss an episode! Each week we review a currently airing show, discuss a topic of interest to genre television, or interview someone from behind the scenes of our favorite series. Find us in your podcast app of choice or simply listen below!
Michael Ahr is a writer, reviewer, and podcaster here at Den of Geek; you can check out his work here or follow him on Twitter (@mikescifi). Dave Vitagliano has been writing and podcasting about science fiction television since 2012. You can read more of his work here.