Over the last several years ABC has become known for producing thought-provoking, character-driven dramas, and this summer they offer us a 10-episode mini-series entitled “The Astronaut Wives Club.”
“Astronaut Wives” is a fresh and intriguing take on the time honored 1960’s American space race.
Seven astronauts and seven wives are all competing to make history by being the first one to space and the moon. While the husbands are off training and galavanting with mistresses, the wives hold down their families as well as start a PR campaign for NASA to help sell the American public on the race to space. A reporter for Life magazine documents the journey of this group of women trying to navigate competition-based friendship and forced comradery. Ultimately they must band together and discover what it means to trust and depend on one another in the face of mounting national pressure.
The cast is led by Dominique McElligott (Hell on Wheels) who plays the stoic and reluctant Louise Shepherd.
Louise spends most of her time holding her marriage together and pushing away the other astronaut wives who happen to understand what she’s going through the most. Outstanding actresses such as Erin Cummings (Made In Jersey), Odette Annable (Brothers & Sisters) and Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck) help lead this large ensemble of supporting cast memebers. These ladies are not mere housewives though, they have dreams and ambitions of their own which might seem to go without saying, except for the fact we’re in the 60’s here, a time where women were just beginning to assert themselves in the workplace and claim their place in society. But don’t get it confused, these astronaut wives throw shade just as good as any of Bravo’s “Real Housewives” and it’s that kind of subtle and insulting banter which gives this show its wings.
In many ways “Astronaut Wives” is an intimate look into an America long gone.
It’s an America plagued by rampant gender inequality and tremendous social pressure on women. It’s a time when American duty and civility outweighed American freedom and individuality yet still an America that was more united by common vision. “Astronaut Wives” is an epic ode to that era of our history, a more classic American era to be exact, drawing you in with 60’s nostalgia, you instantly feel part of its story, a story which, in my opinion, is completely worth watching.