05th Jun2020

‘Space Force’ Review (Netflix Original)

by Rhys Payne

Stars: Steve Carell, John Malkovich, Ben Schwartz, Diana Silvers, Lisa Kudrow, Jane Lynch, Fred Willard, Jimmy O. Yang, Tawny Newsome | Created by Steve Carell, Greg Daniels

One of the only clever things about the new Netflix original series Space Force is that the release was timed to be around the same time of the real-ilfe launch of SpaceX, which really helped to build a sense of excitement for the new show. Also, this show possess one of the most star-studded casts (including Steve Carell, Lisa Kudrow, Jane Lynch and the late Fred Willard) that I have seen in recent years which again adds to the anticipation of this space-themed show. However, after the excitement for the premise and the the cast faded away, this show proved that cramming a show full a famous names doesn’t always mean the it will be a success!

Space Force is a hyper-modern series which follows America’s ‘development’ in space exploration. An important thing, that viewers will realise immediately, is that this is entirely satirical and should be taken as tongue-in-cheek. There a multiple ‘unreal’ moments of the show that at times are hysterical but the majority of such scenes go beyond satire and become so over the top and ridiculous that takes away from the real-life nature of the show. If Space Force is meant to be satirical then it must be a reference to something else that the audience recognise from their lives; however at times this mocking goes so extreme that it loses it realistic basis. When the satire is done correctly in this show it works perfectly – there are jokes about the president tweeting important updates instead of going through set channels with hilarious typos and also jokes about the EU and Brexit, which were extremely clever and very funny. However, the majority of the jokes in this series relies upon and repeated historic set-ups and old fashioned humour. There are jokes that are heavily based on race and stereotypes which, for me as a younger person, find very outdated.

Space Force is, however, a show that does have something for every type of viewer. As previously discussed this show has a range of different types of comedy that appeals to all ages. There are sub-stories regarding overcoming gender roles and race, there are romantic developments and key scenes about the tough job of balancing being a parent with a high powered job. There is also a key scene where Steve Carell sings and dances in his office before a stressful situation, which did provide comic relief to the show and helps to keep the more energetic and theatrical inclined viewers engaged. I am normally a fan of cheesy musical numbers in shows but I do believe that it should always make sense within the context of the show which this Space Force didn’t do and it meant the comedy of this scene did fall a bit flat. However, despite the show trying to appeal to the widest audience possible, it also has extremely strong language and scenes that may not be understood by people below a younger age, which makes it unsuitable for a young audience.

It is clear that the intention for Netflix is that there will be a second season of Space Force but I thought the way the creative team went about hinting at this was very confusing. The show ends mid-action, which while this shows the possibility of more episodes, it does mean this series ends very suddenly and abruptly which added to the disappointment in this first season. Overall, Space Force is a fun show that does, at times, provide the comic relief everyone needs during these difficult times and also has been crafted to perfectly working alongside current affairs which is brilliant. However, I believe that the all-star cast was not used to their full capacity and many of the comedic moments were not fitting of the talent of those involved. I do hope things will change when Netflix inevitably releases the second season.

*** 3/5

Space Force is available on Netflix now.

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