How Many Episodes Is 'The Astronaut Wives Club'? This Series Is Taking A Cue From The Brits

The Astronaut Wives Club is one of the most anticipated shows of the 2015 summer season. Following the wives of the Mercury Seven astronauts, the show will cover their ups, their downs, their marriages, and perhaps most importantly, the effects on their sudden appearance in the spotlight. The show looks like a lot of fun, but how many episodes of Astronaut Wives Club will there be? Just enough, in my opinion — a 10-episode run.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m super excited for this show. It’s probably the only thing I will really watch (besides Lifetime’s UNReal, which is just bananas and frankly, kind of amazing) all summer long. But I’m really glad that there are only 10 episodes, because sometimes if a series has too long of a season, things start to go downhill. The formatting of American television is such that there are usually 24 episodes per season with many breaks in between. Shows commonly don’t know if they’re being picked up for the next year, so there can be continuity errors in storylines and the projection of characters. Plus, it’s exhausting to catch up with so many episodes of a show if you ever fall behind (which I definitely do). I have a solution: Let’s make our television like the British do.

The way that the Brits put on their television, for the most part, is a short, tightly packed season of eight to 12 episodes. No muss, no fuss, all power. With these short, compacted seasons, the storytelling is much tighter and fresher, because there’s less time in which to connect with viewers. In the typical American season of 24 episodes, time is stretched out. Plotlines go on forever. Will-they-or-won’t-they turns into oh-would-they-just-get-on-with-it-already.

A great example of this is The Office. People forget that the original U.K. version of The Office ran for only two seasons of 12 episodes each. The U.S. version, on the other hand, lasted nine seasons and a whopping 201 episodes. The U.K. Office wasn’t worse — that’s not why it stopped production — its creators and writers knew when to stop. Another case of knowing when to stop? The U.K. teen drama Skins. Each season (or series, as its dubbed across the pond) was 10 episodes, give or take. They also recycled out the cast, Degrassi­­-style, to keep things fresh.

In the case of The Astronaut Wives Club, I think its straight-to-series, 10-episode format will keep the stories really engaging and super entertaining. When you can plot the course of 10 episodes at once, there’s plenty of room for quality control. Hopefully, we’ll get to watch dynamic, interesting characters with dynamic, interesting storylines that don’t drag on and on. Creator Stephanie Savage, who ran into the “when will it stop” problems with both The O.C. (that third season tho) and Gossip Girl, told Variety that this limited run is akin to doing a season of Mad Men (the show’s biggest comparison, given the period and some themes) in each episode. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

I’m really looking forward to The Astronaut Wives Club, and not just because it will go easier on my TiVo.

Images: Cook Allender (2), Skip Bolen/ABC