There’s has been a lot of ink spilled in recent months about the absolutely amazing Ted Lasso, and justifiably so (it’s one of the best things I’ve watched in years, and substantially altered my emotional state in ways that have stayed with me ever since I finished watching the first season and all the way through the second), but I think that there is another Apple TV+ series that more people should be talking about, and that is For All Mankind.
To say too much about the specifics would run the risk of spoiling some key plot points, so I’m keeping this vague, but here goes: For All Mankind is a science fiction series created and written by Ronald D. Moore (of Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek fame), Matt Wolpert, and Ben Nedivi, that imagines an alternate history of the Space Race. The divergence from real history happens in the opening moments of the first episode and I don’t intend to spoil the reveal here, but in the subsequent episodes we follow a number of astronauts and administrators and engineers at NASA as they push to go much further than simply landing a man on the moon. The characters are a mix of fictional, fictionalized-versions-of-real-people, and real historical figures, and the setting and the era (mostly Houston in the 60s and 70s, and the moon, I suppose) are brilliantly rendered.
It’s gripping as a drama, and clever as a piece of hard science fiction, but as a work of alternate history it might just be unrivaled in television, as I struggle to think of another example of a series getting quite this granular about how minor changes might have increasingly profound changes to how history unfolds.
Two full seasons are currently available to stream on Apple TV+ with a third on the way, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.