Steve Carell returns to series television in Netflix’s Space Force. Reuniting with his The Office producer Greg Daniels, Space Force portrays four-star General Mark R. Naird, a military man enjoying life in the Nation’s capital with his wife Maggie (Lisa Kudrow) and daughter Erin (Diana Silvers). Known for his aviation skills, Mark finds his dream of running the Air Force deferred when the President decides to create a sixth branch of the Armed Forces, known as Space Force.
Dubious of his new assignment but enthusiastic about his military career, Mark moves his family to a remote base in Colorado. Upon arrival, he meets his team, who will assist him in the mission of getting boots on the moon (again); only this time, the US will be first. The members of Mark’s team include F. Tony Scarapiducci (Ben Schwartz), Space Force social media director, Adrian Mallory (John Malkovich), Space Force scientist, and Angela Ali (Tawny Newsome) a Space Force helicopter pilot.
Throughout the ten half-hour episodes, Mark and his team encounter numerous hijinks as they attempt to accomplish their goal. One of the first things I want to point out is while the US Space Force inspires Space Force, the show doesn’t use Trump as a source for all of its jokes and humor, nor do they ever say his actual name. While there are jabs at the current commander in chief, how the writers go about it is so underlined and hidden, not all audiences will catch on instantly.
In terms of the acting, Steve Carell is sharp as always and carries the show well as our lead. Carrell gives the audience his usual quirks and comedy style. As an Air Force veteran, there was never a moment where I felt that he disrespected the military uniform. John Malkovich was also a hoot as scientist Adrian Mallory. Stanley Kubrick fans will notice the character is a homage and parody of the late director’s early films, which I won’t spoil here. Ben Schwartz also brings a witty approach to the brown-nosing F. Tony Scarapiducci. The two performances I enjoyed the most, though, would have to be Tawny Newsome as Angela Ali and Diana Silvers as Erin Naird. Newsome glows with “black girl magic,” while Silver’s portrayal of a teen forced to move to new surroundings is something that all military brats can understand.
Despite the quality acting, the show won’t be for everyone. The jokes and style of the humor aren’t cut and dry. Those expecting gross-out humor, or quotable one-liners need to look elsewhere. I also feel that the show premise was a bit stale after around episode five. Had Carrell and Greg Daniels pitched Space Force as a feature film instead of a series, the result may have been better. I can honestly say I’m not anxiously awaiting a Season 2.
Steve Carrell and his producing partner Greg Daniels perfected the workplace environment with The Office. More concerned with its end goal and how Murphy’s Law always seems to come into play, no matter what your job is. While Space Force didn’t fully launch off for me with success in its first season, fans of The Office and Carell should still give it a look.
Final Grade C