Space Force – Review
Starring Steve Carell, John Malkovich, and Lisa Kudrow, as well as a vast supporting cast of comedy legends.
General Naird (Steve Carell) is promoted to 4-star general and given the task of becoming the leader of a new branch of the American military – Space Force. The show is a satirical look at modern politics and the views toward science in the American culture today. There are subplots involving Naird’s personal life. His wife is in prison, his daughter is feeling left behind, and he is trying to find the groove of his new position.
The show is a comedy, and I did have a couple of giggles, but I must say that I wasn’t laughing for most of it. The show’s creators have done some impressive titles in the past, like the American Office, Parks and Rec, and King of the Hill. The hype for the show might have affected my viewing experience. But mostly I think the part of my brain that suspends belief has always been sensitive and much of the show’s setups are too convenient. From the inception of the branch in the first episode to launching satellites is one thing, but chimp-stranauts and crews on the moon seem to happen much too fast, and I mostly spent time thinking about the absurdity of it all.
Unlike the real Space Force, which only has a budget of $US40 Million (not enough to buy a single SpaceX Falcon 9 flight), General Naird’s Space Force is putting boots on the moon. Some of the setups make for funny skits, and that’s what the show feels like – a series of skits rather than a narrative. The episodes that I enjoyed most bucked that trend entirely.
Episode 3 has a great speech about funding space exploration, and episode 5 has some excellent character interactions between Naird and Mallory (John Malkovich). Both stories have fairly mundane setups; a Senate estimates panel and a war game scenario between Space Force and the Air Force. Other episodes had a much more fantastical setting, war on the moon, for instance. I found the juxtaposition between the tones of the episodes to be very jarring.
That said, it was ok. The first season of a show needs to prove the concept, and I think Space Force does that. I’m not eager to watch another season, but if it were on, I would watch it.