Space Force on Netflix, because tragedy + time = comedy

Here’s a first look at Space Force, Netflix’s Steve Carrell-led comedy about…the Space Force. Steve Carell + Ben Schwartz + John Malkovich seems like a good combo.

Premiers in late May.


Can’t wait, need me some funny entertainment in these times of depressing news.

That sounds amazing.

Avenue 5 also sounded amazing beforehand.

May is soon. I will have to subscribe again. When will they release a trailer?

My thoughts exactly…

This is still looking good.

May 29th.

I like the premise. If the show were edgier I would watch it. I can’t take Steve Carell seriously.

Today is the day. Looking forward to checking it out tonight.

I watched the first episode and found it pretty boring and not funny. I’ll give it another episode or 2 to see if it improves at all.

Reviews are mediocre. Supposedly the 2nd half of the season is better.

Watching first episode. It has non-lethal weaponry deployed from the space fighter…

Yeah, two episodes in and I’m not finding Carrell’s dumb character funny.

I’m four episodes in and i like it, dunno.

I’ve watched the first 2 eps and its ok I guess? Definitely expected more of a satire approch to this concept.

When Space Force was first announced and everyone went WTF? I can imagine this show getting greenlit just based on that bizarre idea. However when it actually came to spitballing the tone / content for the show, I can imagine they backpedaled a bit and were weary of completely antagonizing the Trump base / republicans. Thus we have them walking this tightrope between drama and satire.

And that is exactly the problem. They were too afraid to commit to satire so they ended up with something very uneven in tone. Because of that a lot of the humor flats flat as the serious undertones take the wind out of most of the humor and makes it seem out of place. Its not bad but I see a lot of wasted potential here.

Yep. Just watch the announcement teaser from last year:

The goal of the new branch is “to defend satellites from attack” and “perform other space related tasks” or something. This is the story of the men and women who have to figure it out.

I reckon those inverted commas and “or something” phrasing, imply a different show to what they ended up producing.

Spoilers!

I thought this had a terrific pilot. The cast, especially in the upper echelons, was fabulous. The premise was clever. Then, it felt like the showrunner, whether that was Greg Daniels or someone else, having scattered a number of Chekov’s Guns on the mantle, throughout the parlor, and even down in the scullery, decided to take a long vacation. The writer’s room will figure out how best to comedically execute situations arising from this starting point. The characters write themselves! Well, not quite.

I felt that after the starting point, the show was likeable enough. Malkovich, of course, was the best actor, and nothing was terrible when he was on screen. Steve Carell did okay, though the burning question of when and how will he get laid was one that was never funny enough to catch fire with me. Jimmy O. Yang improved on his douchey characters from Silicon Valley and Crazy Rich Asians to become not a bad guy. But some questions that seemed pretty important, like, what did Lisa Kudrow do to get her locked away for forty years or the Russian spy, besides wanting to mack on a barely legal girl, what’s his deal were waiting for the writers to come up with a funny enough answer, and they never got around to it. Parts of some episodes wanted to rip off space in popular culture (hey, remember The Martian? Remember Armageddon?), and other parts wanted to offer a sly commentary on geopolitical events and orbital mechanics. They couldn’t be subtle about it, either. Take the bas relief in the cafeteria that evoked the Marines on Iwo Jima raising the flag, but on the moon. It was nice as a background joke, and then Carell’s character stared at it for moral impetus. I felt whiplash, as if I was watching The Expanse crossed with That’s My Bush!

And then the season closed with a rapid jumping forward of the plot. Characters were forced to level up to make a ridiculous thing seem even a little plausible, other characters did three or four impossible and unlikely things. Did they think they had another ten episodes to pad out the season at their original pace?

If they want to be goofy, that’s cool. If they want to be serious about adventure on the high frontier, that’s cool. But if they want to cross the streams, I wish they’d be more careful about it. Or even, not careful so much as funny. I wish they’d be funnier.

Season two seems to be getting much better reviews.

I watched through to the end of season one, basically because I’ll watch anything with Tawny Newsome, even if her part in this is tiny. The first season didn’t really work, but I didn’t totally hate it, so I may give season two a chance.

My family (wife, 20-something daughters) and I enjoyed the first season just fine. It started off slowly and looked like a goofball farce with desperate-not-to-offend political satire, but it matured over the run and ended up in a pretty decent place. It reminded me a bit of the first couple seasons of Parks & Rec.

So I’m looking forward to diving into season 2.