For All Mankind (TV series)
|For All Mankind|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||Los Angeles, California|
|Original network||Apple TV+|
|Original release||November 1, 2019 –|
For All Mankind is an American science fiction web television series created and written by Ronald D. Moore, Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi and produced for Apple TV+. The series dramatizes an alternate history depicting "what would have happened if the global space race had never ended" after the Soviet Union succeeds in the first manned Moon landing ahead of the United States.
The series stars Joel Kinnaman in the lead role as fictionalised NASA astronaut Edward Baldwin and Apollo 11 crew Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins as characters in the story. Michael Dorman, Wrenn Schmidt, Shantel VanSanten, Sarah Jones, Jodi Balfour, Michael Harney and Colm Feore appear in supporting roles in the series. Seth Gordon directed the first two episodes of season 1.
The first crewed mission to the Moon during the Space Race in the late 1960s was a global success for NASA and the United States. This drama poses the question: "What if the Space Race had never ended?"
In an alternate timeline, a Soviet cosmonaut, Alexei Leonov, becomes the first human to land on the Moon. This outcome devastates morale at NASA, but also catalyzes an American effort to catch up. With the Soviet Union emphasizing diversity by including a woman in subsequent landings, the US is forced to match pace, training women and minorities who were largely excluded from the initial decades of US space exploration.
Cast and characters
- Joel Kinnaman as Edward Baldwin
- Michael Dorman as Gordo Stevens
- Wrenn Schmidt as Margo Madison
- Sarah Jones as Tracy Stevens
- Shantel VanSanten as Karen Baldwin
- Jodi Balfour as Ellen Wilson (née Waverly)
- Chris Agos as Buzz Aldrin
- Matt Battaglia as John Glenn
- Chris Bauer as Deke Slayton
- Jeff Branson as Neil Armstrong
- Dan Donohue as Thomas O. Paine
- Colm Feore as Wernher von Braun
- Ryan Kennedy as Michael Collins
- Eric Ladin as Gene Kranz
- Steven Pritchard as Pete Conrad
- Rebecca Wisocky as Marge Slayton
- Ben Begley as Charlie Duke
- Frank Borman as himself (stock footage)
- Jim Lovell as himself (stock footage)
- Alan Shepard as himself (stock footage, also referred to in Episode 1)
- Gus Grissom as himself (stock footage, also referred to in various episodes)
- Scott Carpenter as himself (stock footage)
- Gordo Cooper as himself (stock footage)
- Wally Schirra as himself (stock footage)
- Michael Harney as Jack Broadstreet
- Tait Blum as Shane Baldwin (son of Ed and Karen Baldwin)
- Arturo Del Puerto as Octavio Rosales (an undocumented Mexican immigrant who settles in Houston with his daughter Aleida and gets a job as a custodian at the Johnson Space Center)
- Noah Harpster as Bill Strausser (a Mission Controller)
- Krys Marshall as Danielle Poole (an African American female astronaut)
- Edwin Hodge as Clayton Poole (Danielle's husband)
- Tracy Mulholland as Gloria Sedgewick (wife of Frank Sedgewick)
- Dave Power as Astronaut Frank Sedgewick (Command Module Pilot of Apollo 15)
- Mason Thames as Danny Stevens (older son of Gordo and Tracy Stevens)
- Olivia Trujillo as Aleida Rosales
- Sonya Walger as Molly Cobb (one of the Mercury 13 and the first American female astronaut to the Moon; the series producers selected the character's surname as "Cobb" to honor the real Mercury 13's Geraldyn M. Cobb who had died during the production of the first season of the series)
- Meghan Leathers as Pam Horton (a barkeeper, and Ellen's lover)
- Wallace Langham as Harold Weisner, (NASA administrator in the Ted Kennedy administration; he replaced Thomas Paine as head of NASA)
- Nate Corddry as Larry Wilson (a gay NASA engineer who poses as Ellen's boyfriend and later husband)
- Leonora Pitts as Irene Hendricks (first woman Flight Director, replaced Gene Kranz on the White Team)
- Dan Warner as General Arthur Weber, USAF (military liaison to NASA)
- Lenny Jacobson as Wayne Cobb, Molly's pot smoking artist husband
- Mark Ivanir as Mikhail Mikhailovich Vasiliev, Soviet cosmonaut
|No.||Title ||Directed by||Written by ||Original release date|
|1||"Red Moon"||Seth Gordon||Story by : Ronald D. Moore and Matt Wolpert & Ben Nedivi|
Teleplay by : Ronald D. Moore
|November 1, 2019|
|Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov becomes the first man on the Moon in June 1969, causing a rush at NASA for an American moon landing. Apollo 10 commander Baldwin tells a reporter that they could have successfully landed on the moon, which would have allowed them to beat the Soviets. Baldwin is reassigned from flight duty after his comments become public. Apollo 11 crash lands on the Moon and loses contact with NASA, but Armstrong and Aldrin survive the crash and reestablish contact.|
