GQ: Apple TV+ space drama ‘For All Mankind’ is ‘The Best Show No One’s Watching’

The Apple TV+ space drama For All Mankind (FAM) started slowly out of the gate, but it’s been picking up speed ever since and now, GQ‘s Jeff Wilser calls it “The Best Show No One’s Watching.”

Apple TV+ series 'For All Mankind' Season Two premiered on February 19th
Apple TV+ series ‘For All Mankind’ Season Two premiered on February 19th

Jeff Wilser for GQ:

So in 2019, when Apple unveiled its slate of original programming, FAM seemed like a natural flagship property. But critics yawned, viewers opted for Ted Lasso or The Morning Show, and even Apple TV seems to have forgotten about its space epic, now more than halfway through a 10-episode second season. It’s no longer featured at the top of the app, it doesn’t seem to appear in “New Originals,” and sometimes the only way to even locate the show is to scroll to the far end of the dramas category, where it’s grudgingly featured as the 12th out of 12 shows — the last kid picked for the kickball team.

Just as the world moved on from the space race, people seem to have lost interest in For All Mankind. It’s hard to blame them. The early episodes of Season 1 are the weakest of the series… It feels like maybe showrunner Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica, Outlander) is squandering his juicy premise, playing it too safe… By Season 2, everything is stronger. The writing is crisper, the pacing tighter, and the characters are given quiet moments to grapple with loss and shame, regrets and heartache. And then you realize that Moore has quietly created a new genre —let’s call it “Barely Altered Timeline,” or the BAT —which blends the pleasures of period dramas with the thrill of the unknown. Typically, altered history shows like The Man in the High Castle create a world so different from ours that it’s almost cartoonish, with giant swastikas on billboards in Times Square. Here the differences are subtle. And this is what puts For All Mankind in the running (along with Snowfall) for The Best Show No One’s Watching.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s true. This is one of those “You Have to Give it a Chance” series that finally come into its own in Season Two. Seriously, if you like sci-fi or just good drama, give For All Mankind another look!


  1. I have a policy about new tv shows… Once they exhibit some SJW garbage I’m done watching.

    I have the same policy about movies in theaters. Usually movies that are inclined to go down that route do so within the first 30 minutes. That’s helpful because most theater have a money back policy if you have to leave within the first 30 minutes.

    Unfortunately, of the few shows I’ve tried to watch on Apple TV have incorporated heavy elements of SJW nonsense thereby causing me to ditch them early on. It’s not that I don’t eat to buy your content Apple… it’s that you make it impossible for me to do so.

    1. If liking the fact that women have equally complex, deep, interesting, powerful roles is “woke,” then I guess I’m out of bed already. But I’m not terribly fond the the word “woke” as branding, and don’t think it needs to apply.

      Good theater, good art is not a continual regurgitation of the same writers, writing the same characters, played by the same actors. That makes me bored and sleepy enough to return to bed.

      Innovation is not just the realm of high tech. It has to happen in art as well. Otherwise our cell phones would still look like WWII battlefield phones.

      I find it curious when people find fault an artist’s latest album, an actor’s latest film, a painter’s latest project just because it doesn’t look and sound like their first one.

      1. NapMasterBlaster, I’m in no way saying that women ought not have equally complex, deep, interesting, powerful roles… because THAT is a reflection of reality. Women ARE equally complex as men. BTW, that’s not “woke” as everyone believes that.

        I’m referring to the incessant need to normalize false realities that either aim to change society by making it seem that SJW issues are already common within society (things like people having multiple genders, women supposedly not being regarded as equal, removal of guns would create peace, thin non-muscular women can easily kick a strong man or multiple men’s asses…. and also homosexuality being common.) You can’t watch a tv show or movie these days without these SJW causes being driven down our throats.

        To those movie and tv producers that insist on preaching to me about social justice, I would argue that your sole job is to try to compel me to part with my dollars by entertaining me. If you insist on trying to indoctrinate, I will hold tight to my hard-earned cash and find other ways to spend it. I’m not alone.

        1. @Kelly Mc. I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “false realities,” but this show is science FICTION afterall. Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek had a very United Nations looking cast and crew and it was common in the 60s and 70s to imagine how culture might evolve beyond just a bunch of straight white guys.

          Haven’t the latter had plenty of screen time by now anyway?

          This is a huge topic, of course, and can only be dealt with imperfectly in a post on a Mac thread, but we create and/or live with false realities all the time.

          Jesus wasn’t the white guy people have painted him as for centuries. Bill Cosby wasn’t the warm cuddy American dad we all thought he was. Richard Jewell was not the Olympic bomber. The list goes on…

          And this is still TV/Hollywood magic and all. Whatever your genre, there is plenty of unreality everywhere because “reality” is subjective. My reality is always going to be different than yours.

