REVIEW: ‘Space Force’ Season 2 Brings the Comedy, but On A Smaller Scale

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Space Force Season 2 - But Why Tho

What started as a real-life absurdity, swiftly thereafter became a mimicked comedic series into what the creators  Greg Daniels, and Steve Carell thought would be the perception of a new branch of the military that was tasked with monitoring, and defending space. Yes, space nerds of all backgrounds, Space Force Season 2 has arrived at Netflix, and it’s time to get silly.

The prior season of Space Force laid a lot of groundwork as far as character development, worldbuilding, and establishing the plot that while the concept of a military branch was created to protect space, there are some very real people who were given orders, and jobs to bring this all to fruition. The contrast between the comedy to what was actually being paralleled in the real world with the previous American political administration was so deftly offset with the realities of trying to accomplish this job seriously, and with tact. For some viewers, the format felt a little too loose in the overall plot, and the series ran a little too long.

Coming into the series’ second season, however, it’s clear to see some changes have been made. The cast has been cut down dramatically, so while in the previous season there were a number of cameos, or background actors, a lot of that has been reduced. The core focus of the show is mainly on those characters that revolve around the main protagonist, four-star General Mark Naird, played by Steve Carell. This shifting of perspective reframes the series to feel a lot smaller, and gives it a vibe similar to some of Daniels previous creations, such as The Office, or Parks and Recreation.

Similarly, the focal point for the plot of season 2 has been very clearly defined and is present throughout each of the episodes giving it a much more obvious thread. Space Force Season 2 will see the agency tackle the most dreaded of topics, budget cuts. With a new political administration now in office, the pendulum of importance has swung back the other way, with this new branch of military still in the infancy stage finding the need to justify their existence.

My biggest gripe with this repositioning is that while it creates some brilliant opportunities for character development in the face of adversity that’s ripe for comedic interpretation, it subtracts from the absurdity of the premise of Space Force in general. For example, the absolute lunacy of what happens in Season 1 of trying to get a Chimpstronaut to fix the panels of a space station, or combat preparation in “Space Flag”. I loved the ludicrous concepts that this first season put us in as we witness the testing, and training of their space officers.

This is not to to say Season 2 is without it’s comedic moments, or that I didn’t enjoy it, but it definitely feels smaller in scope, and a little too similar in style to something like The Office. This comes from someone who still loves and watches that series, but that narrative is unique to its surroundings and characters. For me, Space Force works because the comedy adapted to its environment.

That being said, I have really missed this show, and I was still able to really enjoy it. Episode 6 “The Doctor’s Appointment” shoots to the top of my list, and I can tell you that during one particular scene I was balled over gasping for breath thanks to the opposing hilarity from Dr. Adrian Mallory (John Malkovich), and Dr. Chan Kaifang (Jimmy O. Yang). During the episode, the two are applying for alternative employment after their growing concern the agency will be shut down. While interviewing, the pair are asked to wear a set of VR headsets and take a virtual tour around the property, and I about died laughing. Malkovich and Yang were two actors who shined in season 1, and they carry this on in the second season. I very much love that we get to spend more time with them, and Malkovich very much deserves it because his performance drips with such a dry sense of humor, and disdain that it beggars belief that he’s even acting.

Carell is another top performer during the show, and I don’t think anyone will be surprised to see that. His over the top, and often times emphatic perception of General Naird perfectly fits the character. The comedic timing Carell brings to this show is unmatched. How he’s able to keep a straight face during some of these performances is uncanny.

That is a large part of my disappointment because this show has such a wonderful cast of characters that I want to see them all put into situations that optimize their best presence on screen. F. Tony Scarapiducci (Ben Schwartz) is a prime example of this, as his character’s impact felt a lot safer and far more toned down, and Schwartz is capable of far more than what he was used to doing in this second season.

I do really still love the show, and it’s such an easy binge, but just as I found the plot to be getting particularly engaging, it ended!

Space Force Season 2 is still a very funny show, as the team attempts to deal with budget cutbacks, and a wavering staff wondering if they should jump ship. Sadly though the story does hit a lot of challenges as the plot plays things far too safe in comparison to the prior season. The core cast of characters is still a joy to see perform, with Malkovich, and Carell chief among them, but some of the other subplots left a number of characters underutilized. Greg Daniels tends to find his optimal voice for a show in the third season, so hopefully, they’re able to iron out some of these kinks.

Space Force Season 2 is available now exclusively on Netflix.


Space Force Season 2
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

Space Force Season 2 is still a very funny show, as the team attempts to deal with budget cutbacks, and a wavering staff wondering if they should jump ship. Sadly though the story does hit a lot of challenges as the plot plays things far too safe in comparison to the prior season. The core cast of characters are still a joy to see perform, with Malkovich, and Carell chief among them, but some of the other subplots left a number of characters under utilized. Greg Daniels tends to find his optimal voice for a show in the third season, so hopefully they’re able to iron out some of these kinks.