Parents' Guide to

The Right Stuff

By Matt Cabral, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Space drama is serviceable but doesn't reach the stars.

TV Disney+ Drama 2020
The Right Stuff Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 14+

Great for adults - iffy for kids

My wife and I rarely agree on television series that we both like. This one has been a winner for us and is currently one of our favorite shows. The story is well presented and the historical aspect of it is very interesting, but some of the drama is very much in the vein of "Mad Men" with a lot of emphasis on the sexual relationships these men had with their wives (and in some cases, with other women). Consistent with the time, nearly everyone smokes and there is a lot of focus on alcohol. We have mature tweens, but this isn't something we have watched with them and although I think the series could generate some interesting conversations if we watched it together, I don't think it would be appropriate for them to watch by themselves.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 13+

Not great...

I was excited about this series, unfortunately it focuses too much on Alan Shepherd's infidelity. Every scene with a woman he either flirts or sleeps with them. It's quite ridiculous.

This title has:

Too much sex

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (1 ):

This series nails the historical drama, offering an engaging account of this remarkable, nation-defining event. But while its cast of star-gazing cowboys could have complemented and deepened the story, they too often feel like stock characters in shiny space suits. Kicking off mere hours before the first American astronaut is blasted into space, the story abruptly flashes back two years. It's a fun set-up and cliffhanger, though one that could possibly alienate anyone expecting a thrilling space adventure versus a historical drama.

Stick with it past that initial tease, though, and you'll discover the narrative leading up to that historic moment is nearly as absorbing as the launch itself. Given room to breath over the course of its episodic run, the series digs into everything from the exhaustive astronaut selection process and grueling training to the complicated personal lives of the chosen Mercury Seven. The latter provides an especially interesting exploration into the unexpected celebrity the men faced upon being selected and positioned as national heroes. Sadly, The Right Stuff stumbles a bit in its characterizations of the astronauts, rarely fleshing them out beyond a few, often stereotypical, traits. There's plenty of potentially juicy conflict between John Glenn (Patrick J. Adams) and Alan Shepard (Jake McDorman), for example, but too often they're reduced to the responsible boy scout and reckless playboy, respectively. What's worse, these two represent the most layered of the bunch, with the other five often coming off like interchangeable clones -- all handsome, confident white guys hoping to go to space.

TV Details

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