Three brave men step into a capsule in Florida named Columbia, get launched to the moon, survive the trip and return safely to Earth, parachuting into the Pacific Ocean. Did I just describe this book, or the Apollo 11 moon landing?
The Mexican donation to the construction is called "a widow's mite". Two years after the novel was released, the Mexican emperor was executed, with his wife outliving him by 60 years.
Values Dissonance: Americans are portrayed as egotistical and willing to use any excuse to go to war, and we're supposed to like them. Of course, even though Verne is giving a comic portrait of America, he based it on facts.
The unique score for "Spider", the episode about the development of the Lunar Module. It's a very sweet, slightly haunting oboe melody for the vehicle that would set humans on the surface of another world, being left behind every time.
Designated Villain: A well-done, nuanced version in Senator Mondale, who initially seems to want to kill the moon landing just because it will score him political points. When he says that he doesn't really hate NASA, he just thinks the money being spent on it is a waste and could be better used ending poverty at home and a useless war abroad, it's tough to argue with him. (Though perhaps Harsher in Hindsight in that maybe his wants were compelling, but within two years NASA had put a man on the moon, while spending on the programs he describes—hunger, poverty, etc.-long outdistanced NASA entire budget and its success rate has been substantially lower. Even ending the war in Vietnam turned out to be an exercise in failure.)
Harsher in Hindsight: The clash in We Interrupt This Program over more tactful news reporting techniques versus more privacy-invading, sensationalistic ones is even more poignant given the rise of celebrity-hounding paparazzi that have only grown even more invasive due thanks to the Internet.
Special Effects Failure: Sure, they didn't have the budget of a feature film to spend, but the cgi used in the miniseries ranged from being amazing to downright laughable.
On the other hand, the moonwalking sequences were universally awesome thanks to clever practical effectsnote Enormous helium balloons were attached to the actors' suits so they could bounce around at a fraction of their normal weight. The lighting effects were accomplished by rigging up enormous banks of the strongest stage lights available. The lights were so powerful, electricians working on them noted that their hair actually started smoking if they lingered too long.