Apple TV + was an ambitious project from the start. Home to a growing number of original titles, the streaming service has seen a range of shows, including Dickinson and Servant, brought back to service as part of multi-series offerings.
Gold All Mankind is just the latest out of this world addition to join this list, with the second series set to land on the platform this month.
Depicting an alternate history in which the 20th century space race never ended, the first series saw the United States and the Soviet Union compete for space supremacy.
Created by Ronald D Moore (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica), Ben Nedivi (Fargo) and Matt Wolpert (American Crime Story), For All Mankind stars Joel Kinnaman of Killing as astronaut Edward Baldwin, actor patriot Michael Dorman as astronaut Gordo and Stevens One Tree Hill star Shantel VanSanten as Edward’s partner Karen Baldwin.
Set in June 1969, the first series joined NASA at a time when Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov had just become the first man to land on the moon.
Beating Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface, this alternate timeline mixes fact and fiction, as the Soviets rename the location “Red Moon” and history as we know it is rewritten.
“One of the main reasons I jumped on this was that the bigger vision of this show is so spectacular,” Kinnaman (41) says of the project. “It’s really fun to be a part of something that in a way feels like some kind of historical project – we go back in time, but then historically writers still have complete creative freedom.
“In the first season, it feels a little more contained than what the show actually is. It starts out a little smaller, kind of like NASA’s Mad Men, and it spreads out into space and we have bases in the United States and the Soviets on the Moon.
“But now, in the second season, we’re really starting to see the suspicions of the show’s bigger vision, so it’s really exciting.”
A storyline that can only be described as the Cold War in space, season two sees audiences projected forward a decade into the early 1980s, entering an alternate reality in which President Ronald Reagan remains in power. .
We find the character of Kinnaman, who commanded the failed Apollo 10 landing, working to recruit the next generation of NASA astronauts – while helping to avoid nuclear war.
“You take a character and you get to know him and I feel like I pretty much shot him down,” Kinnaman says. “And then you skip 10 years – and also 10 years after a huge loss, a life-changing loss, so where do those 10 years take you?”
“Sure, writers have great ideas, but define how a person changes in 10 years. Their physicality? Their outlook on life in relation to others?”
“It’s a challenge, but it’s also what’s so rewarding and fun to explore.”
Away from the dangers and adrenaline of the space race, audiences can expect their fair share of emotion following the loss of Edward and Karen’s son in season one.
“Our show uses space as a backdrop and as a metaphor for each character and what they experience,” VanSanten (35) explains. “There’s so much tension and uncertainty between the relationships on the show and within each character, so as a backdrop, in addition to what each partnership goes through, I’d definitely say it’s a cold war between us. characters, inside and outside. “
It’s a partnership that has brought its own set of unique emotional barriers, according to Kinnaman.
“There were special challenges for me and I think for Shantel too,” the actor explains.
“We were a family going through horrific loss – and I think it’s still very difficult.
“I don’t think I ever really had to dig as deeply emotionally as some of these scenes required, but I was fortunate enough to have an amazing stage partner in Shantel who really helped us get down to these depths. . “
In many ways, the aspect that posed the biggest challenge for VanSanten was coming to terms with his character, his flaws and all.
“I want to grow up and be scared and not know how I’m going to act out scenes or characters and sort of find out about them,” she says.
“It lives in your bones and it becomes a part of you that you could never have foreseen and now you can’t live without – and that was Karen to me.”
“I didn’t necessarily like her when I first met her. When I first read it on the page and through a lot of empathy and trying to figure out where her reactions, thoughts and feelings were coming from, realizing that it was based on fear, I did. understood better and realized that I looked a lot more like him than I wanted to admit. “
Between the NASA women-led diversity push that continues in Series 2 and the show of strength from members of the “Women Astronaut Club” as it is so often called, For All Mankind is a show that, at in many ways, returns power to his wife. characters.
“I think it really pushed us women to the fore,” VanSanten says.
“Ron Moore is known for writing very strong female characters. When doing Press for the first season, I was really ‘So I’m Karen Baldwin I’m the housewife’ and there’s such a strong stigma to that – the Women Astronaut Club, or the housewife.
“Because we, as modern feminist women, don’t understand the pride that was in that role: running the house, wearing the pants backstage and making sure everything works and having kids.
“And I really leaned over and admired my grandmother – she was that woman and I think what an inspiration she was to me.”
For All Mankind is now streaming on Apple TV +
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