They say that limitations breed creativity. It clearly belongs to Moore, who is forced to push his galaxy-sized ambitions into space. The result is a sprawling story that covers all facets of space travel – the weary engineers (led by Wrenn Schmidt’s Margo Madison, a delight), the astronauts’ families (basically the show’s weak link), politics, budget, the west wing-style walk-and-talks for NASA leaders and their DoD colleagues while discussing the appropriate role of the military.
The bureaucracy justifies the show and gives it credibility. This draws up moments of silent fear, as when a lunar astronaut, Ed Baldwin (the glowing Joel Kinnaman, in his finest work since Drapet), first comes face to face with a Russian cosmonaut. One of them has a tool that can be used as a weapon. They stare at each other. This is a real moment of geopolitical tension, distilling the efforts of the Cuban Missile Crisis into a setting that is both intimate and filled. If Baldwin strikes the cosmonaut, will this ignite a war with Russia that will dominate for the next forty years?
The show balances the risk of threat with a sincere sense of wonder, channeling the purest hope of NASA̵
While the early episodes felt too safe and too small, there are hints that Moore has smuggled in some narrative tricks that are Game of Thrones-level epos. In the pilot, a young girl fascinated by NASA, Aleida Rosales (Olivia Trujillo) anchors a subplot that feels as if it is in another show that is more about immigration than space. Aleida does not interact with any of the performances. She is literally in another world. Nevertheless, she remains curiously prominent, and it is not until the middle of season 2, in 1983, when she is a young woman (now played by Coral Peña), that her technical brilliance is released in NASA.
This is a narrative patience by Moore. This means that the show plays a long game that stretches decade. When the teenage children of astronauts (the show’s current leaders) apply to the Naval Academy in season 2, it opens up the possibility that they will emerge as the primary astronauts in future seasons that could take us as far as the ’90s and aughts. , or beyond. (Apple has miraculously green-lit Season 3. It turns out that $ 195 billion in cash could be useful.) If the show goes this route, we’ll be treated to half a century of alternative history through the prism of characters we grow into love, a feat which, as far as I know, has never been attempted.
I’m all in. Take me to the moon, take me to Mars, and take me to this strange, yet familiar world of dreams and discoveries. It is true that the show got off to a bumpy start. But as with all great NASA stories, it’s not about the rocky lift. It’s about what happens when you are on the run, when you are in orbit and when they hold the landing.