|2||"He Built the Saturn V"||Seth Gordon||Matt Wolpert & Ben Nedivi||November 1, 2019|
|The crew of Apollo 11 successfully return from the Moon. Director Wernher von Braun opposes President Nixon's directive to build a military Moon base. Baldwin is offered the chance to return to flight status if he blames von Braun for not allowing Apollo 10 to land. Baldwin publicly defends von Braun, but Nixon's men use von Braun's past involvement with the Nazi regime to remove him as Deputy Associate Administrator for Planning. Deke Slayton reinstates Baldwin as commander of Apollo 15. During the Apollo 12 mission, the Soviet Union lands the first woman on the Moon.|
|3||"Nixon's Women"||Allen Coulter||Nichole Beattie||November 1, 2019|
|Deke Slayton must recruit female astronauts after the Soviet Union lands a woman, Anastasia Belikova, on the Moon. An elimination process winnows the initial field of 20 "Astronaut Candidates" (informally "ASCAN") to just five, including Tracy Stevens (wife of Apollo 15's Gordo Stevens), two of the last of Mercury 13 named Molly Cobb and Patty Doyle, a black woman named Danielle Poole, who works as a NASA computer (the term used for humans who performed computations), and a woman named Ellen Waverly. NASA probes find water on the moon, highlighting a spot to put the American Moon Base. Patty is killed after crashing her module during LEM simulations.|
|4||"Prime Crew"||Allen Coulter||Naren Shankar||November 8, 2019|
|A Soviet mission goes bad and crashes on the moon, killing a cosmonaut. The equipment they had appears to have been to help establish a moon base near the frozen water source previously discovered by NASA. This pushes NASA to speed up their moon base even more. It is mentioned that the presidential election is coming up and Ted Kennedy is the front runner for the Democratic Party. The Vietnam war ends. Deke Slayton makes a change to the Apollo 15 crew, replacing Gordo Stevens with Molly Cobb. Apollo 15 launches.|
|5||"Into the Abyss"||Sergio Mimica-Gezzan||David Weddle & Bradley Thompson||November 15, 2019|
|The crew of Apollo 15 take a significant risk, changing their landing site to land near Shackleton Crater, a promising location for finding water that would be essential to any lunar colonization effort. Danielle's husband returns from fighting in Vietnam, and they have an argument with Gordo Stevens. Karen and Molly's husband Wayne reveal their fears to each other. The episode ends with the Jamestown landing two years later on 12 October 1973, to become NASA's first Lunar Base.|
|6||"Home Again"||Sergio Mimica-Gezzan||Stephanie Shannon||November 22, 2019|
|On 24 of August of 1974 Jamestown Base has three people in it: Edward Baldwin, Gordo Stevens and Danielle Poole. The ERA is ratified as an amendment to the Constitution as a result of campaigning by President Ted Kennedy. Apollo 23 explodes on the launchpad, killing 11 members of the ground crew and Gene Kranz, the new Director of Johnson Space Center. 60 days later the USSR announces the establishment of a Soviet Moon base named Zvezda, located eight miles away from Jamestown Base. Margo notices Aleida working on her math homework. The FBI investigation on Apollo 23 starts to focus on Ellen's homosexuality. Margo blackmails NASA into making her a Flight Director. Richard Nixon is pardoned for the Watergate scandal. Gordo sees some unexplained red flashing lights near Jamestown Base.|
|7||"Hi Bob"||Meera Menon||Ronald D. Moore||November 28, 2019|
|NASA has replaced the component that caused the Apollo 23 accident but the Apollo 24 relief mission is continually delayed. This causes Gordo mental health problems. Ed eventually decides that Gordo should be evacuated back to Earth with Danielle, knowing Gordo would be prevented from ever flying again. Danielle deliberately breaks her arm, providing an excuse for Gordo to bring her back to Earth without revealing his psychological issues. Danielle's husband is unable to get a job. Ellen and Larry marry, to avoid a potential sex scandal. Ed's son is in trouble at school, and the police tell Karen that he has been in an accident.|
|8||"Rupture"||Meera Menon||Nichole Beattie||December 6, 2019|
