A new TV pilot, based on astronaut Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, is in development at ABC.
You can make a television show about literally anything, but if you want it to be successful, it helps to have a built-in audience. Space travel is a surprisingly popular topic for example, partly to the natural charm of Commander Chris Hadfield. Combine that with Hadfield’s memoir, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, and you’ve got just enough material on hand for TV comedy gold. Sure enough, ABC landed the rights to develop a family-friendly comedy series based on Hadfield’s life, and Surviving Jack‘s Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker are currently working on a pilot.
The series, which will presumably adopt Hadfield’s book title, follows an astronaut back to Earth following a lengthy space mission. The humor will revolve around the astronaut’s attempt to readjust himself to everyday domestic life, not to mention cooking, cleaning, and navigating hallways in a normal-gravity environment.
On the one hand, a comedy about a returned astronaut sounds like a fantastic idea. Chris Hadfield proved that the lifestyle can be presented in an engaging way, and there are countless bizarre space scenarios that could make for amusing television. On the other hand, you need a charmingly modest personality like Hadfield’s to help pull it off successfully. I also imagine the obvious go-to joke of “But Daaaad you don’t live in space anymore!” would get old in the wrong hands.
Halpern and Schumaker previously created Sh*t My Dad Says and Surviving Jack, both based on books by Halpern. That would make An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth the third adaptation from the pair, although time will tell whether this pilot launches a full series.