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SHOW OF THE WEEK

April 14, 1985

"SPACE," Sunday through Thursday nights on CBS (2) (8) (Illustrated on cover)--Recovered from "A.D." yet? It was only 10 days ago that NBC's five-part, 12-hour epic about the early years of Western Civilization ended. Now it's time to get ready for a miniseries adventure of a dramatically different nature: "Space," a 13-hour saga about the development of the U.S. space program.

Based on the novel by James Michener, the $33-million drama uses fictional characters to explore the space program from a variety of viewpoints: those of the astronauts, the scientists, the politicians and the administrators. It follows its principals from the end of World War II through 1971.

"Space" debuts Sunday at 8 p.m. with a three-hour chapter. Subsequent installments will air Monday at 9 p.m., Tuesday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 9 p.m. and Thursday at 8 p.m.

Although the miniseries features footage obtained from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and was filmed on location at actual NASA facilities, the producers of "Space" insist that it is less a hardware story than a people story. The script by Stirling Silliphant and executive producer Dick Berg explores the lives of the people caught up in the ambitious, exciting, high-priced effort to explore the awesome frontier beyond Earth's atmosphere.

The characters include a pair of astronauts (Beau Bridges and Harry Hamlin) and their wives (Stephanie Faracy and Blair Brown), a U.S. senator (James Garner) and his wife (Susan Anspach), a German scientist recruited for the U.S. program (Michael York), a program administrator (Bruce Dern) and his wife (Melinda Dillon) and a charlatan who finds a way to capitalize on the space program (David Dukes).

There are, as you might expect, political and sexual entanglements galore among these folks, but the miniseries rises above such earthly concerns at the end with a fateful voyage to the moon.

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