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Old 23-08-2008, 11:53 AM   #1
marty_hopkirk
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Default 'From the Earth to the Moon' DVD

I at long last got around to watching From the earth to the moon boxed set, that I picked-up in a bargin bin a while back.

I have must have it in my "to watch stash" for probably a couple of years. I took a pile of DVD's on holiday as a backstop, which was just as well as due to the weather I got plenty of time to watch DVD's courtesy of the Wales weather.

I have to say I was suprised how good it was, and I liked the how each episode was treated and was glad there was not an overall narrative as such and like how each episode focussed a different set of indivduals and characters involved in project Apollo.


The only slight jarring aspects was the the introduction a the odd tendancy to be a bit dewey eyed in places and over dramatic music. That aside it was excellant, I really like the episode that honed-in the Apollo 1 accident investigation. I recall DX imploring me to watch it some time ago, wish I had taken his advice earlier, that said I would add my voice to those recomending the set to those interested in the space programme.

Another recomendation is Andrew Smith's Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth, I read this 18 months ago or so and was really impressed [the author must be a similar age to me given his childhood recollections in the book] with this book as it tackled the Project Apollo from a completely different aspect and is a recommended read.

I also got to see In the Shadow of the Moon, which I thought was good, but owed a debt to the superior [in my opinion], For all Mankind and the aforementioned book.

Marty...

Last edited by marty_hopkirk; 23-08-2008 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 23-08-2008, 01:07 PM   #2
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Like you, I bought From the Earth to the Moon and had it sitting on the shelf until I recently watched it during a period of forced bed rest (3 days spent passing a kidney stone). I had seen bits and pieces of it many years ago and found the entire mini-series to be engrossing and entertaining. The series was intensely respectful of the Apollo program and seeing all that 1960's hardware done in modern computer graphics was a real treat. Highly recommended.
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Old 23-08-2008, 01:35 PM   #3
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The one thing I didn't like about "From the Earth to the Moon" was the fictional network newscaster and how he related to the fictional Apollo 13 episode. They could have done something with Apollo 13 that told a real story other than the story told in the Ron Howard film. Instead, they just made something up. The real network anchors and reporters are a big part of my memories of that era -- so using a fictional anchor and reporters didn't make much sense to me.

Otherwise, I thought the series was great. I've watched it probably a half-dozen times.
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Old 23-08-2008, 02:44 PM   #4
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..... and seeing all that 1960's hardware done in modern computer graphics .....
Ahem... (cough!) models (cough!).

Some of the 1960's hardware done in modern computer graphics.
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Old 23-08-2008, 02:59 PM   #5
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You're right. My mistake. An embarrassing one too considering that I watched all the "making of" stuff.
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Old 23-08-2008, 10:56 PM   #6
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Wow, I'm the complete opposite, Ace! I absolutely loved their take on the episode, the way the actual mission/rescue played out completely unseen, as it really was back 'home'. The other side of the coin we'd seen in 'Apollo 13'.

The interweaving of the two fictional characters, the young and the old newsmen, was an excellent way of commenting on the shifting priorities of media reporting, the respectful vs. the intrusive (ok, it was a little heavy-handed).

I think it's my favourite moment in the series when, after an exchange with his superior which is all about what they don't say, the older reporter says "I shouldn't have to beg."
That was not one of my favorites either, but since Tom Hanks had already appeared in the movie Apollo 13 just a few years earlier clearly something different had to be done. Not sure if this was the best choice, but I'd have to agree that coverage changed from the heroic depiction of the astronauts in the days of Apollo to the NASA bashing that went on in the 1980s-1990s. I think that was the point. I usually put it on the skip list when I do a marathon of FTETTM episodes.
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Old 23-08-2008, 11:07 PM   #7
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I've always seen that episode as a complement to Apollo 13 The Movie. Besides, what were they going to do? Refilm the film?

Funnily enough, the episode I like least is probably Apollo 12. The rest are all good but I keep returning to "Can We Do This?", the development of 'Spider', Apollo 17 with all the geology stuff, "First Wives Club" and of course Apollo 11.
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Old 23-08-2008, 11:35 PM   #8
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I've always seen that episode as a complement to Apollo 13 The Movie. Besides, what were they going to do? Refilm the film?
That's my take on it, too. They had to do something drastically different for that mission and I found the reporter angle interesting. After all, we've already had Houston, We've Got a Problem and Apollo 13 retelling both the Mission Control side and the crew side of the story. There wasn't much more to say there.

