Space Force: One small step for man, one giant leap back for Netflix

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Photo Netflix

Space Force poster

Kaitlin Bavaro, Arts Editor

Space Force, released on Netflix on May 29, is a comedy about a team of scientists paired with the U.S. Military to create an American Space Force. The show follows General Naird (Steve Carell), who is in charge of the mission, and his journey to “get boots on the moon.”  It pokes fun at the Trump Administration and their tweeting habits, as the Space Force initiative came from a tweet from the president.

Viewers get to witness the trials and tribulations of General Naird, scientist Dr. Adrian Mallory (John Malkovich) and the rest of the Space Force team in the span of 10 30-minute  episodes. One of the most significant plot points in the show is the clashing of opinions of Naird and the scientists. The show also focuses on Naird’s teenage daughter Erin (Diana Silvers) and Naird’s wife Maggie (Lisa Kudrow), who is inexplicably in prison. There is a musical montage in some episodes, and the song choice is always catchy. The plot is easy to follow, but it isn’t very entertaining, especially at the beginning of the season.

For a show classified as a comedy, Space Force misses the mark. Its humor is overall bland and audiences might only let out a chuckle once or twice per episode. Additionally, the jokes are also way too ridiculous at times. A chimpanzee floating through space trying to fix a satellite? Really? Though the show’s occasional use of satire is better than the workplace type of comedy that they attempted to pull off, Space Force’s lack of genuine comedy makes the show difficult to watch. 

This letdown was pretty surprising to the show’s audience. Space Force was created by Greg Daniels and Steve Carell, who are both known for their laudable work on the U.S version of The Office. Daniels adapted and produced The Office, while Carell starred in the show for seven of its nine seasons, as well as occasionally producing, writing, and directing episodes. Daniels and Carell were both praised for their work on The Office, but they’ll be trading that praise for criticism with their work on Space Force.  

The plot does become watchable as the show progresses, but there is never a point where Space Force truly gets good. The audience doesn’t really get to know the characters that well, even by the end of the season. Furthermore, it’s hard to grasp exactly what genre Space Force is trying to be. There are moments where Space Force attempts to be satirical, while sometimes it is a workplace comedy, and it even tries to be a drama at some points. Yet the show doesn’t really nail any of these.

 The finale ends with a cliffhanger, implying that the show could potentially be renewed for a season two, but I have my doubts that Netflix will take that risk.