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SYFY WIRE the moon

7 great shows or movies about the Moon to watch after 'Moonhaven'

The new AMC+ series Moonhaven is set in a utopian lunar colony, which got us thinking about other great Moon-centric stories to watch.

By Tara Bennett
Moonhaven Joe Manganiello

With the current condition of our planet right now, escaping to the Moon is looking more and more attractive. Writer Peter Ocko (Lodge 49) is clearly feeling it too, as evidenced by his latest creation, the AMC+ series, Moonhaven. The drama stars Emma McDonald (Queens of Mystery), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Kadeem Hardison (Black Monday), and Dominic Monaghan (Lost) as a cast of characters who all end up in the Moon-based utopian community in our near(ish) future. Although the community is meant to be a tactile think tank working to find solutions to save humanity on the doomed Earth, McDonald's Bella Sway discovers a lot of secrets going on inside this slice of space "heaven". 

Of course, moon-based cinematic stories go all the way back to Georges Méliès's 1902 film, A Trip to the Moon. But, they've certainly gotten more complicated and compelling in the last 120 years. With the premiere of Moonhaven today, July 7, on AMC+, SYFY WIRE got inspired to dig up some other choice, Moon-centric, sci-fi stories that are worth your exploration.

1. For All Mankind (Apple TV+)

For All Mankind S2

For All Mankind is in the midst of its third season on Apple TV+ and the Moon has been central to all three seasons of its storytelling. The series poses an alternative scenario for the Soviet/U.S. space race, where the U.S.S.R. actually beat the United States in the race to land on the Moon which creates a cascade of history-changing events. Along with some great "what if" riffs on geopolitical outcomes and scientific advancements led by a more global space race, For All Mankind also tells great personal stories about the astronauts, scientists, civil servants, and NASA members who are behind the advancements that drive the seasons. Earth's Moon is a central player to it all, as an initial goal and then as a lunar outpost for several countries looking to conquer Mars next. A high water mark in Moon/space episodic storytelling on TV.

2. Away (Netflix)

Hilary Swank in Netflix's Away

Away (2020) only lasted one season on Netflix but the Hilary Swank starring drama uses the Moon as the literal launching pad for NASA's mission to Mars expedition. Taking a more soapy/family drama angle to its storytelling, Away focuses on the astronauts who leave their families behind as they break new boundaries in space exploration. For the moon fans, there's some cool lunar set pieces in the early episodes as it helps prep the astronauts for their longer mission. If you like family dramas like This is Us and Parenthood mashed together with your space stories, then this might be the perfect series for you. 

3. Moon (2009)

Moon Sam Rockwell

Director Duncan Jones' first film Moon garnered both audience and critical acclaim when it debuted in 2009. It stars Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell, an alternative fuel miner heading a solitary three-year project on the dark side of the Moon. Separated from his family and humans for the whole mission, Bell's only companion is an A.I. named GERTY (Kevin Spacey), and let's just say that relationship hasn't left him in the best headspace. Go into this one pure if you can because there are a lot of great twists and turns coming 'atcha as Bell inches closer to his impending return home date. 

4. Apollo 13 (1995)

Tom Hanks Apollo 13

Yes, the astronauts don't actually make it to the Moon in Ron Howard's now-classic dramatization of the Apollo 13 mission, but the whole goal is to get there so let's not split hairs. Apollo 13 stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton playing the crew of NASA's doomed return mission to the Moon. When their mission experiences early failures, the film shifts into a thriller about how the Mission Control scientists and the trio orbiting the Earth feverishly problem solve how to get their lifeboat back to Earth safely. From the cinematography to the performances, Apollo 13 still holds up as a breathtaking watch that gets micro nerdy with its portrayal of science and history.

5. From the Earth to the Moon (HBO Max)

After the success of Apollo 13, Ron Howard and Tom Hanks reunited to produce this 12-part miniseries that uses the docuseries format to tell the story of the Apollo program which ran from the 1960s to the early 1970s. Mixing actor dramatizations and actual era footage, From the Earth to the Moon is all about NASA taking to heart John F. Kennedy's mandate to have a U.S. astronaut be the first to walk on the Moon. Compelling and exhaustive, this will give the Moon geeks a whole lot of context and history about how we got to Neil Armstrong's walk on the Moon. 

6. A Grand Day Out (1989)

Wallace & Gromit

For those looking for some lighter fare, Aardman Animation first introduced the world to Wallace and Gromit in the classic short, A Grand Day Out. The Academy Award-nominated claymation classic finds the two cheese-loving roomies building a rocket to get them to the Moon for a top-up of some choice fromage. Once there, they meet a coin-operated robot who yearns to return to Earth with them. Hilarious, silly yet heartfelt, the majority of the story takes place on the Moon so you get your fill of the lunar landscape and some stellar laughs. 

7. Despicable Me (2010) 

The Minions are still having their moment at the current box office, and that's amazing because it's been 12 years since the whole franchise kicked off in 2010 with Despicable Me. Many may not remember that the mission at the heart of that film is supervillain Gru's plan to steal the Moon as the ultimate flex against his baddie competition. Looking to shrink the Moon for easier yoinking, Gru (Steve Carrell) and his Minions spend the film looking up at the big orb until they actually achieve their crazy plan... and then quickly discover that the shrinking is temporary. Let's just say the gravitation pull is not good. As the strong start to the beloved ongoing franchise and a celebration of the Moon, this one is a fun adventure for families. 

You can stream lots of great sci-fi right here on Peacock.