Disney+’s The Right Stuff, which if you remember, was originally developed for Nat Geo, had to do a lot of things to hit the mark. It had to be more interesting than a documentary, it had to give us a reason to care for people whose lives we’ve already seen depicted on TV before, and it had to make us invest in a story whose ending we already know.
That the show mostly succeeds is, if you ask me, a testament to the talent on screen.
Yes, the show moves along the predicted beats. And yes, visually, it’s above average, which is to be expected for this kind of production. But the thing that makes this show engaging, the reason you will be tuning in week after week is a cast that makes people you might have seen on the news or read about in history lessons, feel like human beings with fears, hopes and dreams.
Some of them you like right away, some of them not so much. But even that is a lot more mental bandwidth that I’d ever afforded this guys, and just what the show needed to engage an audience that, to be honest, doesn’t really have a lot more to keep it entertained.
Here are a few hints to tide you over till the show premieres its first two episodes, titled “Sierra Hotel” and “Goodies”:
- Patrick J. Adams and Colin O’Donoghue have left Mike Ross and Killian Jones in the rearview mirror. Both of them are charming and fully convincing as two people who are as different as the characters that made them well-known as it’s possible to be.
- Jake McDorman is electric as Alan Shepard. Love him or hate him, one thing is certain, it’s hard to take your eyes off the screen while McDorman is on scene.
- Nora Zehetner’s Annie Glenn might just be my favorite character of this entire show. I said what I said.
- The Astronaut Wives Club already gave us the point of view of the wives, the women – but it’s safe to say The Right Stuff, while not focusing on them, doesn’t exactly keep them completely in the background, either.
- There’s a clear hero and a clear antagonist in this tale – and you might find yourself taking sides.
- Eloise Mumford’s Trudy Cooper is a standout, and leaves you wanting more of both the character and the actress.
- For someone coming into this with no pre-conceived notions of James Lafferty, I found myself looking for him in the background of scenes more often than I would have thought. There’s just something about him.
- Not all storylines are equal – or given equal amount of time. The Right Stuff is many things, but a story that will showcase every one of the Mercury 7 astronauts in the same way isn’t really one of those.
- The show isn’t trying to pass moral judgment on the way these men behaved in their personal life – that’s up to each individual viewer. The show is merely …telling the story of what happened. We should all keep in mind this was made, originally, for Nat Geo.
Are you excited for The Right Stuff? Share with us in the comments below!
The Right Stuff premieres its first two episodes Friday, October 9th, on Disney+.