Author Topic: For All Mankind  (Read 139256 times)

Offline Jarnis

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #580 on: 07/01/2022 09:25 pm »
Feels like this is inevitably heading towards "everyone on the Helios ship, everyone wins" scenario... Well, except the ones lost in the oopsie of the most recent episode.

Gotta give some credit for at least semi-plausible "race" where the first one to arrive was not set in stone due to plot twists they pulled out of the hat. Sure, I doubt the sails pass hard nitpicking check as far as the amount of thrust they'd provide (too small) and far too little detail to even try to nitpick the Russian move.

At least they try, but they could use some real rocket nerds to nitpick their scripts. Or, more likely, script writers that listen to the nitpickers rather than handwave their nitpicking away with "eh, close enough".

« Last Edit: 07/01/2022 09:29 pm by Jarnis »

Offline libra

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #581 on: 07/02/2022 07:04 am »
It is quite obvious they are borrowing some elements from our "2022 reality" and pouring them into their "alternate 1990's".
Such things as:
- former NASA astronauts transfering to private companies (Starliner & Dragon 2 crews)
- "Mars Direct & SpaceX mix" vs "NASA SLS / Artemis" vs "China "
= private vs government vs communists

There are probably others similar elements, but these two stands out.

As for "rocket nerds proof reading the script"... TBH, I see your point but maybe it wouldn't be a good thing. My point of view is, FAK can't be too much a show for rocket nerds: unfortunately, it would sink it right away. Surely, their technological advances (thermonuclear fusion) and rocketry are a bit all over the place.
BUT they are making a show for the larger populace and audience, hence that He3 thing (for example) - even if WE, as a fusion-rocket nerds, knows it doesn't makes any sense.

Bottom line: they can't get bogged down too much in technical reality and minor details: they have to tell a story, including the human element (people that suffer, have sex, die, fall in love, betray - the usual soap opera drama).

Offline Blackstar

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #582 on: 07/05/2022 10:21 am »
It wouldn't take a lot of money to hire someone who could provide more accurate technical advice to the production.

It's not about money. Or people. They have technical advisers who know a lot about the reality. The show has clearly made artistic choices about what they want to show. I think one of the choices they made was to depict the different ships as very different in look and design. Usually that is done so that the audience can instantly identify which ship is which. Star Wars did this brilliantly--all the main ships had very distinctive shapes so that you could tell the difference between the good guys' X-Wing and the bad guys' TIE Fighter in a second.

Something we always have to keep in mind about science fiction shows that attempt to be somewhat factually accurate is that they won't let the reality get in the way of the story or the visuals. They'll try to be more factually accurate, but it's a matter of degree, not black or white, accurate or not accurate.


Offline Blackstar

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #583 on: 07/05/2022 10:27 am »
So correct me if I'm wrong, but that Helios founder guy is like an Elon Musk -- but he's managed to develop nuclear fusion? (Hence the name 'Helios')

So does that mean fusion energy is now a thing in the For All Mankind story universe?

That was in the opening montage scene of episode 1--he and another guy created nuclear fusion and it has been wildly successful and is taking over as the primary power generation source on Earth. Somehow that all happened within a spate of nine years.

I think that this show's timeline has now become a bit of a problem. They have taken 10-year jumps each season. They have aged their actors each jump. But the need to keep their same actors has sort of held them back. Ed is in his 60s and is still an astronaut. And in the second season, the thing between his wife and Danny created a real age problem (I don't know how else to describe it). At the same time, it's hard to believe so much progress has taken place in such a short amount of time. It's started to stretch the show at its seams.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #584 on: 07/05/2022 10:46 am »
But I do agree with M.E.T.  That Danny plot is cringey and will be used at the worst point for drama and doesn't add to the story.

Yeah, I have my worries about this. It's like the old saying that if there is a gun hanging on the wall at the beginning of act 1, it will go off in act 3 (it has to go off in act 3). Now maybe they'll pull a twist and not have that whole thing explode, but it just seems way too obvious, too much like a soap opera plot.

And... it's just very cringe-inducing. It was very wrong in season two considering their age difference. Now he's become a stalker, which made my skin crawl.



Addendum: at least so far they have established that Karen then behaved like an adult. One of the big problems I had with what happened in season two is that it implied that Karen had some really big emotional problems. They seem to have avoided that entirely this season, and it's Danny who has the problems--not simply an infatuation with an older woman, but some real psychological damage. I think that was really happened is that the writers got to that episode in season two and they felt like they needed to do something, so they did that. But that was like throwing something at the wall to see if it would stick; they never really thought out the implications of it or what it meant for Karen's character. If they did/once they did, they would realize that it would say complex and very convoluted things about Karen's psyche and getting her out of that would be tough.
« Last Edit: 07/05/2022 12:17 pm by Blackstar »

Offline sanman

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #585 on: 07/05/2022 04:44 pm »
I'm wondering if or when China would start showing up in this space race. Is there something that's happened to China in this alternate timeline, that's preventing them from making the strong showing in space they've achieved in real life?

