Season 3 of For All Mankind demonstrated how difficult achieving a Star Treks utopia is

Season 3 of For All Mankind demonstrated how difficult achieving a Star Treks utopia is ...

For All Mankind enters the technology boom of the 90s after two seasons of an extended Cold War. If the real 90s were driven by a techno-optimist, it explores an alternate space-focused timeline: electric cars, videophones, and moon mining. Sounds good, right?

For All Mankind's alternate history has gone beyond what our 90s found us. The smaller powers have wound down their military snafus in Vietnam and Afghanistan to concentrate on constructing military bases on the moon. Electric cars are readily available thanks to technological advances, and the Soviet Union never collapsed.

Along with the Aldrins and the Rides, it placed its own heroes, like Ed Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman), Danielle Poole (Krys Marshall), and Gordo Stevens (Michael Dorman). Ted Kennedy became president after Nixon, and Reagan after that.

In season 3, real-world characters take a back seat to the show's world. All of the exciting technology, for decades, has been focused on sustaining life in space. This allows For All Mankind to make engaging observations rather than exploring Jobs, Gates, and the culture of the 90s Wired.

Elon Musk has obvious ties to him, but Ayesa does not have four companies. He rejects titles and a corner office, exercising office democracy. Helios employees vote for major company policies in public.

Ayesa seems to be in agreement with techno libertarians from the 70s through the 1990s, who saw technology as a means of personal liberation, whom historian Fred Turner refers to in his book From Counterculture to Cyberculture. They saw the combined world as a single, interlinked information structure as a source of comfort.

Ayesa watches in horror as the moon becomes a battlefield for world powers and is then split in half, with the other piece for the USSR. The goal, above all else, is to be first. And, taking advantage of a terrifying space hotel catastrophe in Season 3, he buys the technology Helios requires to conquer NASA and the USSR in a race to Mars.

Ayesa continues his buying spree, poaching NASA employees disgruntled with the low salary and sloppy sense of order. They are hardly allowed to complain, considering that while NASA's economic position in For All Mankind has improved substantially, they haven't seen a salary increase in years. When Helios employees discuss who should lead the company's mission to the Red Planet, they begin to feel heard.

Ronald D. Moore, a Star Trekalum, co-created For All Mankind, and the program makes references to the franchise at various occasions. In the 90s of season 3, it is derided as out of date, as astronauts prefer the awful Aliens and the gentle humor of their own heroes.

There's no end to the number of things that can go wrong in space, including no oxygen or gravity, no atmosphere to keep you safe from radiation, and a vast distance between points of interest with no means of fast-traveling. There's also the isolation from most of humanity, as well as the confinement in close quarters for years at a time, which, on a trip to Mars, would lead to what NASA (in our universe) believes are inevitable behavioral difficulties.

The term space is hard has become a standard saying within the industry that the US Space Force has used it in commercials. But For All Mankind does not shy away from mentioning it. Characters die horrific deaths when exposed to a harsh lunar landscape in For All Mankind.

Neither Ayesas or NASAs trust in military-style structures prevent catastrophes in the most unforgiving environment imaginable, a place where the smallest particle of debris can ruin an entire ecosystem, according to For All Mankind.

While the Mars mission is successful in the sense that boots are on the ground, it begins to fall apart afterward. Much like in the actual 90s, an underground movement of anti-government extremism is downplayed in For All Mankind until it is tragically too late. By transcribing the real world over to For All Mankind's space focus, Jamestown becomes as radical as the Waco siege.

In the last episodes of For All Mankind, the world is roiled: The president is openly gay, neither the Soviets nor Americans were the first to Mars, it turns out, and the Johnson Space Center is in disarray; space is now a financial and political liability, with visionaries like Ayesa and Margo Madison shut out of their own institutions.

Gordo and Traci Stevens' heroics couldn't be further back in the past. As the twinkling of Radioheads Everything in Its Right Place introduces the 2000s, characters discover their lives completely changed as an age of space heroism transitions into a time of great uncertainty. The quick shot of Margo awakening to her new life in the 2003 Soviet Union (never since The Americans has a show been this good with needle drops).

Despite all the chaos, the show resembles Moores' terrible Star Trek: Enterprise, examining the very early beginnings of a Star Trek-like society. The Earth may have changed, but space is still above, calling for exploration.

Despite what any billionaire tries to sell you, the road to a life among the stars would be torturous. A sense of adventure would fade away. Humanity would be dragged kicking and screaming into the future, carrying the pale Blue Dot's injustices, hatreds, and petty squabbles on a journey across the solar system. But For All Mankind believes that hitting the fan knows no language or ideology.

Season 3 of For All Mankind is now available on Apple TV Plus.