Space Force

Space Force is the galactic comedy that Avenue 5 probably wants to be when it grows up.

Steve Carrell latched onto the concept of a fictitious United States Space Force through his agent, creating the show with writer / producer Greg Daniels (Upload, The Office, Parks & Recreation). The results are lean-back fun.

Carrell plays 4 star general Mark R. Naird given the command of the newest branch of the US Defences, at a sprawling base hidden deep in the Colorado mountains. It may be top secret, but even the local gas station manager knows about it all.

Naird has a mission: POTUS wants boots on the moon by 2024, to get back red, white & blue space dominance. But he is faced with failing test missions, a rising budget, and a wife (Lisa Kudrow) who is sent off to prison for reasons which are not immediately apparent.

At his side, and sometimes as a thorn in it, is scientist Dr. Adrian Mallory (John Malkovich) whose endeavours to do everything safely and scientifically are sometimes upstaged by the pure optimism -aka blissful ignorance- of Naird. Things go wrong a lot, but nothing will stand in the way of space progress for “the world’s oldest democracy.”

There’s also Naird’s very independent daughter Erin (Diana Silvers), a randy Russian observer Yuri (Alex Sparrow), a bumbling personal assistant Brad (Don Lake) and a Twitter-obsessed media manager (Ben Schwartz). Watch for cameos from Jane Lynch, Patrick Warburton and a supporting role by Noah Emmerich as Naird’s nemesis.

As a bonus Naird’s senile father is played by Fred Willard in his final role (the opening episode is also dedicated in tribute).

Production-wise this has money on the screen. For a TV comedy is it full of location shots with air force big toys and endless admin buildings. I don’t think I’ve seen a show with quite so many extras. It really adds to the credibility and luxury of it all.

Thankfully it all supports the comic timing of a growling Steve Carrell, balanced by the wobbly concern of Malkovich… an inspired pairing. When it all gets necessarily serious Carrell and Daniels veer left into the absurd or a visual gag, that taps into Carrell’s comic toolbox. Cue Kokomo.

But a word of warning. If you’re not a Carrell fan this may offer very little. Space Force could do more given its fine ensemble. The Office it may not be, but Houston, we have a crowd-pleaser.

Space Force is now screening on Netflix.

11 Comments:

  1. It does improve over the first season. For those expecting a carbon copy of The Office, they will be disappointed. If they expect a more mature Steve Carrell with a great John Malkovich, they will get what they wanted. I watched the first season in one go and it was very enjoyable.

  2. Space Force is not a classic Netflix sitcom offering but is one of the more watchable Netflix shows to be released recently. The well made 30 minute episodes help to make this show an easy binge watch unless you are not a Steve Carrell fan, as he is pretty much in every scene.
    Those who struggle with formulaic American TV humour will not like the introverted comedy set pieces at all but watching john Malkovich and in one episode a marooned space chimp subtly steal the limelight from Carrell really made my time spent watching this series worthwhile.

  3. Very dissapointed with this show given all the hype about it. Would have been better if they had really hammed it up. Unfortunately jokes were just few and far between. Stuck it out but wouldn’t recommend it

  4. When I saw that Steve Carrell was in this show, I wondered how he got a lead role with the sexual allegations against him, then realized I got Morning Wars and real life confused.

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