For All Mankind: Season 1 (Blu-ray Review)

These last few years have had several incarnations of “What If?” stories.  We are treated to some alternate timeline, without any sci-fi type of significance, and show creators and writers running wild with some very interesting ideas.  Ryan Murphy has done this with fact and fiction recently (His series Ratched and Hollywood spring to mind), and For All Mankind takes on the Space Race that ended long ago. The catch? What if that Space Race never ended, and even more cleverly, what if NASA was as inclusive and un-bigoted as it is now? Pair that with several separate stories with the same interests at hand and you’ve got the jist of the show I’m about to review! Click the paid Amazon link below to order your copy of this inaugural AppleTV+ show on Blu-ray and read on and see if your thoughts align like stars with mine!


It’s 1969 and NASA is gobsmacked at the news that Russia has just landed on the moon. With the idea that Russia’s communist ideals shall be what fuels more space exploration at hand, a few good spacemen are on the move to figure out how to be next and make an even larger impact on space exploration. Ed Baldwin is one such astronaut, totally defeated by Russia’s moon landing, and hoping to come back swinging as he pushes for the next Apollo mission with his fellow astronauts. The squad becomes less than happy with Baldwin after he drunkenly spills his guts to a Newsweek reporter, however we hope things will get back to normal eventually.

Elsewhere we meet the wives of the astronauts, brave female engineers and astronauts (who of course, refreshingly aren’t cast aside in this alternative timeline…), and a young immigrant who is captivated by space and as she enters the USA becomes a strong candidate for mentorship with the right treatment and help. The show begins in 1969 and the seasons carries the evolution through all the way to the early 80’s.  Characters come whizzing in and we are fascinated by the new revelations as they align with what we know as factual information. The layout of the show is honestly impeccable.  To go over the season episode for episode would give too much away, so I’ll stop so far as to say that this is the kind of television show we want to see ever evolving and keeping us wanting to see more.

As viewers, we are taken to a much better late 20th century, where the lines of race and gender are blurred and the people who are passionate about space are represented on all sides.  Truly refreshing this revelation is, and what a way to execute the material! AppleTV+ first appeared as a gimmick to some.  I remember seeing articles of people criticizing the platform for one reason or another, and often not realizing that new ways to watch TV often begin in similar ways, slowly and eventually become goldmines for new content.  Of course, now, nearly 4 years later, we do realize that AppleTV+ is just as capable as a Netflix or a Disney+, and that shows such as For All Mankind helped to lay a groundwork for more to come.


Encoding: MPEG-4/AVC

Resolution: HD (1080P)

Aspect Ratio: 2.00 :1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: For All Mankind season 1 was of course released to its main platform in a 4K/Dolby Vision presentation.  While this is a downgrade of sorts for collectors, there is no real need to fret.  Detail and clarity are perfection for a Blu-ray and things look wonderful here, minus the added resolution for 4K. Upscaled on my TV, I was taken with the image, given the show’s visual style as vibrancy is used as needed and things look wonderful overall. The image retains a crispness with no loss of detail to be found.

Depth:  The depth department is handled deftly, with things looking natural and rich overall.  The interiors are usually dense with detail and you can pick little things out here and there, which we know is a great thing.

Black Levels: Blacks look near perfect overall, with nothing getting too shadowy or grey for the duration of the season.

Color Reproduction: Colors look great here.  Outdoor scenes, space scenes, and even special effects shots often look quite nice with subtle color palettes and a nice bright look in scenes calling for more brightness

Flesh Tones: Skin tones look natural and pitch perfect. Imagine what this show in 4K on disc would look like!

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

DynamicsFor All Mankind streams with a Dolby Atmos mix, and for the disc release they’ve opted yet again to downgrade.  The 5.1 mix is fine, but knowing there’s something better out there is of course a disappointment.  Dynamically speaking, this isn’t extremely different from the Atmos mix, but it’s got less channels and immersion doesn’t exist, of course.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Bass hits hard when scenes all for it, and there are no complaints to be made for that! Launches, planes, car engines and source music cues all benefit from the subwoofer anytime the rumble comes calling.

Surround Sound Presentation: Ambience, louder sound effects and quiet chatter are all in our surrounds and bring us as close as a 5.1 mix can, putting you right in the middle of everything.

Dialogue Reproduction: Perfect.


No extras to speak of come with Sony’s Blu-ray release of For All Mankind: Season 1.


I was very pleased with For All Mankind. I came into the show blind, having known it existed, but never watching it on AppleTV+ (Shame on me, I know…).  Curious buyers will seek this out if they don’t stream or just want to own one of the better shows released in the last few years. The lack of extras, or for that matter, a 4K physical release feel disappointing, but it’s understandable considering that we are lucky to get a physical release of any kind. Worth a pickup at a decent sale price.

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