Offline tea monster

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #586 on: 07/05/2022 04:55 pm »

It's not about money. Or people. They have technical advisers who know a lot about the reality. The show has clearly made artistic choices about what they want to show. I think one of the choices they made was to depict the different ships as very different in look and design. Usually that is done so that the audience can instantly identify which ship is which. Star Wars did this brilliantly--all the main ships had very distinctive shapes so that you could tell the difference between the good guys' X-Wing and the bad guys' TIE Fighter in a second.

Something we always have to keep in mind about science fiction shows that attempt to be somewhat factually accurate is that they won't let the reality get in the way of the story or the visuals. They'll try to be more factually accurate, but it's a matter of degree, not black or white, accurate or not accurate.

All that is true, but there are no shortage of 'real' designs for Mars mission spacecraft with a great variation of form and propulsion type. It's not going to be sacrificing anything to choose something akin to one of the scientifically accurate ships. All that is done by the effects department with some minor tweaks to dialogue.

Offline ccdengr

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #587 on: 07/05/2022 05:03 pm »
I'm wondering if or when China would start showing up in this space race. Is there something that's happened to China in this alternate timeline, that's preventing them from making the strong showing in space they've achieved in real life?
The season 3 opener had a headline from June 1987 about China establishing a moon base and achieving "lunar parity" with the US and USSR by 1990 (?).  But I suspect they felt like jamming a fourth party into the Mars race plot was too complicated.  Or maybe the Chinese will show up in the next episode, I dunno.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #588 on: 07/05/2022 05:17 pm »
All that is true, but there are no shortage of 'real' designs for Mars mission spacecraft with a great variation of form and propulsion type. It's not going to be sacrificing anything to choose something akin to one of the scientifically accurate ships. All that is done by the effects department with some minor tweaks to dialogue.

I agree. But they're storytellers, not documentarians. In the second season they picked the shuttle to go to the moon--rather than a more logical cislunar spacecraft--because the shuttle was iconic and the audience would recognize it.

In this season, they have decided that each of the Mars craft are going to look very different. The NASA craft looks like a shuttle without wings. The Helios craft is a long, gangly thing with artificial gravity. Very distinctive. They made that choice as storytellers.

I wish they had worked harder on accuracy, but they chose not to, for reasons we don't know.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #589 on: 07/05/2022 11:37 pm »
I'm wondering if or when China would start showing up in this space race. Is there something that's happened to China in this alternate timeline, that's preventing them from making the strong showing in space they've achieved in real life?

Episode 4 included a news show mention of a North Korean launch to Mars. I assume that we'll see something about that, although I don't expect it to be a human spacecraft.

Offline libra

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #590 on: 07/06/2022 03:49 am »
I'm wondering if or when China would start showing up in this space race. Is there something that's happened to China in this alternate timeline, that's preventing them from making the strong showing in space they've achieved in real life?

Episode 4 included a news show mention of a North Korean launch to Mars. I assume that we'll see something about that, although I don't expect it to be a human spacecraft.

And the Polaris space hotel was crippled by a North Korea space debris.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #591 on: 07/06/2022 01:57 pm »
There have been several hints as to where this is all going. I'm going to use a light font so that I don't accidentally spoil anything. Maybe I'm wrong, but the hints were there:

-Margo made a comment about the Soviet reactor system and Aleida gave her a weird look, like "how do you know that?" I suspect that Aleida is going to find out about Margo giving the Soviets information, maybe even Aleida's own data.

-there is a Russian defector on the NASA ship, and now four Russians who hate him. Obviously something bad is going to happen there.

-President Ellen is going to get opposed by her vice president somehow, although he did not appear in the last episode. I suspect that he will out her for being gay, because that subplot has not been mentioned in the first four episodes (although we have seen that she has a son, possibly with her husband who is also gay?)

-the Stevens' other son (whatshisname) heard about a conspiracy theory about the Soviet attack on Jamestown. Something is going to happen with that, although it sounds like the official explanation of what happened is what we actually saw on screen.


Any more?
« Last Edit: 07/06/2022 07:16 pm by Blackstar »

Offline Pipcard

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #592 on: 07/08/2022 06:29 am »
It's ironic that in this alternate timeline, NASA and SpaceX-counterpart Helios take each other's overall approaches to interplanetary vehicle design, albeit with differences in propulsion systems.

https://twitter.com/mikusingularity/status/1545291380343578625
« Last Edit: 07/08/2022 06:57 am by Pipcard »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #593 on: 07/08/2022 02:03 pm »
New episode. More spoilers. I'm posting them in a white font. Avert your eyes and don't read until after you have watched it. Or never.








