What if the Russians took the moon?

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“For All Mankind”… as gobsmackingly cinematic as TV gets.

Ever thought about owning a star? It can be done. Sort of. Streaming columnist NICK OVERALL has his head in the clouds this week… 

Nick Overall.

FOR the right price the Sydney Observatory is just one of many companies around the world offering people the opportunity to sight and name a star in the sky.

Of course, NASA won’t acknowledge it as belonging to the person who threw down the money, but the buyer is welcome to believe it’s their star in their own mind. 

In fact, lots of institutions around the world do this, and seemingly a very profitable business idea it is, too.

Quite the food for thought about people: a piece of plastic from a wallet can be tapped on a screen and it can make them feel some kind of ownership of a cosmic entity that’s located billions of kilometres away. 

It’s something I was thinking about while watching “For All Mankind” on Apple TV+ this week. 

Currently streaming new episodes of its second season, “For All Mankind” is about the historic race that saw the two most powerful countries on earth duke it out to claim some ownership of our closest celestial neighbour.

The twist: what would happen if Russia stuck the flag in the moon first, and not the US?

The show has the “Home of the Brave” riled up in the aftermath of their hypothetical loss, and asks what might have happened if the country put its foot further down on the pedal in the space race following.

It’s one of the big productions being thrown around by Apple TV+, a platform that’s presented as slick and tidy as one of the boxes an iPhone comes packaged in.

The platform itself is yet to see as much success as other big streaming networks, however Apple is Apple, and so has the funds to assemble some of the highest TV production value around. 

That production value will continue to draw in subscribers as their catalogue of original shows grows, and it’s certainly on display in “For All Mankind”, which is as gobsmackingly cinematic as TV gets. 

The scenes in space are among the best that modern special and visual effects have to offer, and prove that television is far and away from being “the small screen” that it was once so titled.

Watching “For All Mankind” spurred me to jump over to YouTube to look at the original, real footage of the moon landing.

Viewing those iconic first steps is a profound experience, a fact I’m sure those who saw it happen live in 1969 doubly know to be the case.

It’s made even more mind boggling when thinking about how far technology, and the relationship we have with our screens, has evolved.

I wonder what live viewers of the moon landing would think if you told them that in 50 years they would be able to watch a dramatically staged alternate reality of the event on a “television” that was around the size of their hand.

The show is quite good at provoking such thoughts but, unfortunately, yes Houston, there is a problem here.

When back on earth, an over reliance on soapy operatics can seem profoundly trivial in comparison to the cosmic line of questioning the scenes minutes earlier are able to generate.

Some may love the way drama and modern politics is weaved into the premise here; others, like me, may find it more jarring. Either way, the show serves as quite the thought provoking, cultural stop off.

Or, hear me out, on Stan there’s always “Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Day Out”, which authoritatively puts the whole debate on whether the moon is made of cheese or not to bed.

 

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