The date is June 26, 1969. Millions of people follow a live broadcast of an event destined to be one of the great milestones in the history of Humanity: the arrival of man on the moon. In the United States, the disappointed faces of the spectators are evident. Especially when the time comes to see waving the red flag with the hammer and sickle on the lunar surface, while a cosmonaut says with pride “I am taking this step for my country, my people and the way of life of Marxism-Leninism”. This is the starting point of the Apple series For all Mankind, which is dedicated to imagining a History where it was the USSR that won the race to reach the Moon. The series has just finished its second season with the promise of a third installment that has already given us all long teeth.
For all Mankind is dedicated to reimagining a alternate end of 20th century where things happened in a different way than we know them. This is what is called a uchrony, a word that will have to be added to our dictionary of series. This is not the first series to narrate ucronías. We have already seen a few titles dedicated to imagining what would have happened if Germany won the Second World War, as for example in The Man in the High Castle. A pro Hitler candidate was winning the US election in The Plot Against America. Ryan murphy imagined a more inclusive Hollywood in the 1940s. Maybe it was Tarantino who opened the melon from the brutal outcome of Damn bastards, on a premise that he has continued to develop in Django unchained and in Once upon a time in hollywood. But just as some of the other series have been dedicated to presenting those alternative worlds as nightmarish places, in For all Mankind that reality is not necessarily better, nor is it worse. It is just a place where things happened in a different way.
If anyone has bothered to check the start date of the article, they will have realized that this is not the date on which man stepped on the Moon. The team of astronauts led by Neil armstrong and Apollo XI did not set foot on selenite soil until July 20, 1969. Almost a month after the Soviets in the television series. The consequences are unpredictable and the viewer can only expect the unexpected. The plot is peppered with little surprises, sometimes irrelevant to the plot but giving it a peculiar flavor. There was no case Watergate, neither Gerald ford neither Jimmy carter they never reached the presidency, Ronald reagan he won the elections in 76, John paul ii he did not survive the attack he suffered, instead John Lennon is alive and he Prince carlos He did not marry Lady Di but Camila Parker. We cannot go to Google to know how this or that conflict will be solved, because there are things that did not happen the same as in the world in which we know.
The story is told from the loser’s point of view (let’s not forget, this series is American), to show us what he learned from his defeat. The facts that really matter to the show’s plot are the effects this new reality had on the space race. Having lost that battle of the Cold War, the United States found it necessary to try to find new blows to try to overshadow the achievements of the Eastern communist bloc. Unlike our present, trips to the moon were never forgotten and there were continually lunar expeditions from Earth. They even began to install in the 70 first bases on the surface of our satellite. Another blow to American morale came when the USSR managed to also make a woman from the Soviet bloc the first to set foot on the moon. This situation caused the United States to launch inclusion programs at NASA and will have its own team of women astronauts. In this new reality, policies for equality began much earlier. Through the first two seasons we have witnessed a new story at the end of the 20th century, on a journey that for the moment has lasted from 1969 to the mid-1980s.
The creator of the series is Ronald D. Moore, one of the architects of the rebirth of the Star Trek saga in the early 90s; or the reinvention of Battlestar galactica. His last television hit so far had been Outlander. But make no mistake, this is not a science fiction series. The spirit is closer to that of films about pioneers in space such as Chosen for glory from Philip Kaufman. or Mars from Ridley scott. In the twenty episodes that we have taken so far, we witness the adventures of a team of astronauts preparing to visit the new world and who, once there, are forced to pass constant survival tests in a hostile environment, in which there is also another settlement of the enemy at a short distance and from which they do not know what to expect. In this new world, the cold war has not been left behind. With Reagan in the White House, the plot offers political intrigue for the strategic sectors of the Moon. Laugh at the Cuban missile crisis. We will attend battles on the lunar surface, far removed from what we have seen in other galactic movies such as Star wars. By the way, I find it curious how in this new reality there are no references to the universe of George Lucas, but yes to the arrival in theaters of The Wrath of Kahn, the second Star Trek movie. Is it a trekkie revenge to the rival saga?
The end of the second season has left us with one of those moments before which we can only start the timer to count the time until the third. Beware that spoilers are coming. Having overcome a crisis that had brought the world to the brink of World War III and after which the USSR and the United States seem to begin their reconciliation, the plot takes a ten-year jump in time. Until 1995 to meet the arrival of first man to mars. A scene that leaves us with many questions: Is he American or Russian? Has the acceleration in the space race been the result of cooperation between the two countries? Did perestroika come to exist in that alternative world? the bases on the Moon? With the landing on Mars, the series grows in plot possibilities. We do not know what plan the scriptwriters will have or until what year they will continue to let their imagination run wild. In the end, the series has allowed us to dream of a future as positive as any of the Star Trek chapters could be. Long life and prosperity.