Creators: Steve Carell, Greg Daniels | Runtime: 30-36mins (episode) | Comedy
When The President orders “boots on the moon” by 2024, 4-star General Mark Naird (Steve Carell) takes over the new division of Space Force. In order to be successful, General Naird must tackle international conflict, political interruption and the idiocy of the people around him.
Space Force sees the second coming of The Office (2005-2013) co-creator Greg Daniels and it’s leading star Steve Carell with a new Netflix comedy, looking to blend the sometimes awkward comedy with the parody of contemporary politics. While the show really does wear it’s opinions brighter than the badges on a General’s chest, you can’t help but feel that in shooting for the stars, they forget the importance of the initial launch.
Not to say that the show isn’t entertaining in it’s infancy, introducing us to the war room shenanigans of each top government figure, and their locker room squabbles over power and authority. The parallels between real-life and fiction become apparent, as the unseen POTUS is a tweet-threatening man of ridiculousness, as well as his enforcers offending every inch of their titles as leaders. The show spends a lot of time in this parodic state, finding most of it’s comedy in the foggy values of militant individuals but never really showing you the danger they have, or the scary power they wield.
But a show must live through it’s main character, especially when it’s concept rides on the shoulders of one man against everything. Here is where the palpable charisma and treasured qualities of Steve Carell come in, balancing the right amount of jarhead testosterone with strong enough ideals to see him as a true hero. Gifted with the objective of putting “boots on the moon”, his lack of knowledge and unbridled patriotism make each scene one of consequence but also one of humour, making each character encounter one to enjoy no matter the tone.
Space Force doesn’t build enough rapport with you to justify such a bold attempt at pandering for a second season.
Carell is joined by a pretty hefty cast of comedic talents on his quest, Lisa Kudrow as his incarcerated wife (we are never told why), Jane Lynch, Noah Emmerich, and the very often scene stealing Ben Schwartz. But the most wonderful sight to behold in this 10 episode series is the chemistry between Carell and John Malkovich, and while no one can deny their talents as actors it’s surprisingly wonderful to see them bouncing off each other. They have the same goal but a hell of a different approach, and the coupling of the two makes you wonder how we’ve waited so long for them to work together.
The problem, and what puts this show to a devastating halt, is it’s inability to complete stories it puts in front of you. While television would be nowhere without the cliffhanger, there is a fine line to be walked in order to give your show a feeling of completion, while leaving us wanting more. But unfortunately Space Force does leave you hanging a little too much. Maybe in the days of The Office where audiences were in deep enough to be ecstatic about anything that the show had to offer, but Space Force doesn’t build enough rapport with you to justify such a bold attempt at pandering for a second season.
You can easily coast your way through the bulk of this show on the Carell/Malkovich chemistry alone, but Space Force still feels like it’s trying to run before it can walk. Granted it’s parody is fun (and pretty accurate), but it’s bold attempts to keep you relishing for more feel very misplaced, diminishing the final product in the process.