Just the other week President Trump unveiled the flag for Space Force, the military branch he created in 2018. (He also announced that the U.S. is working on “a super-duper missile.”)
Steve Carell’s new series probably the highest-profile comedy vehicle Netflix has premiered so far—is an amiable fantasy about just such a force’s early days. Carell plays Mark R. Naird, the general heading up the operation. His first project: establish (or, in a sense, reestablish) an American presence on the moon. But that’s just one small step for American mankind. As Naird tells a potential astronaut: “The best-case scenario is colonizing the galaxy. Imagine, years from now you could be on some distant star, harvesting corn.”
The first five episodes suggest, at times, The Right Stuff by way of Veep, with sharp dialogue (“Spacesuits cost millions. Spacemen, rather less”) and a satiric eye on bureaucracy. More often Space Force settles into an enjoyably familiar military comedy of snafus—there’s one great episode about a rogue space chimp that inadvertently defects to the Chinese, and an inspired sight gag about uniforms designed by the First Lady. But some material fails to lift off: Why do we waste time with Naird’s mopey daughter (Diana Silvers)? Carell is at his best when he’s closest to The Office’s blustering Michael Scott, barking commands while not fully understanding what he means.
First episode date: May 29 , 2020
Program creators: Steve Carell, Greg Daniels
Executive producers: Steve Carell, Greg Daniels