Of course, for someone watching From the Earth to the Moon only, I'm sure it seems a rather odd way to cover that mission.
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Old 24-08-2008, 10:31 AM   #9
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And what lovely surprise it was to hear the theme to Fireball XL5 for the opening titles to one of the episodes. Someone on the production team must have been an Anderson fan, and quite right too.
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Old 25-08-2008, 08:12 PM   #10
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That's my take on it, too. They had to do something drastically different for that mission and I found the reporter angle interesting. After all, we've already had Houston, We've Got a Problem and Apollo 13 retelling both the Mission Control side and the crew side of the story. There wasn't much more to say there.

Of course, for someone watching From the Earth to the Moon only, I'm sure it seems a rather odd way to cover that mission.
It is the fictional element that I don't like, not that they did something different. There are lots of stories to do surrounding any mission into space. Why just make something up out of whole cloth? Tell the story of how the electrical problem got into the tank that exploded. Tell the story of how the engineers always worried that probability would catch up at some point -- and that it nearly did with Apollo 13. Tell the story of how Ken Mattingly lost his seat on the flight. Tell the real story about how the media covered the event. Give me a day and I could come up with a dozen other ways to do Apollo 13 that would compliment the Ron Howard movie.

But just making up a story? There were too many great and interesting stories surrounding these flights. I honestly felt and still feel that the Apollo 13 episode was kind of a waste of time.

Apollo 12 is one that I love -- because the men on that mission truly were best friends and often spoke of their memories of their companions on the journey more than they did of the momentous nature of the mission. I think the Apollo 12 episode brings that story to life.

My 2 cents.

Last edited by AceMartini; 25-08-2008 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 25-08-2008, 08:54 PM   #11
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And while I'm ranting -- what does presenting a fictional story about fictional characters in the media do to add to our understanding of the Apollo missions? Zip.

They had a limited number of hours to tell one of the greatest stories of all time -- so limited that whole missions were consigned to a few minutes of screen time -- so limited that a number of astronauts are hardly mentioned -- and yet there is a whole hour devoted to two fictional characters in a fictional story. Bah.

Last edited by AceMartini; 25-08-2008 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 26-08-2008, 04:30 AM   #12
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Well, the understanding was that since the production team in FTETTM had already told the Apollo 13 story pretty well on the big screen a few years prior, they opted to go with something different for the episode. I have had encounters with people in news and indeed there has been a shift in coverage of space events from how it was done back then to how it is done today. Miles O'Brien from CNN comes close, but he covers other stuff as well since CNN coverage isn't what it once was IMHO. You don't see the likes of Jules Bergman from ABC or Walter Cronkite from CBS covering this stuff anymore. Indeed the one old man of space coverage who was around when Mercury flew and is still around at KSC today is NBC's Jay Barbree who still covers shuttle flights. I've met him in person at the KSC press site and to me, he is very much like the Emmett Seaborne character in FTETTM. The younger reporters respect him, but to me, some seem to regard him as just a crazy old man.

Perception of the space program by the media to me seems just as important as the flights themselves. Reason being is during Apollo, after Apollo 11 the focus shifted from it being a prime time affair to something that only got coverage during the morning shows in the states. This was long before cable, so we had no NASA TV back then. It is still an issue that we face today.
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Old 26-08-2008, 07:09 PM   #13
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I don't disagree with any of that, but I do disagree that when confronted with doing something with the Apollo 13 story, the only option was to do a fictional story about a fictional issue concerning fictional characters. it is a given that they wouldn't just do a short version of the Ron Howard film. I don't think any of the Apollo stories would have been well served to have been treated with a completely fictional story and I don't think Apollo 13 was well served in this case.

At it's heart, the show is about the journey to the moon that was made be real people. Some events are modified for dramatic effect -- but not so much so as to make the other episodes works of fiction.

When they make "From the Earth to the Decline of Network News," then that episode would fit right in.

Just my opinion.
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