Saturday, 19 October 2019

Apple TV+ to launch with Ronald D. Moore's new alt-history SF series

Apple TV+ is set to launch on 1 November, spearheaded by Ronald D. Moore's ambitious alternate-history drama For All Mankind.

For All Mankind starts in 1969 when mankind first reaches the moon...but the spacecraft that arrives is Russian, and it's the hammer-and-sickle of the Soviet Union that is erected first over the surface. The Americans do arrive, but a few weeks later.

Frustrated and angered by being beaten to the punch, President Nixon orders NASA to step up its efforts to beat Russia to the next milestones: a fully-functioning lunar base and the first man on Mars. The shock of the early landing also persuades Ted Kennedy to cancel his party on Chappaquiddick Island, putting his personal career - and the political trajectory of the United States - on a very different path. The Russians, buoyed by the success of their mission, pour more resources into space travel and technology rather than nuclear weapons, which also changes the destiny of the USSR. One of the consequences of the Russian advance and the need for more US astronauts is the reactivation of the Mercury 13, thirteen American female astronauts trained in a similar manner to their male counterparts as part of a physiological comparison programme in the early 1960s, to quickly (but controversially) provide NASA with much-needed extra manpower.

Moore, the executive producer, co-showrunner and writer of the second Battlestar Galactica and, more recently, Outlander, is serving in those capacities on the new series. The series stars Joel Kinnaman (Altered Carbon), Michael Dorman (Patriot), Wrenn Schmidt (Boardwalk Empire, The Americans, Person of Interest), Shantel VanSanten (One Tree Hill, The Flash, Shooter), Sarah Jones (Sons of Anarchy, Alcatraz, Vegas, Damnation) and Jodi Balfour (True Detective, The Crown, Primeval).

The first three episodes will be released on 1 November, with more episodes to follow on a weekly basis.

Other shows on Apple TV+'s slate include Lisey's Story (based on the Stephen King novel, adapted by King himself); Defending Jacob; Amazing Stories; Time Bandits (to be co-written by Taika Waititi, based on the Terry Gilliam movie); Servant (a new M. Night Shyamalan project); The Morning Show (a drama starring Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell); and Foundation, based on the Isaac Asimov novels. Apple TV are also considering picking up Lionsgate's Kingkiller Chronicle TV series, recently dropped by Showtime.

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