Spoilers







-Aleida has figured out that the Soviet nuclear engine is a copy of the American one. The way she figured this out was clever. I'll give the writers credit for this, because they didn't make it simple (although it was solved in only a few minutes). She noticed the similarity in the designs. But then when interacting with the Soviet nuclear engineer astronaut, she noticed that he was providing/assuming specifications that were slightly different than the current NERVA engine. She figured out that he had information on the previous NERVA design, not the current one. I liked that twist, because there was a lot of logic to it--he couldn't just be getting the information now, he already had the information.

-Aleida takes the info to Margo, who says that after the landing is over, she'll take that information to the Department of Justice. Aleida is relieved and gets her head back in the game.

-Aleida has grown as a character. Ten years ago (season 2) she was self-destructive. Now she's responsible, loyal, conscientious. Of course eventually (next season?) she will find out Margo's betrayal, and because Margo was her mentor, she's going to be devastated.

-Danny is still an obsessed creepy guy. Really messed up. He prods Ed to find out what he will do to the person who slept with Karen and Ed says if he found out who it was he would kill him. And by the end of the episode Danny has a great reason to be mad at Ed, so he's clearly going to reveal what happened and they're going to fight. We'll see if one of them ends up dead.

-Margo finally gets to see Sergei again and finds out that he has spent the past 3 years or so in the KGB prison being tortured. They destroyed his lungs and his liver and threatened his family. He's a broken man. Margo promises to get him and his family free. Of course she cannot do that if she is in prison herself. For all her intelligence, Margo is very naive about who she is dealing with, even after all they have done to her.

-The Soviets are still blackmailing Margo.

-Karen quits Helios. She has a nice moment with Molly's husband Wayne Cobb, who cooks her up some cannabis "gooballs." Wayne knows about Karen's fling with Danny. Their meeting is a callback to the first season when Karen and Wayne connected on a deep level. Wayne is kind of like her therapist and a friend who does not judge her. I think a little bit of Wayne goes a long way, but he is really an interesting character from an emotional standpoint, somebody who is like a philosopher for the high-stress people he encounters.

-They did not link up the ships. They still raced to Mars. Ed took down the Helios lander "Popeye" and aborted at the last second because he did not see the ground. Danny had wanted to land, but Ed refused. The NASA ship, with the Soviets onboard, lands first. Then the Soviet commander goes running out the hatch to be first, Danielle goes after him, and the two of them step on the surface at the same time, and then fall over. It's comical. End of the episode.

-At least some of the hints from last episode were a bit misleading. I expected that the NASA ship would be damaged and they would all go in the Helios ship. But instead the race lasted until the end. So although I made some guesses above (like Danny confronting Ed), maybe I'm wrong and the show will zig when I expect it to zag.

-No Ellen in this episode other than a speech. She's not driving the story in any way.

I'm still finding For All Mankind entertaining. But I'm less interested in it now than I was in past seasons. I was hoping for it to hew to reality a bit more than it has.
« Last Edit: 07/16/2022 06:53 pm by Blackstar »

Offline EE Scott

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #594 on: 07/09/2022 01:02 pm »
Great comments Blackstar. I second your feelings about Aleida and the direction of her character. To see someone with so much potential get the chance to live up to it is very gratifying, she came so close to flaming out several times.

The fact that the Karen-Danny thing isn't being resolved is a direction that makes me a bit sick to my stomach...but I guess my discomfort stems from the fact that this show has created many characters that I've grown to care and root for. Also, Wayne Cobb is truly a breath of fresh air when he shows up, so many driven and high strung people in this cast, we need a bit of a break now and then.

When the plot does't go a way that I think it should, I do get frustrated, but then I realize I'm watching someone else's creative ideas take shape and I'm just along for the ride. I'm still looking forward to each new show with enthusiasm - and dread in the case of Margo.
« Last Edit: 07/09/2022 01:03 pm by EE Scott »
Scott

Offline Lars-J

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #595 on: 07/10/2022 09:28 pm »
I laughed out loud at the last ‘ramp’ scene .

As far as everyone working together, I fully expect (and this is speculation not spoilers), that the Helios ship will need to rescue the combined NASA/Roscosmos crew from the surface, and that everyone is heading back on the same ship. But I could be way off-base here.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #596 on: 07/10/2022 10:07 pm »
The fact that the Karen-Danny thing isn't being resolved is a direction that makes me a bit sick to my stomach...

