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TV Review: ABC’s ‘The Astronaut Wives Club’

ABC premieres drama The Astronaut Wives Club on June 18 at 8 p.m. ET. The drama—based on a novel by Lily Koppel of the same name—follows the lives of the wives of America’s astronauts as they transform from military spouses to American royalty. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C

“I mentioned narrative cleanliness as both a plus and minus for the storytelling of Astronaut Wives Club and it's definitely something that will keep me watching. Astronaut Wives Club has already covered a lot of history in the three episodes I've seen and it seems that more years will be covered before we reach the moon and the end of the series.”
—Daniel Fienberg, HitFix

“Despite this unimpressive start, that hidden story might be a good one: an examination of complicated relationships between women during a decidedly masculine American moment, touching on the power and vagary of a press so closely tied to government approval. The question is whether, after the network’s changes, The Astronaut Wives Club will ever be able to tell it.”
—Genevieve Valentine, A.V. Club

“While it’s not clear how long the producers can keep the concept aloft, the opening episodes certainly make for a splashy entry.”
—Brian Lowry, Variety

“This show applies the Mad Men formula to the women who stood behind the heroes of the conquest of space. It’s an amused but gauzy look back at a prefeminist era when women deferred to their husbands, wore gloves to church and took one another potluck dishes like Tater Tot Surprise and Jell-O salad.”
—Alessandra Stanley, New York Times

The Astronaut Wives Club has an interesting concept with several talented folks behind it; executive producers Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz are best known for addictive teen dramas Gossip Girl and The O.C., and the first two episodes were directed by An Education’s Lone Scherfig. Unfortunately, the result is surprisingly grounded and muted, leaving its likelihood of finding an audience rather up in the air.”
—Whitney Matheson, The Hollywood Reporter

“For all that it strives at times to push a big theme, it remains best taken as colorful light entertainment.”
—Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times

“The performances are all fine, given what the actors have to work with, and as with all shows, you can't rule out the possibility that Wives could improve as its run progresses. Still, you also can't help feeling there's a reason why ABC let this show, announced for last season, sit on the shelf for over a year.”
—Robert Bianco, USA Today