18 March 2014 8:00 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

You wait years for a big TV show about space, and then two come along at the same time … but did they have the all-important 'Wow!' factor?

In lists of television's most memorable images, America's National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) generally claims three spots: the pictures of the first Moon landing in 1969, the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 and the videos of Mars sent back by Nasa's Viking craft in the 1970s.

Despite this, space has disappeared from TV schedules for long periods. Star Trek in the Us and Doctor Who in the UK, the two most celebrated extra-terrestrial dramas, both had runs with long interruptions and – until Ron Howard's and Tom Hanks's movie Apollo 13 and their related HBO mini-series From the Earth to the Moon in the mid-90s – parents and teachers were often startled to discover that young people had no »

- Mark Lawson

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