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The Astronaut Wives Club hopes retro flair makes NASA cool again

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, June 18. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

The Astronaut Wives Club (ABC, 8 p.m.): It’s been 32 years since The Right Stuff hit theaters and 20 since Apollo 13 debuted, which means it’s about time the millennial generation got their own iconic NASA story. Of course, whether or not that will be The Astronaut Wives Club remains to be seen. Based on a nonfiction book about the wives of the original Mercury astronauts, the ABC event series has been sold as flirty, frothy fun from the creators of Gossip Girl and The O.C. But Genevieve Valentine isn’t so sure that’s actually a strength. In her pre-air review she writes, “The show errs on the side of a general group pleasantness that feels more like the polished image the press was after than an attempt to draw any particular psychology out of its characters.” But with “glimpses of a very interesting show” in the first few episodes, the series might just need a little more time to find its feet before it (*pun alert*) blasts off into space.


Also noted

Steven Universe (Cartoon Network, 6 p.m.): The history of Gem fusion takes center stage tonight, which is a good thing because Eric Thurm is slightly in love with Garnet.


Orange Is The New Black (Netflix, 6 p.m.): Myles McNutt continues his review marathon as he dives into Orange Is The New Black’s eighth episode, “Fear And Other Smells.” This week’s flashback centers on Alex and her nefarious life of crime, plus the episode explores the lengths the inmates will go to for tolerable food.

Complications (USA, 9 p.m.): USA’s latest series hails from Burn Notice creator Matt Nix and it centers on John Ellison (Jason O’Mara), a doctor who becomes embroiled in a war between local drug lords. Although pre-air reviewer Noel Murray is a Burn Notice fanboy, he feels Complications can’t yet balance its procedural elements with its larger social message. In other words: It’s complicated (but not in a good way).


Regular Coverage

Aquarius (NBC, 9 p.m.)

Hannibal (NBC, 10 p.m.)

TV Club Classic

Futurama (10 a.m.): Sigourney Weaver lends her voice to a 2001: A Space Odyssey parody in “Love And Rocket.” Then the gang gets superpowers thanks to Dr. Flimflam’s Miracle Cream in “Less Than Hero.” Coincidentally, Zack Handlen’s dream superpower would be the ability to turn into Sigourney Weaver.


Elsewhere in TV Club

We invite Ed Helms to share one of his passions in a new Fan Up. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the actor/bluegrass performer celebrates Eric Weissberg’s Dueling Banjos and the film Deliverance.


We’ve also got three pre-air reviews of HBO summer series. First up, Joshua Alston weighs in on Baller, the new show from Entourage producer Steve Levinson that casts Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a former pro football player-turned-financial manager. According to Alston, “The [show’s] proposition is simple: There’s a never-ending party featuring vodka torrents, cocaine flurries, larger-than-life personalities, and larger-than-natural breasts. Wanna go?”

Then Erik Adams weighs in on The Brink, a new political satire about a world on the brink of World War III starring Tim Robbins, Jack Black, and Aasif Mandvi. Erik writes, “As funny as The Brink can be, its satire lacks a certain bite. It’s being sold as a dark comedy, but its outlook isn’t nearly that bleak.”


And finally, the wait for #TrueDetectiveSeason2 is (almost) over. The sophomore season premieres on Sunday, but according to Brandon Nowalk it might be best to keep expectations low: “In place of Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson bickering on long car rides and gradually figuring out how to work together on a high-stakes serial killer case, season two offers four individuals so isolated and angsty that the one buddy-cop scene late in the second episode is just about the only thing in the first three that gives hope for the season.”

What else is on?

Inside The Actors Studio (Bravo, 8 p.m.): Jim Parsons stops by the Actors Studio to chat about his theater roots, his time on The Big Bang Theory, and his favorite swear word, which is presumably not “Bazinga!”


Mistresses (ABC, 9 p.m.): The mistresses of Mistresses return to do more mistress things like misting their tresses and missing their stresses.

The Seventies (CNN, 9 p.m.): Richard Nixon takes center stage in tonight’s entry of The Seventies as the series examines the Watergate scandal. Be sure to tape this one for posterity.


Alone (History, 10 p.m.): This new History Channel show is more Survivorman than Man Vs. Wild: 10 men are dropped in different places in the wilderness with a small backpack of supplies and no camera crew. Rather than race to escape, they battle to stay in survivalist isolation for as long as possible because the last man standing wins the competition. One might ask why no women were selected to participate, but the bigger question is probably why this horrific game show exists in the first place

True Lies (AMC, 8 p.m.): Did you know that lady from the Activia commercials and the former governor of California made a movie together? The ’90s were a crazy time.


Mothra (TCM, 9:45 p.m.): This 1961 film introduced the iconic giant moth to the Godzilla franchise. Long live Mothra!

U.S. Open Championship (Fox, 8 p.m.): Now that hockey’s biggest tournament has been decided, it’s time for a new sport to take center stage: Trade in the non-stop action of hockey for the quiet suspense of golf.


In case you missed it

Sense8: Will and Riley bond, Capheus gets in over his head, and Sun makes a tough choice. But more importantly, it’s finally time for a massive Sensate orgy! With Rowan Kaiser under the weather, Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya weighs in on the sexy hot tub antics.


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