‘Mad Men’ Writers Developing 1960s NASA TV Drama

Published 2 years ago by

mad men space show apollo 13 rocket Mad Men Writers Developing 1960s NASA TV Drama

Our fixation with space and what’s beyond the stars passes from one generation to the next – standing as a beacon of hope in a dark time during the cold war and as the seeds for a future in the stars that we feel we are owed today.

Now, a few of the writers from AMC’s Mad Men may be readying a new drama series with the working title, Cocoa Beach, that would play heavily on that fixation and the goings on in the Launch Operations Center (now the Kennedy Space Center) during the space race of the 1960s.

This won’t be “Don Draper in space,” though, as the show is reportedly set to focus on the journalists who covered the seemingly ordinary engineers, scientists, and astronauts who would go on to do extraordinary things.

How much we’ll see of extraordinary things like John Glenn’s first orbit around the Earth, President John F. Kennedy’s vow that we would send a man to the moon, and the moon landing itself remains to be seen.

Mad Men juggles the task of commenting on the more turbulent parts of the ’60s through the lives of their characters without lingering on them. But seeing an ad executive react to the assassination of JFK is different from seeing someone who lived – day in and day out – within spitting distance of Neil Armstrong.

mad men space show draper Mad Men Writers Developing 1960s NASA TV Drama

That begs another question: Would the show make Armstrong, Glenn, and even Kennedy major or recurring characters? How about Walter Cronkite, who had a strong hand in conveying the progress and efforts of the space program to the masses? So many other journalists from that era have receded into the margins of these events. Would the writers try to unearth and dramatize these people and their actions, or would they simply sprinkle in a few real life personalities while mostly filling the show with their own creations?

Sadly, details on the show are slim right now, but it seems clear that the viewing public has an interest in the events that this show would orbit around. The success of projects like From the Earth to the Moon and Apollo 13 seem like a lifetime ago (debuting in 1995 and 1998, respectively), but these were substantial successes.

Besides that, recent interest in the Curiosity rover and even our fixation with science fiction and the early embers of privatized space travel bolsters the belief that this show could have a built in audience beyond Mad Men fans and retrophiles, so maybe this won’t be the last we hear about Cocoa Beach (or whatever they wind up calling it).

Keep and eye on Screen Rant for  future updates on Cocoa Beach.


Source: Vice

Follow Jason Tabrys on Twitter @jtabrys
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  1. If it happens i’ll be all in, can’t wait.

  2. well written article, Jason. good analysis on the zeitgeist in your final paragraph. looking forward to the series!

  3. i’ll watch as long as its on AMC. i have the most confidence in that channel and would be wary if another pick it up.

    MadMen is over after next season, so this would be the perfect show to replace it.

  4. Hm. I immediately assumed a kind of ‘Mad Men’ period piece crossed with ‘The Americans’ tone and vibe idea, which I would’ve been very much on board with. Still, the talent involved is undeniable and the premise itself is very solid, so yeah, count me in.

  5. I wish someone would take that “Mad Men” vibe and try to do a ’60’s spy series with James Bond, Man from UNCLE, Mission:Impossible influences. I’d like to see it done realistic and, um, excuse the already somewhat overused word, “grounded”. But you could also do it campy, but that era has already been parodied so much you have to be careful.

  6. No don draper, not interested : let’s face it historical show are boring. I m interested in mad men only because of the very controversial figure of don draper, roger sterling and to a lesser extent Peggy Olson, pete Campbell and Betty. The focus of the show is about the anerican dream/ life Vision both because of the period and the industry advertising. This new show will only be a period show

    • You honestly don’t see any connection between the worlds of journalism and advertising? Manned spaceflight in the ’60s was the promotion of the American Dream/life vision in its purest form. Far more so than selling a pack of Lucky Strikes.

      • Lucky Strike, even.

  7. I’d definitely be open to this