The Astronaut Wives Club or “The Real Housewives of Cape Canaveral”
Airs: Thursdays on ABC at 8/7c.
Review: Pilot episode.
A lot of TV shows start sometime in the future, usually with the hero or heroine in danger, then we flashback to sometime earlier. I hate this format. 99% of the time when a TV show does this it is completely unnecessary. If you just tell the story in a nice linear format, you would get the same effect. The exception that proves the rule, Breaking Bad. They were brilliant at this – they put the characters in a “WTF?!” situation and we are left wondering how they got to that point from where we are now. Then they built to that situation through a single episode or multiple episodes. Hint to all TV shows, unless the characters are in an unusual situation, then the flash forward opening scene is unnecessary. The reason I mention this is that The Astronaut Wives Club (AWC) starts with this very format, showing a scene, then flashing back two years earlier. It was already off on a bad foot with me.
As we are introduced to the wives from two years ago, we find them to be catty and bitchy toward one another. It is what I’d expect to see on a “Real Housewives of Wherever” type show. [I am just guessing because, I have never seen one. Nor will I ever, if all goes according to plan]. What little we see of the husbands, we find them to be drunken philanderers. Basically, we are left not liking the women or the men. We’ll call that strike two.
The show spends the first 20-30 minutes setting up the women to be adversaries as they attempt to help get their husbands to become the first men in space. It at least explains some of the cattiness of these women. Then through the magic of the “spinning magazine,” we jump forward two years. [I don’t remember if they actually spun the magazine, but they might as well have]. The magazine shows the three men selected to go into space. You read that right, they literally skipped over the plot that they were building in the first 30 minutes of the show. Definitely strike three. I turned it off after 40 minutes.
This show was clearly not for me. It does have some positive points. The cast is actually pretty good with Joanna Garcia Swisher from Reba, Yvonne Strahovski from Chuck, and Domnique McElligott from Hell on Wheels. If you like the Real Housewives series, you might like the latest installment –The Real Housewives of Cape Canaveral. Though I warn you, it might have less of a plot.
Rating: 3.00 (A legend for Ratings found here.)
Nielsen Rating: 1.1, in the fall, this would be a death knell, but in the summer, this is an acceptable rating. Ratings typically fall after a pilot episode, and that could spell trouble for the future of this show.
Renewal Chances: 50%, initial ratings and potential appeal to people who aren’t me prop it up. Quality drags it down.
Bonus Theory: I think that they skipped over the two years because they will come back to it throughout the season. I suspect that each episode will focus on a different wife (the Pilot focused on Alan Sheppard’s wife; episode 2 will focus on someone else likely with a similarly bad format)