REVIEW: ‘Space Force’ Sticks the Landing

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Space Force Season 1

Space Force season one has landed on Netflix, and it is bizarrely hilarious, as it is deeply endearing. A decorated pilot with dreams of running the Air Force, four-star general Mark R. Naird (Steve Carell) is thrown for a loop when he finds himself tapped to lead the newly formed sixth branch of the US Armed Forces: Space Force. Skeptical but dedicated, Mark uproots his family and moves to a remote base in Colorado where he and a colorful team of scientists and “Spacemen” are tasked by the White House with getting American boots on the moon (again) in a hurry and achieving total space dominance.

The series comes from co-creators Steve Carell and Greg Daniels (The Office) and season one is a new kind of workplace comedy, where the stakes are sky high and the ambitions even higher. John Malkovich, Diana Silvers, Tawny Newsome, Ben Schwartz also star, alongside co-stars Lisa Kudrow, Jimmy O. Yang, Noah Emmerich, Alex Sparrow and Don Lake.

While the show is definitely underpinned by its outlandish comedy, it is embedded with a deep layer of heart, and emotion. I was not expecting to feel things while watching a branch of the military attempt to dominate the vacuum of our local space. My expectations immediately shifted the deeper I plunged into the season. I found myself rooting for the core characters, and celebrating their successes.

The show thrives on the hilarity of the relationships of its characters from opposite perspectives, which can be generalized to the goals of both the military and scientific exploration. Naird, the career serviceman, is offset by the rational, forward thinking Chief Scientist Dr. Mallory (Malkovich). The two clash throughout the season with spectacularly rib-tickling results. While there are many bright elements to Space Force, the feather in the cap of the show is the relationship between these two opposing forces.

During one particular scene that had me both on the edge of my seat, and raucously laughing at what I was witnessing, was watching Naird and Dr. Mallory attempt to solve a problem in space with one of their satellites. Dr. Mallory engages the other scientists in an Apollo 13 number-crunching sequence as they endeavor to solve the problem with only a limited number of tools at their disposal. While Naird unleashes a ‘Chimpstronaut’ and communicates with the chimp on what needs fixing. It is a scene that is utterly bananas, but it must be witnessed to be believed. This was one instance but there are many more brilliant scenes between some fantastic characters that I can’t wait to discuss at length once you’ve watch this show.

If you’re not convinced, at the levels of comedy, then perhaps you’ll be enticed at the humanity that’s at the root of this show. While in real life many of found the notion of an actual  Space Force branch absurdly farcical, but in Space Force season one Carell highlights incredibly high risks, and cynicism of practically everyone around him. He is oftentimes asked to make decisions both personally and professionally with little help from the majority of his subordinates. At the heart of Naird’s character, he has been given an objective from the Commander-in-Chief, and regardless of the nearly inconceivable obstacles, he dedicates himself to the task.

You will find yourself rooting for Space Force to succeed by the end of the season no matter the ridiculous circumstances that surround it. Whether it be due to the advancements in scientific breakthroughs, the contributions to humanity, or just because there is a team-up in the stratosphere protecting our satellites so that we can be provided with the internet.

There is a lovely moment in episode three where General Naird and Dr. Mallory have to travel to the capital and defend their budget to a congressional committee. Without delving too deep into the details, Naird rationalizes extremely dexterously on why they are spending $10,000 by sending an orange to the moon for their astronauts. It’s a really lovely, genuine moment.

The show is filled with these diamonds, and sometimes they are barely noticeable, but as the season progresses you realize this team, these people, are doing their jobs as expected.

Overall, I was not expecting what I got from this show. It is one part absurdity in its comedy, and another part heartfelt from the performances of the characters in the show. Space Force was an absolute joy to binge, and I’m ready for more boots on the moon.

Space Force season one is available exclusively on Netflix now.

Space Force, Season 1
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Overall, I was not expecting what I got from this show. It is one part absurdity in its comedy, and another part heartfelt from the performances of the characters in the show. Space Force was an absolute joy to binge, and I’m ready for more! Boots on the moon!!