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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that For All Mankind is a historical drama that presents an alternate history of the space race between the United States and the then-Soviet Union. It contains some mature themes, including infidelity and sexism, and references to violent events, including the tragic deaths of the Apollo 1 astronauts and the Holocaust. Cursing is frequent, including "s--t" and "f--k," and there's some drinking (beer, hard liquor) at bars and social events. As was common at the time, characters are frequently shown smoking cigarettes at work, home, and during social events. Labels for a range of products, including Frito-Lay, Lone Star Beer, Budweiser, and Corvette are partially visible.
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What's the story?
FOR ALL MANKIND is a dramatic historical fiction series that features an alternate universe where the global space race continues. After the unexpected landing of a Russian cosmonaut on the moon two weeks before Apollo 11 is scheduled to launch, the United States is desperate to regain the lead in the space race. While astronauts like Edward Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman) and Gordo Stevens (Michael Dorman), engineer Margo Madison (Wrenn Schmidt), and wife and pilot Tracy Stevens (Sarah Jones) are among those hoping to take an active role in NASA’s new future, the U.S. government is anxious to keep the Soviets from using the moon as a strategic Cold War vantage point. As a result, the agency finds itself pushing unexpected boundaries, something that a girl named Aleida Rosales (Olivia Trujillo), a recent Mexican immigrant, hopes will lead her towards a brighter future.
Is it any good?
This well-written, well-produced series presents an intriguing alternative history of space exploration, the impact of which reaches beyond space travel and geopolitical politics. Much of the story is told from the point of view of fictional characters, but the world feels authentic thanks to the use and manipulation of archival news footage, and the insertion of seemingly unrelated, real-life historic events. Some of these occasions play out as they did in real life, but others change as a result of the Soviet’s lead in the space race, making the show all the more compelling. Adding to this is the show’s nod at some contemporary issues, including the slowly evolving role of women in the sciences, government budget cuts, and the connection between immigration and the American Dream. Even if you’re not a fan of space stuff, For All Mankind is an absorbing drama that delivers some smart entertainment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the space race. Why were the U.S. and the Soviet Union competing to land on the moon first? Did it make a difference in the relationship between the two countries at that time?
In For All Mankind, the American public is stunned by the Soviet landing of the first person on the moon. Do you think the Soviet public felt this way during the U.S. moon landing? How did the media play a role in their reaction?
How did the role of women evolve in space exploration when the Soviets took the lead in the space race? Did these changes happen in real life?
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