One of the most hopeful shows of 2019, Apple TV+’s For All Mankind presented an alternate history of the 1960s, in which the Soviet Union earned the distinction of putting the first man on the moon. That doesn’t sound very optimistic, we know—but this setback only served to inspire the men and women (see, that’s part of the alternate history) of the space program, including Ed Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman), Gordo Stevens (Michael Dorman), and Molly Cobb (Sonya Walger), to double down on their own progress. Over the decade-plus span of the first season, huge strides were made, both in space and on the ground: Lunar landings led to designs for a whole lunar base, and the Equal Rights Amendment was ratified (take that, Mrs. America).
For All Mankind co-creator Ronald D. Moore once again displayed his knack for humanistic storytelling and forward thinking, but divisions of gender, race, and class didn’t entirely melt away in his alternate history. Even in the more idealized world of his streaming drama, certain things are inevitable, like a Ronald Reagan presidency. The first teaser for season two, which was unveiled today as part of the For All Mankind Comic-Con@Home panel, rockets into the 1980s to the synth sounds of Eurhythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.”
We see a bustling lunar base, a down-on-his-luck Gordo (singing to Shriners, we think?), an impressed Danielle (Krys Marshall), a resolute-looking Tracy (Sarah Jones), and what looks like Ed teaching another group of new recruits. Through it all, we hear snippets of Ronald Reagan speeches, including his address following the shooting down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007. “We must maintain peace through strength as long as necessary,” Reagan intones as we see the lunar base astronauts arming themselves, standing shoulder to shoulder, like some kind of space force. Militarization of the space program is something Moore and his co-creators Ben Nedivi and Matt Wolpert have said they wanted to explore through For All Mankind, and it looks like the gung-ho ’80s will offer a prime setting.