Well, I think what they are hinting at to resolve it is that Danny reveals the secret to Ed, and maybe Ed beats the crap out of him (or tries to). But there's no resolution between Danny and Karen, because she has moved on from a single mistake in her past, and he has not.

But there are just some big problems with that entire plotline. The first problem is that it implies that when it happened there was something seriously psychologically wrong with Karen. She wasn't just sleeping with a younger male, she was sleeping with one of her dead son's friends. That was seriously messed up. Was Danny a surrogate for her lost son? Did she secretly desire to have sex with her dead son? Is there a psychiatrist in the house?

The same is true in a different way for Danny--did he really have a crush on his best friend's mom when he was 10 and she was in her 30s? Did he really maintain that crush until he was 20? And how has he maintained that crush now that he's in his 30s? That implies that he has some serious unresolved psychological problems. I guess we could sorta accept that Karen made a big mistake, realized it, and that was it, it was over a decade ago. But Danny's been a total psychological mess for at least a decade or more. And none of his superiors noticed that?

The whole thing just struck me as a real aberration in the writing. The show has often demonstrated some real clever character writing. For instance, that scene between Danielle and Ed in the bar when, even after all they have been through together, he still makes the racist comment that the only reason she got command is because she's black (you know, white men just can't get a break in American society). That was really keen writing. But the Danny-Karen thing seems like they only wrote the affair because somebody bet one of the writers that they wouldn't do it. It's just too random.

« Last Edit: 07/10/2022 10:14 pm by Blackstar »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #597 on: 07/16/2022 07:03 pm »
Well, now that we've had another episode, I think it's safe to say that the writers lead us in one direction and then go in another direction. They're teasing the audience, zigging instead of zagging.





Minor spoilers follow.










-At the end of the previous episode it was looking like creepy Danny was heading toward a blowup. It looked like he was going to blame Ed for not making the landing, then reveal his fling with Karen, and then we were probably going to see a fight. That didn't happen. Instead, Danny--still being the creepy guy--sees a video from Ed who confesses that the reason he aborted the landing was because he didn't want to kill Danny. He feels protective of Danny. But he later reveals that he thinks Danny is in trouble, which is totally true. And now Danny is sucking down pain pills like candy. Instead of Danny trying to kill Ed, is Danny going to kill himself?

-President Ellen has been missing awhile. Now she's back in the episode, and there's a weighty dilemma there. What does she do about the openly gay astronaut? She and her husband are both gay and closeted. That looks like it is going to blow up. But who knows? Maybe not.

-It looked like the former Soviet cosmonaut who is now on the NASA ship was going to be attacked by the other cosmonauts for being a traitor. But nothing like that happens in this episode. Zigged instead of zagged.

-NASA beat Helios to Mars, but wrecked their ship in the process. So they will rely on Helios for their return trip.

A final comment: I didn't like the fact that the main plot driver for this episode came out of nowhere. The astronaut who declares that he's gay is not somebody we've seen before. I'd have to rewatch the previous episode, but I don't know if he even had a single line before (maybe one?). They should have introduced him before and set him up, otherwise he's just a random plot device. It's like having the ship get hit by a meteor. We don't know who he is, nor do we care, he's just a disruption that the characters have to deal with. That's lazy writing.

Offline Lars-J

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For All Mankind
« Reply #598 on: 07/17/2022 07:34 am »
I did not care as much for this latest episode, although it is refreshing that they feel free to skip foreword weeks/months between episodes. I had expected more more to be made of everyone needing to return via Helios, but it is stated in the opening monologue and any drama around that skipped. (For bad and good)

Re: president Ellen. I definitely get they feel that they are heading for an alternate Lewinsky scandal, after the “don’t ask, don’t tell” by a different name. But maybe that is too obvious and they will surprise. And I hope too much focus is not put on it… I am here for alternate space drama, not earth scandal politics.

Agreed that some previous character work on the gay astronaut would have helped, although he has had a couple of lines.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2022 07:35 am by Lars-J »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: For All Mankind
« Reply #599 on: 07/18/2022 01:20 pm »
Re: president Ellen. I definitely get they feel that they are heading for an alternate Lewinsky scandal, after the “don’t ask, don’t tell” by a different name. But maybe that is too obvious and they will surprise. And I hope too much focus is not put on it… I am here for alternate space drama, not earth scandal politics.

They do seem willing to zig when we expect them to zag. That final scene (with the guy in the car saying he had a big story) could lead nowhere. Or it could be the cliff-hanger at the end of the season.

I agree that I'm more interested in the space drama, not the Earth drama. I also wish that there was more focus on the problems of living on Mars rather than the interpersonal stuff (compare it to National Geographic's "Mars" from a few years ago). But by now we know that the personal drama is a big part of the show.

 

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