Maybe the Barnette show seems a little flat because the space program has become so routine. What once kept Americans riveted to their television sets now merits a mere sound bite on the news. Space stations come and go. Astronauts spend record amounts of time in orbit. A millionaire buys himself a flight on the space shuttle.
Or maybe increasingly sophisticated filmmaking technology makes it impossible for the reality of space odysseys to compete with Hollywood, California. Back in 1968 -- the year of the Stanley Kubrick movie to which the title of Barnette's show refers -- an aura of magic and mystery still surrounded space travel, both on and off screen. Now we're just jaded, and Barnette's nostalgia seems almost quaint.