For All Mankind ”is perhaps the most confusing television show ever. Part of this is due to a time change in Season 2 as this alternate history glimpses a never-ending space race that jumps into the 1980s. Much has changed, but a remarkable number has remained relatively unchanged.
But the newfangled timeline isn’t the only source of In the decision-making spaces of the Johnson Space Center and the houses within driving distance, Apple TV + ‘s most ambitious series in its fledgling originals library oscillates between opera exploration saga on the moon and small-scale family drama.
Both are necessary for the show to work properly. Without an interpretation of what makes the fictional astronauts to the Moon’s Shackleton crater, the sweeping vistas are relatively inert. Unless the show can deliver where all that preparation leads, the corporate power struggles in Houston are just stripped-down board meetings.
And on the backs of massive booster rockets, it’s not unrealistic to expect a space story to pursue at least some emotional complexity. When given the option to let a pivotal moment unfold with an understanding of its emotional weight or drown it in an obvious AC / DC needle, “For All Mankind” prefers the latter.
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There are moments of sheer brilliance where the show unleashes the wonder and majesty of these space-age chases. All too often, Season 2’s plot interactions deliver like a hammer, designed to hit the viewer with ideas of remorse, intention, and sacrifice in such a way that no one could ever miss them.
It is a daunting task to give all these players in the larger space program enough emotional complexity and still have time to manage all the other explanatory moving parts with such a large ensemble.
Season 2 of “For All Mankind” makes a deliberate attempt to break the status quo, despite the fact that the show spent most of the first season treading water as the different parts of the timeline fall into place.
Seeing the fallout from that outside tension is certainly a sign that ‘For All Mankind’ can really move when it wants – John Marshall Jones as Houston’s official security ambassador is a real highlight among Season 2’s additions – and it sure is. a sign that the show can really move when it wants to.