From the Earth to the Moon

"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this time period will be more impressive to Mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space. And none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."    - President John F. Kennedy, 25 May 1961

release year: 1998
genre: space drama
viewing setting: home DVD 5/17-24/15

synopsis: This 12-part miniseries dramatizes the entire Apollo program and its efforts to put men on the moon and bring them back safely.

impressions: This is an in-depth look at the entire Apollo program, showing much of the behind-the-scenes efforts, the challenges that were faced and overcome, etc. There's a lot here that the average person isn't aware of, and if you have any interest at all in the space program and its history, you should watch this. Rather than provide episode briefs, I'll point out what topic each one focused on:
  • (1) - a brief recap of the early days of the space program and some of its triumphs
  • (2) - Apollo 1, a tragic fire on the launch pad, and the resultant investigation
  • (3) - Apollo 7, first manned mission after the disaster, and one that really needed to go smoothly
  • (4) - Apollo 8, set against the backdrop of a turbulent 1968
  • (5) - Apollo 9, and the design/testing of the lunar lander
  • (6) - Apollo 11, first moon landing (and Buzz Aldrin's desire to be the first man to walk on the moon)
  • (7) - Apollo 12, second moon landing (and great teamwork from an easygoing and enthusiastic crew)
  • (8) - Apollo 13, aborted moon mission turned attempt at survival (and the often-inconsiderate media coverage)
  • (9) - Apollo 14, Alan Shepard's return to spaceflight
  • (10) - Apollo 15, the first mission with a heavy geological focus (and the astronauts' training for such)
  • (11) - Apollo 16, and the space program from the perspective of the astronauts' wives (and the high divorce rate of those marriages)
  • (12) - Apollo 17, the last mission, set against the backdrop of a 1902 film about a trip to the moon

    acting: There are dozens of actors used here; one of the most consistently-present was Nick Searcy (who would later play the chief marshal in Justified) as Deke Slayton, chief of the astronaut office.

    final word: This is the most complete accounting of the Apollo space program ever filmed.

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