|Back on Earth, Gordo is seeing a psychiatrist, without NASA's knowledge. Shane Baldwin's accident leaves him with a head injury from which he cannot recover. Karen decides that Ed should not know about Shane's accident. Ed is told to spy on the Soviet base, and then discovers a Soviet camera has been recording him working inside the crater. The Soviets send Ed a condolences message, confusing him, and then Karen reveals that Shane is dead. Ed destroys the Soviet camera. Aleida is given a scholarship for Maths and Physics.|
|9||"Bent Bird"||John Dahl||David Weddle & Bradley Thompson||December 13, 2019|
|Karen struggles to cope with Shane's death but finds comfort with Wayne. Apollo 24 has a technical failure while in orbit so they can't transit to Moon. Apollo 25 (with Dennis, Tracy, and Molly) launches quickly to fix Apollo 24, but just after the repairs are finished, when they run a self-test, Apollo 24's engines ignite prematurely and burn Harrison Liu to death while leaving Molly adrift. On Apollo 24 Ellen is knocked out and Deke's status is unknown as he was outside tethered to the spacecraft. Molly is rescued, but the accident results in a trajectory change which will cause Apollo 24 to miss the Moon and fly into deep space. Tensions escalate between the rival lunar explorers, and Ed sabotages the Soviet moon rover while the Soviets investigate the US Moon mine. Octavio is uncovered as an illegal immigrant and is deported to Mexico. Later, without enough oxygen to return to his base, a cosmonaut asks for help at Jamestown. Ed invites him inside, but then captures the cosmonaut by partially depressurizing the airlock enough to make him unconscious.|
|10||"A City Upon A Hill"||John Dahl||Matt Wolpert & Ben Nedivi||December 20, 2019|
|Apollo 24's S-IVB burns to depletion sending the spacecraft way off course. Ed interrogates the cosmonaut. NASA continues attempts to regain contact with Apollo 24. Ellen and Deke perform a burn using the service module engine to correct their course but their fuel supplies are depleted before the course correction is complete. Ed launches the Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM) with help from the cosmonaut to perform a rescue of Apollo 24 and capture the spacecraft into Lunar orbit. Unfortunately, the spacecraft is tumbling, making it nearly impossible for Ed to dock. Instead of docking, Ed decides to throw the fuel to Apollo 24. Ellen misses it at first but then lunges toward it, capturing it. Deke dies from internal bleeding as the rescue mission is completed. In a post-credits scene in 1983 Ed and Karen discuss a live coverage from the South Pacific Ocean showing a sea launch of an extremely large rocket similar to the Sea Dragon carrying a plutonium payload for expansion of the Jamestown colony.|
According to Ronald D. Moore, the idea of the show came about during lunch with former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman, when they discussed the possibility of an alternate history in which the Soviets reached the Moon before the Americans. On December 15, 2017, it was announced that Apple had given the production a one-season series order. The series was created by Ronald D. Moore. Moore, Matt Wolpert, and Ben Nedivi will jointly script and executive produce the drama. Maril Davis acted as Executive Producer. Production companies involved with the series are to include Sony Pictures Television and Tall Ship Productions. On October 5, 2018, it was announced that the series had been officially titled For All Mankind.
In August 2018, it was announced that Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Sarah Jones, Shantel VanSanten, and Wrenn Schmidt had been cast in main roles and that Eric Ladin, Arturo Del Puerto, and Rebecca Wisocky would appear in a recurring capacity. On October 5, 2018, it was reported that Jodi Balfour had been cast in a series regular role.
The series was renewed for a second season in October 2019.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 73% approval rating with an average rating of 6.91/10, based on 50 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Though it shoots for the moon and falls somewhere in orbit, For All Mankind's impressive vision of history has the potential for real liftoff if it leans into the things that set it apart instead of settling for more of the same." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 65 out of 100 based on 22 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
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- Carson, Erin (October 31, 2019). "Apple TV Plus launches For All Mankind on a meandering space race". CNET. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
Molly Cobb is a nod to Geraldyn "Jerrie" Cobb, an accomplished pilot who was part of the Mercury 13 but was never allowed to become an astronaut.
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