TV review: For All Mankind (Season 2)
The funny thing about this space drama is that it has a similar side effect as Game Of Thrones.
I tune in, week after week, enthralled - in this case by an alternative history of the space race - and gripped by the characters' fates.
But can I name more than four of them? First names, maybe.
But like Game Of Thrones, that does not mean it is a bad show - it is simply packed with characters who do not need to announce themselves or who they are talking to.
If you have yet to get into For All Mankind, currently streaming on Apple TV+, in a nutshell, it is what would happen if Russia got to the moon first.
The answer here, surprisingly, is that it works in Nasa's favour. The US space race becomes stronger, more diverse (with African-Americans and women becoming astronauts earlier than reality) and more relevant to the American public.
The first season took us through the 70s, with the US managing to establish a small base on the lunar surface.
It is hard to call this science fiction, as so much is just a nudge away in time.
As the second season opens in the 80s, Ronald Reagan still gets to be president yet John Lennon is still alive.
The tech is still real world and the astronauts still essentially get to their destination by strapping themselves to a giant bomb.
Some of the characters are named after real Nasa flyers, and while it is all made up, much of it feels more plausible than say, The Crown.
The series showrunner is Ronald D. Moore, who helmed the great space opera of the 2000s, Battlestar Galactica, and more recently, Outlander.
He excels at vast casts with multi-thread stories.
While we are ostensibly following the all-American hero Ed Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman), you will soon find your own favourites.
The flawless cast conveys the complexity of basic space travel - the right stuff being a mild death wish. Not surprisingly, that can lead to problems, such as Molly Cobb (Sonya Walger) making a daring rescue of an astronaut stranded during a solar flare, leaving her exposed to radiation way beyond her suit's limits.
And because it is the 80s, the Cold War is at its peak and the US is about to send guns to the moon.
This can be a slow burn, especially on a weekly basis. But as a binge, it soon becomes addictive.
FOR ALL MANKIND 2 (NC16)