Spaced out
70%Overall Score

In this Netflix original series created by The Office alumni Steve Carell and Greg Daniels, Mark Naird, a four-star general, is tasked with establishing a new branch of the US armed forces called Space Force. For this, Naird, his wife and his daughter must move to Colorado.

The show aims high…

The show begins with General Mark Naird (Steve Carell), who’s proud to be awarded the status of a four-star general. His wife, Maggie (Lisa Kudrow) and daughter Erin (Diana Silvers) happily attend the short ceremony, oblivious to the fact that they’re going to have to up and leave the city very soon.

In a meeting with the Defense Secretary and other chiefs, Naird is told that his new responsibility is to be in charge of the new Space Force in Colorado. At first, Naird thinks this is a joke, but it soon becomes clear that it’s anything but. The Defense Secretary says that POTUS wants “boots on the moon by 2024” and is going to “tweet” about it in five minutes. Naturally, the tweet has an embarrassing typo.  The show never mentions the real POTUS, but it’s a clear parody of the guy, who in December 2019, created Space Force, the newest branch of the US Armed Services.

A year later, Naird seems to be getting the hang of things with his colleagues. There’s Dr Adrian Mallory (John Malkovich), the Chief Scientist who is in charge of studying moon habitation. There’s F Tony Scarapiducci (Ben Schwartz), Space Force’s media advisor, a smooth-talking, over-enthusiastic young member of the team. There’s also Chan (Jimmy O. Yang), a Space Force scientist who hates it when people think he’s Korean and his colleagues, a selection of culturally diverse scientists, including Indians, Canadians and Sri Lankans.

…but spins out of orbit

While Naird tries to be tough and disciplined on the field, off the field, we see that he’s lonely and a real softie when it comes to his wife and daughter. Life in Colorado becomes challenging when, all of a sudden, Maggie ends up in prison. Don’t hold your breath. None of the ten episodes tell you what Maggie did to get there. Meanwhile, Erin struggles to cope and make friends in a new town.

The show has some funny moments. There’s an episode on sending a trained ‘chimpstronaut’ into space to fix a tampered US satellite that’s a real hoot. The scenes in which Naird bursts into song to blow off steam and his “conjugal prison visit” scenes are hilarious as well. Pop culture fans will love the Star Wars and Star Trek references. While the show never mentions Trump, plenty of digs are taken at his expense and that of FLOTUS. For instance, a set of new, ridiculously flashy uniforms arrive from the latter’s team for Space Force officials. However, Space Force is not The Office. Aside from these moments, it’s just not very funny or an effective farce.

WATCH OR NOT
If your expectations are high given the show comes from the brains behind The Office, you will be disappointed. The laughs are few and the satire is not particularly smart. The only thing that keeps you watching are the characters.

Creators: Steve Carell, Greg Daniels
Writers: Steve Carell, Greg Daniels
Cast: Steve Carell, John Malkovich, Lisa Kudrow, Ben Schwartz
Streaming on: Netflix