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'The Astronaut Wives Club' review: A splashy summer soap

'The Astronaut Wives Club' review: A splashy summer soap

More than 30 years after "The Right Stuff," Philip Kaufman's 1983 movie based on Tom Wolfe's tome devoted to the Mercury 7 space program, "The Astronaut Wives Club" seems like inordinately fertile material for a primetime soap.

Essentially a slow-motion version of the film, the main wrinkle in the ABC series -- culled from Lily Koppel's book -- is viewing the story from the perspective of the women behind the men, who instantly became celebrities, with all the distractions that entails. While it's not clear how long the producers can keep the concept aloft, the opening episodes certainly make for a splashy entry.

Written by Stephanie Savage and directed...