The debut date: April 5, 1998
The cast: David Andrews, Tim Daly, Al Franken, Tony Goldwyn, Cary Elwes, Nick Searcy, Dan Lauria, Kevin Pollak, Ted Levine, James Rebhorn, Mark Harmon, Rita Wilson.
The most expensive single project in TV history, at $68 million, this 12-part docudrama blast back to the era of space triumph and moonshots is an extraordinary piece of filmmaking that compellingly captures the passion and vision of exec producer/co-writer/co-director/actor Tom Hanks.
It somehow manages to achieve its improbable goal of getting us excited about exploring the heavens again while weaving a definitive tapestry certain to enlighten future generations. Hanks and producers Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Michael Bostick have ccreated a complex anthology about the Apollo space program and its legendary players without stooping to patriotic mumbo-jumbo.
Hands-on Hanks was wise enough to delegate enough freedom for individual creativity to flow forth. It also doesn’t hurt that the acting here is uniformly superb, its cinematic quality matched by the boldness of its belief that people can again be made to care about a quest largely abandoned by mankind a quarter-century ago. Hanks clearly still believes in the dream, and through this trip back into space he just might inspire others to do a little dreaming too.