          Or the classic example of unreality is to think about nearly every gun fight ever portrayed on screen.

          This is all theater. Reality is filtered through the eye of the creator, as well as the beholder.

          I don’t believe that women, and marginalized people (who make up the majority of the planet) are equally empowered people. That’s what I perceive as our modern reality. Yes, they’re at least as complex as straight white males, but our cultural bias and the system in which it swims tilts against them having the same access.

          So what’s wrong with creating fictional worlds (in books and screenplays) where there is truly a level playing field? Especially if it’s interesting and creates opportunities for new narratives?

          You mention being preached at, but all media is someone’s point of view.

          John Ford was a brilliant film director and preached his point of view with every frame, consciously or unconsciously. Spike Lee is too. So what? That’s the job. The job is to bend reality to make an audience feel something. What’s surprising about writer/directors wanting to do this? Everyone does it.

          You’re painting a world in which a certain network is trying to persuade you see and feel something you clearly do not want to. I’m guessing it feels contrived or formulaic to you. So you walk out, switch channels, or turn it off. My world is more about seeing new and interesting takes on old themes. I see all art and literature as contrived. That’s its nature.

          Even what passes as the most rigorous documentary is still contrived. What is not said, what ends up on the cutting room floor is often as telling as what makes the final cut.

          If there is an “incessant need to normalize false realities,” I would posit that there is an equal and opposite need to cling to old, preexisting ways of seeing the world. The “Change is Bad,” meme.

          Obviously no one is forcing anyone to watch a certain form of entertainment and there is certainly no accounting for taste, but I think you put too much faith in “reality.” Even outside of film and literature (and all forms of art), reality is not the singular experience you make it out to be.

          At least that’s my reality. 😉


      1. In 1970, I met Jeanette Piccard, who was the first woman licensed as a balloon pilot and guided one into the stratosphere in 1934. Only six men had flown higher. In 1963, she went to work for NASA, and was elected in 1988 to the International Space Hall of Fame. Late in life, she became the first woman Episcopal priest.

        Reality can be surprising.

    2. I had a similar problem with your post, reading up to the point you say ‘SJW garbage’ hoping it would make sense to me a few lines later but realising that I have no idea what you are going on about, so rapidly lose interest and soon after giving up totally baffled by the time you start talking about getting your money back after 30 minutes. Life is just too short even if you make it feel sooooo long..

    3. Finally upgraded to a MBP M1. They offered me Apple TV (or whatever its called) for free for a year. I would not get anywhere near that woke garbage, ever. Done with Hollywood, done with Apple outside of their lane, done with Target, done with Dickheads, done with Levis, done with Nike, done with Home Despot, done with NBA and NFL and MLB (zero), Coke and its products are off my list, avoiding Delta like the plague. ALL WOKE GARBAGE, and Apple TV, welcome to the party.

    4. I find the show easy to watch until the SJW elements crop up and can’t help feeling that Jeannie (I Dream of Jeannie) is going to appear at any moment…
      Nevertheless, all the mind games and societal control we are being bombarded with in TV and Movies today is very prevalent in For All Mankind. It is SciFi Soap at its best and Mind Programming at its worst.
      Ahh… the times we live in. Everything is an Agenda.

  2. It appears at the top of my tv. I think it depends on the customer and that customer’s viewing habits. It’s currently my favorite show (on any platform). This season is the alternate early 1980’s (with Apple IIe as prop). First season was (mostly) early 1970’s. Eventually, the “BAT” will catch up to us (maybe season 5 or 6) and that will be fun and a good finale. Hope the show gets its full intended run.

  3. For All Mankind really is a great series. Certainly top 3 on AppleTV+.

    Amazingly, the whole family loved it, even my Sci-Fi loathing wife. Extremely well written, acted, and directed with a fascinating, gripping storyline that seems so real, I have to keep pausing to remember exactly what actually happened.

    1. Yes its probably my favourite show though all I have watched have been good so far. But then I am a bit of a lover of alternative histories including Man in the High Castle which I think he wrongly derides somewhat. FAM brings to life all the tech that never saw the light of day and that is where my fascination takes flight, but importantly it wraps it in well acted, well predicted and well written personal story telling that gives it a unique flavour that should indeed make it of interest to those well beyond the tech nerds like me. Beyond mere entertainment there is also the bigger message I think for its never been more relevant to take heed, understand and take on board the warnings that what might seem like insignificant decisions and events (or instances of fate) now or in the recent past can over time make very significant changes to our lives and the world generally.

