From the Earth to the Moon

Season 1 Episode 1

Can We Do This?

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Apr 05, 1998 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
38 votes

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Episode Summary

Can We Do This?
On April 12, 1961, the Soviet Union accomplishes the unthinkable – Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin has orbited the Earth. Though Alan Shepard soon achieves the same feat in the Mercury program, Sputnik and other Soviet space accomplishments show that the United States is running far behind in the space race. Suggested by Hugh Dryden and committed to by President Kennedy, the ultimate goal and finish line will be a man setting foot on the moon. This puts NASA under extreme pressure, as they must figure out how to perform EVA, rendezvous, docking, long duration and spaceflight. Nine new astronauts must also be trained. In order to complete the Gemini program, work must be done and tragic problems must be weathered.moreless

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  • from the earth to the moon

    ;-) super
  • The pilot

    Before there was Band of Brothers and The Pacific HBO had the epic miniseries known as From the Earth to the Moon. The cast alone is incredible. You have Bryan Cranston, Steve Zahn, Tim Daly, Dan Lauria, Peter Scolaria, Dave Foley, Debra Jo Rupp, you have Tom Hanks and Ron Howard behind the project.

    It definitely set the standard for miniseries to the day, but it was less than stellar. It was a bit slow moving at times and relied too much on clips than actual new acting.

    But this did get me excited about the show, their pro-NASA bias aside though. Hopefully this delivers.moreless
  • An excellent start that sucks you right in to the series.

    “Can We Do It” is an excellent start to the series. It covers the early part of the space program and American reaction to the early Soviet successes. I like the way they interweave news footage, rather than try to recreate well known speeches. Rather than have an actor play President Kennedy, they show the featured characters listening to his speech on the radio.

    An enjoyable scene follows Jim Lovell meeting the other new Apollo astronauts for the first time. Men who’s names have gone down in history meeting for the first time, and they really sell the sense of wonder and anticipation. The characters anticipation fuels the viewers’ anticipation. This episode is an excellent setup, really priming you for the events to come.

Chris Isaak

Chris Isaak

Astronaut Edward White II

Timothy Daly

Timothy Daly

Astronaut James Lovell

Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston

Astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin

Peter Scolari

Peter Scolari

Astronaut Pete Conrad (Episode 1 Only)

Mark Rolston

Mark Rolston

Astronaut Gus Grissom

Ben Marley

Ben Marley

Astronaut Roger Chaffee

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • As Alan Shepard lifts off on Freedom 7, CapCom Deke Slayton says, "You're on your way, Jose!" Although not explained in the episode, this is a reference to comedian Bill Dana's routine in which his character Jose Jimenez pretends to be an astronaut. A recording of Dana's routine was actually patched into the radio communications loop before Shepard's liftoff; the launch was delayed for hours and apparently fellow astronaut Gordo Cooper thought Shepard needed to relax for a few minutes.

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Chris Kraft: Rendezvous. Two spacecraft meeting up in orbit. You wanna have some fun, come over to my house. You stand in the backyard, I'll stand in the front yard. You throw a tennis ball over my roof. I'll try to hit it with a rock as it comes sailing over. That's what we're going to have to do.

    • Ed White: (during his Gemini 4 spacewalk) I could stay out here all day.
      Jim McDivitt: Well, let's see what the Flight Director says.
      Chris Kraft: Flight Director says get back in!

    • (The Gemini Nine meet in a hotel)
      Jim Lovell: You guys are drinking in bad company if Pete Conrad's buying.
      Pete Conrad: Good God, not Jim Lovell. Space program's not safe if Shaky here can pass muster.

    • Buzz Aldrin: (during his Gemini 12 spacewalk) Jim, I'm gonna clean your windshield.
      Jim Lovell: Hey Buzz, check the oil too, would you?

    • Jim Lovell: Will Glenn be satisfied with president?
      Frank Borman: I don't know, let's ask Armstrong. (turns) Hey, Neil, would you vote for John Glenn for president?
      Neil Armstrong: Glenn for president, huh? That would depend. Who'd be runnin' for king?

    • Ed White: (after being told to go back into the craft after being the first American to walk in space) Coming in. This is the saddest moment of my life.

    • Deke Slayton: Men in this room will be making moon landings. Two of you will be first. I don't know which two that will be. But I do know that the first man to walk on the moon walked into this room today and he's looking at me right now. (pause) As well as the second, the third and the fourth and so on. (pause) I just thought you might want to know that.

    • President Kennedy: While we cannot guarantee that we will one day be first, we can guarantee that any failure to make this attempt will make us last.

    • Hugh Dryden: Most assuredly, the moon is their (the Soviet Union) ultimate objective.
      David Bell: A red moon huh? Who wants that hanging over our heads?

    • President Kennedy: I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon, and returning him safely to Earth.

    • James Webb: Bob, can we do this?
      Bob Gilruth: We'll need thousands of people, special facilities, technology and material that haven't been in vented yet.
      James Webb: Yeah. (pause) Can we do it?
      Bob Gilruth: Put a man on the moon in nine years. (pause) Yes. Absolutely. We have to.

  • NOTES (1)

    • The song "Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin was played in the background during the scene after Alan Shepard returns to earth (the parade and newspapers scene). It can also be heard in the movie Apollo 13.