Last night, The Astronaut Wives Club premiered on ABC. Based on the book by Lily Koppel, Astronaut Wives Club is set in the 1960s and follows the lives of the seven American men who first traveled into space—and the women who stood by their sides.
As the men risk their lives to keep America on the forefront of space exploration, their wives remain on solid ground. The editors at Life magazine see an opportunity for great stories in the day-to-day lives of these women. The men may establish themselves as famous astronauts, but the women discover a fame all their own.
In just the first hour of the season, Astronaut’s Wives Club delivered intrigue, emotion, and excitement. There are friendships to be made, accomplishments to achieve, and probably some lives to be ruined. Here are six reasons to tune into The Astronaut Wives Club this season:
Strong women in the 1960s
As we just said goodbye to Mad Men, Astronaut Wives Club arrives at the perfect time to fill the 1960s-shaped hole in our hearts. What is special about this show, though, is that the strong, brilliant, fascinating women are not on the periphery; they are the heart of the story. The trials and tribulations of their astronaut husbands are a crucial backdrop in front of which the show unfolds, but it is still just that—a backdrop. It is the women who count here. It is their successes and their failures, their hopes and their fears that really matter. It’s going to be great.
One of the most fun parts of Astronaut Wives Club is its historical accuracy. These women really existed. Their husbands were the first American men to be blasted into space. Their lives were intertwined and complicated and much of the country was invested in them. The 60s are an incredibly rich decade to plunge into and this time of space discovery is particularly ripe for digging. There is bound to be some tragedy up ahead, but no real surprises because it’s all already happened. There will likely be lots of fictional drama added to the mix, but the historical roots will keep it grounded in reality.
The friendship ups and downs
As of the pilot, the women weren’t entirely sure what to make of each other. Though there was a lot of evolution within the one episode, it’s tough to be entirely friendly with women whom you see as your competition. These wives understand that they are there for their husbands (except perhaps Odette Annable’s Trudy Cooper who has her own ambitions). They each want their husband to be the first, the best, the most important. And yet, they need each other. They are isolated and scared (even Louise Shepard [Dominique McElligott] who will go to the grave hiding it). There are only six other people who can understand the circumstances and leaning on them is the best way to get through the difficulty of the experience.
Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz
The creator and executive producer behind Astronaut Wives Club brought us other shows you may have heard have including Gossip Girl, The OC, and Hart of Dixie. If this resumé tells us anything, it’s that we are in for some soap-tastic television. In addition to the historical greatness and women-centric storytelling, we’re also going to be treated to intense drama, gripping love stories, and lots and lots of sexiness.
A replacement for Army Wives
It’s been two years since Lifetime’s show about the spouses on a US Army base officially went off the air. Many real-life military families expressed sadness at seeing the show go as it so realistically captured their experiences. Though Astronaut Wives Club is an entirely different show with a very different focal point, there is a common theme in the idea of being left at home while the person you love risks his life for his country. It won’t fill the void exactly, but it is a welcome replacement for a show that is missed by many.
Astronaut Wives Club has put together a tremendous ensemble of actresses to play these seven remarkable women. McElligott and Annable along with JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Betty Grissom), Erin Cummings (Marge Slayton), Yvonne Strahovski (Rene Carpenter), Azure Parsons (Annie Glenn), and Zoe Boyle (Jo Schirra). Each has her own individual personality and represents the women of the time in her own unique way. The women have chemistry with each other onscreen and also with their male costars. As a whole the cast is engaging and the performances are quite fun to watch.
Make sure to tune in Thursdays at 8pm on ABC.