      The events with China now are a direct result of us in the West over the last 20 to 30 years putting cheap electronics over other considerations and a failure to predict their wide ranging effects. The political and economic drama in the US in recent years are arguably a direct consequence of those decisions so whether its TMITHC or For All Mankind for some of us its a fascinating process of learning as well as entertainment. But for a few big decisions in the former and fate in the latter with the N1 rocket and early unexpected death of its main designer FAM might well have been the actual world of the 80s over the one in our present history. Thats definitely worth a watch.

  4. I watch it, but I find it a little hard to watch. The plots are contrived. The science is weak. It is more like a soap opera that happens to take place partly on the moon. The astronauts smoke and drink heavily and one guy is clearly overweight. It just strains credulity. Having said that, I have nothing against the series and if people like it, great for them and the actors and crew making this series.

    1. BOOM … its just a woke soap opera. Apple needed a show for the sci-fi audience, but when you strip away the props and tired plot devices its just a lame soap opera so that explains your “Sci-Fi loathing wife” approval of the show; because its not really a Sci-Fi.

      “The astronauts smoke and drink heavily and one guy is clearly overweight.

      great point! The show is far from reality. Whats interesting about archival footage is how rare obesity was in the average person. Today in the USA, the fat grenade has been pulled and over half the population is medically obese. Its funny how we belittle the people of the past while we are the most entitled and FAT generation every.

      The number one preexisting condition for Covid death is obesity. Is it any surprise that the USA leads the world in Covid deaths. Its easy to pick on the past but the reality is they would crush the weak snowflakes produced by todays lifestyle choices.

      1. Hang on I can’t help but notice just how ‘under weight’ most of the characters are, which disproves your point. There is one character who has put on weight and stands out in the doing, for reasons directly related to his mental and physical health in light of his marriage break up, thats hardly something that only exists today.

    2. Sorry to bust your bubble, Neutrino, but the astronauts did smoke and drink heavily by today’s standards. Read Wolfe’s The Right Stuff. There are some fictional elements, but Season One, at least, portrayed the NASA community and several of the individual members pretty realistically.

      1. Yes but do you actually know why? Thats called research. Science fiction and science fact often make a fascinating Venn diagram, though I accept its not compulsory to be interested in that, but probably wise for our own future not to presume there is only a single line into the future we imagine based on our own unquestioning view of the past (actual or re written). Assured self destruction lies in that future direction I fear for all mankind.

    1. No but it is true that women were in the early days put into training for the Mercury program and then dropped when it was decided high up that they should be sent back to the kitchen, its part of history. Events create new histories and the whole point of this is just as happened in both World wars the position of women changed fundamentally due to those events which wouldn’t have done so (on remotely that time scale anyway) had they not taken place. So when you change certain aspects of history you have to take into consideration what changes would have taken place. At least two of the major female characters are based on real people both of whom were remarkable people and had great influence, one was written out of the history of the space program (and photographs) for ‘political’ reasons and the other was prevented from becoming an astronaut by decisions from above which had the Russians reached the moon and propelled women into the equation (as they always have) it would have likely have had a fundamental effect on Jerrie Cobb (Molly) being accepted into active astronaut programs and women generally welcomed into space years earlier. You can call it woke if you like but you don’t make truth, facts or evident likelihood’s wrong by simply applying a cheap lazy buzzword to them so you don’t have to learn about it.

      1. Perhaps the doubters should look up “Mercury 13.” This was a group of women who passed the same qualification tests as the Mercury 7 and had, on average, more flight hours. They were not considered for the official astronaut program because the powers that be decided to impose a requirement to accept only graduates of a military test pilot program. Since women were not allowed to serve as regular Air Force pilots in any capacity until 1977, that automatically excluded them. Air Force Reserve Colonel Jacqueline Cochran had broken the sound barrier in 1953, but she always had an ambiguous status.

  5. LOVE the show… Definitely in the TOP 3 of my favorites… along with Servant and Calls, as far as series go……( Morning show is kind good too)

    Im Very surprised the headline says no one watches it!😳

  6. Another Pentagon war contractor propaganda film. US Congress is in on it because it gets huge kickbacks in several ways: Financing for its legislative campaigns, free trips, and jobs in the post-legislative phase of their lives, this, while sucking off of a lucrative, lifetimè retirement pension. The latter spigot should be shut off once they get those jobs. This one is a war drama on the Moon, not on Earth. People are getting tired of war on Earth. Next on Mars. Can you see the trend? Can you read the Fascist corruption?

    (MDN is collecting emails and making unsolicited mailings.)

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