“For all people” is my favorite Friday night show

I made no secret of the fact that season 2 of For All Mankind is all my jam. In an alternate timeline with the US continuing the space race well beyond the moon landing, the series envisions a world where women are famous astronauts, John Lennon dodged his deadly bullet, and the Cold War’s newest theater Moon is. The show is also one of the most poignant character studies I’ve seen on television. All of this is a really exciting series where I gasp and scream at my friends every week. For All Mankind has become my favorite Friday night show, and I’ll need more people to jump on board before the final on April 23rd.

For All Mankind was one of the very first shows AppleTV + launched back in 2019. The series opened with just one twist on the legendary 1969 moon landing. Instead of seeing America stand in front of its televisions and Neil Armstrong landing on the moon, the Soviets got there first. This crippling affront to national pride sparked discord within NASA, forcing the nation to redouble its efforts to get to Mars first. One of the earliest changes to the space race timeline? President Richard Nixon insists that women participate in the astronaut program (to keep up with the female cosmonauts).

This is where For All Mankind begins to pick up speed, but season 2 really picks up the show. After a period of living together with an ensemble of hot astronauts, competitive earthbound spouses, and engineers dreaming of a future in which they can get to Mars, we are finally seeing the wild way this alternate timeline has changed our heroes. For All Mankind Season 2 opens about a decade after the events of For All Mankind season one, and it may increase the stakes in a seismic manner. Not only do Americans bring guns to the moon to recover a stolen mine, but every subtle interaction with the characters carries the weight of everything we went through in Season 1.

Tracy hugs Karen in For All Mankind season onePhoto: Apple TV +

Case in point: During the first season of For All Mankind, I was intrigued by the chaotic marriage of astronauts Gordo Stevens (Michael Dorman) and Tracy Stevens (Sarah Jones). He cheated on her and out of spite she wanted to be one of the first female astronauts. Now in season 2, I watch them as a divorced couple navigating middle age in very different ways. She is NASA’s famous face that brings her together with Johnny Carson, and he is the stranded “attempt” to overcome his mental trauma of isolation that he felt on the moon 10 years ago. Just because I’ve seen them deal with ups and downs in season 1 – and now I see they are as bad as they were together, they are apart – I am based on the impossible notion that GORDO TRACY BACK ON THE MOON WINS.

No, but seriously, what other soaps or dramas can you watch and ask yourself, “Huh, I wonder if this guy is going to win this girl back … on the moon ?!

That’s just one example, but every character on For All Mankind comes with the kind of brilliant baggage that otherwise harmless scenes carry so much weight. Sure, NASA coordinator Margo Madison (Wrenn Schmidt) feels guilty for abandoning her former protigée Aleida (Coral Peña) as an undocumented teenager, but her mentoring concern goes deeper than that. We know from her relationship with her problematic mentor Werner Von Braun (Colm Feore) during season one that she may fear being an imperfect mentor herself.

For All Mankind Season 2Photo: Apple
Every character in For All Mankind is given this type of space to evolve as the series progresses. That means the twists hit you like 8 Gs when the show does massive plot changes. Almost every episode in For All Mankind Season 2 featured at least one scene where I’m gasping for air, yelling about a character’s (understandable) decision, or cheering for a positive outcome. That only happens because For All Mankind put in the work of taking care of the characters, and I put the time in making this slow show break out into a supernova.

Because of this, I’m not nearly as excited about new episodes of the latest hot Disney + or Netflix series on Fridays. I want to feel good and see For All Mankind. The weekly rollout of AppleTV + gives each episode a weight that would leave a total binge and helps keep me excited about what’s next.

So if you’re looking for your next favorite Friday night show, don’t assume it’s a big superhero smorgasbord. It could just be a space show on AppleTV +.

Where to stream for all of humanity

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