So we finished this last night and I have some few feelings. For those interested, the show is currently free on Apple TV+ due to the virus lockdown.
I really enjoyed the alternate reality-building & the way the creators leaned into the “real” parts with edited real and faked presidential tapes & photos, fictionalized versions of people from our timeline, mostly real physics, etc.
It didn’t make sense (to me) that multiple characters are lectured on the realities of orbital mechanics, but then those same physics get thrown right out the window for dramatic effect in the dumb astronaut rescue and fuel-tank throw parts of the last episodes. Space is large & mostly empty, making both of those events absurdly improbable. Is real space travel not dangerous and dramatic enough already?
What’s the point of the immigrant family & teen daughter (Aleida) storyline? Within the current season she serves only to soften the edges of Margo’s character & give her a little emotional depth. Aleida and her father’s screen time is wasted because she doesn’t do anything that ultimately matters to anything or anyone (unless the series lives long enough to make her an astronaut herself). That’s an awfully long payoff and character arc for a series that’s unlikely to live so long.
There are, overall, too damned many characters, which leads to some getting short shrift & others unnecessarily much. Astronaut Poole is almost literally the token black woman she complains about in the series, for example. Yet Deke Slayton gets so much screen time. I know his character is an homage to a well-loved person from our reality, but his character arc is telegraphed so obviously from early on that it’s kind of tedious and exasperating to watch it actually unfold.
I might have been happy watching more of the cerebral Wernher & Margo design & manage the alternate future space program show & a bit less of the astronauts are dramatic and troubled American heroes show. But the astronauts-as-heroes trope is well-established now & most people would probably find the other super-dull. So it’s probably as well they didn’t do this :-)
Overall I’m giving this a C+. Has potential, is fun to watch & is probably better than average. But also wastes a lot of that potential, is slow in many places, and is just plain dumb in many others