I've just finished seeing all 12 episodes of this miniseries produced in the 1990s. It is the story of humanity's greatest adventure, told beautifully. Each episode is a great story on its own, each with its own theme and mood. Episodes 5 and 10 should be shown in grade schools to teach kids about engineering and science - episode 5 is about the engineers at Grumman who designed and built the lunar module. Episode 10 is about teaching the astonauts geology, so they could recognize the rocks that would best tell the story of the Moon, the Earth, and the solar system. Episode 11 tells the story of the astronaut's wives, and the toll of absent husbands risking, and sometimes losing, their lives.
The acting is superb. Not movie stars, for the most part, but actors one sees in lots of roles, always excellent at their craft. Dave Foley did a lovely job at one of the lighter roles, astronaut Alan Bean. Tim Daly had one of the meatier roles as Jim Lovell, while Ted Levine, a favorite of mine, was wonderful as Alan Shepard. Stephen Root as Chris Kraft and Lane Smith as fictional journalist Emmett Seaborn were terrific as well as so many others.
One of the characters quoted something similar to Yeats' "Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire." This story lights fires of the mind and the soul, which is to me the definition of inspiration. Teech this to children and maybe they can create a world in which humans are on fire with invention and creativity. That soldiers give their lives for ideals is admirable, but what a wast of lives and resources war is. As a species, we can do better, and have. When the tale of humanity is told, it won't be the soldiers who will most be rememberd. It will be the Shakespeares and the Van Goghs, the Socrates and Einsteins and Darwins... those who lit the fires of knowledge and creativity.
Thank you, Tom Hanks. You done good.