November 11th, 2019

The Enterprise

The Marxist Moon



Once upon a time, setting foot on the moon really mattered to Americans. The technological and cultural milestone was bound up with an existential conflict with the Soviet Union. For All Mankind, the new series by Ronald D. Moore, imagines an alternate timeline where the Soviets beat the U.S. to it. I'm one episode in and so far the effect of this is mainly to illustrate the reality of a national pride, of a group of people who felt a real personal attachment to their country's system of government, economy, and way of life. It's a good show--not Battlestar Galactica great but pretty good.

So far the drama has mostly centred on the people at NASA as they struggle with their own feelings of profound failure the wake of the U.S.S.R.'s suddenly announced accomplishment. And the first Cosmonaut on the moon's pronouncement of the feat as a victory for Marxism.

Joel Kinnamen plays Edward Baldwin, a test pilot who chafes at what he sees as NASA's lack of courage coming to fruition. He lands in hot water when he says as much to a reporter in a bar.



Kinnaman gives a decent, smouldering performance but so far I've been most drawn to Colm Feore as Wernher von Braun who comes across as a surprisingly warm and insightful character when he advises a young woman working for NASA (Wrenn Schmidt) on how to be more assertive.



Ronald D. Moore has lately been occupying his time as showrunner on Outlander, a good show until all the rape got a bit repetitive. For All Mankind feels like Moore returning to his Star Trek roots. It's almost like an extended time travel episode of Deep Space Nine, and I like it.

For All Mankind is available on Apple TV.

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