The twelve episodes follow the Apollo space program from a variety of viewpoints: (1) "Can We Do This?" maps the origins of Apollo and its Mercury and Gemini roots; (2) "Apollo 1" tells of the tragic fire and the subsequent finger-pointing; (3) "We Have Cleared the Tower" portrays the intense preparation for Apollo 7; (4) "1968" puts Apollo 8 into its historical context against events of the era; (5) "Spider" shows the engineering POV through the design, building, and testing of the LEMs with Apollos 9 and 10, (6) "Mare Tranquilitatis" shows the deeper considerations behind the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing; (7) "That's All There Is" portrays the camaraderie of the Apollo 12 crew; (8) "We Interrupt This Program" shows a by-now-indifferent media galvanized by the events of Apollo 13; (9) "For Miles and Miles" tells of Alan Shepherd's return to the manned program with Apollo 14 after being grounded between Mercury and Gemini; (10) "Galileo Was Right" show the non-piloting demands on ... Written by
To simulate the low gravity on the moon the actors had large helium balloons attached to their space suits by long wires. The wires were removed digitally in post production. See more »
The song Up Around The Bend by Creedence Clearwater Revival appears in the Apollo 12 episode. Apollo 12 happened in late 1969, but this song was not released until 1970. See more »
[Quoting the Bible, after Apollo 11's landing]
I am the vine and you are the branches... Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For you can do nothing without me.
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It starts out with the Mercury missions, but not just the glossy scenes we know and have seen already, it goes beyond the norm. This 12 part series explains the absolute minutia of the space effort and the lives of the people behind it. It progresses through the Gemini and finally the Apollo missions all the way to the last Apollo 17 lunar landing.
I learned quite a few things about the space race that I never knew before, such as: The surly nature of Alan Shepard, the fate of the astronauts wives, the fun nature of the Apollo 12 crew and the internal politics within the ranks of the astronauts themselves. I was also surprised on how much a bastard that Walter Mondale was in his attempts on derailing the space program. (I'm glad his bid for the White House was a failed one... Ignorance favors all political parties.)
A lot of familiar faces starred in this production, the one that knocked me for a loop was Malcolm in the Middle's father as Buzz Aldrin. The acting is great and shows the versatility of the actors in both comedic and serious roles. I knew that Pete Conrad was cocky, but it shows more of his personality here. Armstrong has been known to be rather sullen and quiet, and is clearly demonstrated here as well. To this day, he doesn't talk much about his adventure. The decision determining who will be the first man on the moon is blunt and anti-climatic, but it tells it as it is. It tells of the astronauts secret activities and agendas, as well as particular small moments that they experienced.
In the Apollo 13 segment, the production did not go into the details of the incident like we all seen before, but rather focused on the reporters angle on the event. And I rather enjoyed the insight sweat details on the building of the L.E.M. I wish they did a segment on the rover. I thought that they labored too long over the Apollo 16 mission - training much...learning geology with a trained eye, but I appreciate the effort that they went through. The Apollo 1 tragedy was produced well, with the political aftermath fallout.
I hope that all what was filmed is true, and I do understand creative license, but I would feel better if I knew they kept it faithful to actual events. I need to view this again to catch more, but I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the space program.
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