Miya Cech, Ben Daon , Creator, writer, and executive producer Daniel Knauf, Keith L. Williams, Kayden Grace Swan (Credit: Gilbert Flores)
Pierce College

Nickelodeon is unafraid of welcoming children as ‘Little Grown-Ups’ in new show ‘The Astronauts’

Nickelodeon is surprising Nick-fans worldwide November 13 with the hour-long premiere of the new series “The Astronauts.” The story follows a young friend group who accidentally voyages into outer space and is likely a step into a new era of children’s TV — One that will truly impress and inspire families around the world.

“The Astronauts” creator Daniel Knauf has written TV for adults most of his career and thought it was time to pitch a drama to Nickelodeon.

“I think Nickelodeon has an edge as far as family programming goes,” Knauf said. “And when Imagine and I brought it to them with the idea that was, ‘look this is gonna have all the reality of Apollo 13, only there’s going to be children in the cockpits instead of adults, and they will be in danger and there will be deep-dives and some scary moments,’ and they were down with that.” 

Being that Nickelodeon has not presented its viewers with a drama in the capacity that “The Astronauts,” does there are many elements that will impress the Nickelodeon audience from the acting to production.

“The kids, as far as I’m concerned, they all hit it out of the park and the director did a superb job and well, it’s cinematic. It looks like a movie,” Knauf said.

Aside from this sort of kid-friendly cinematic drama, Knauf also aims to welcome a message surrounding a unique family dilemma.

Within a story where children are blasted into outer space and forced to survive, their parents face a similar conflict; they are forced to trust, have faith and survive as they watch their children maneuver a spaceship from Earth. The series is ultimately a celebration of the parent-child relationship’s existence during conflict.

“I think that viewers will take away the fact that as fun as dysfunctional families have been on TV, I think they’re more the exception to the rule,” Knauf said. “Most families all love each other and want the best for each other. And sometimes while we don’t all agree on what that is, that is the thing that we sort of celebrate on this show — that the parents truly want the best for the children. And the children, when they do have to disobey the parents, it comes at a price, you know? So there’s a certain kind of emotional reality there that I’m very pleased with.”

Ultimately, “The Astronauts” is a series worth an entire household to find the time to make popcorn, sit aside each other and immerse themselves in Knauf’s mind, where each generation will find themselves at the edge of their seat. 

“Most of my work has been for grown-ups but kids are little grown-ups aren’t they?” Knauf said. “So it was just like writing a drama.” 

Keith L. Williams, Miya Cech, Ben Daon, Kayden Grace Swan (Photo courtesy of Gilbert Flores)

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