Zach’s Zany TV Binge Watchin’ Reviews: SPACE FORCE SEASON 1 (Netflix)

Man…did SPACE FORCE pick the wrong weekend to debut or what, am I right? Not it’s fault though, but suffice to say that when viewing numbers for this weekend come out, I wouldn’t be surprised if Netflix, Greg Daniels, Steve Carrell and co. are disappointed with the ultimate results. Hope you all are staying safe out there and if you are protesting that you are doing it peacefully. Speaking of peacefully, I thought the show was going to have a lot more digs toward the government or those in charge of power, but everything was surprisingly tame and not controversial whatsoever. Which to be honest, was a little disappointing. Most if not all of the humor was tamer than some of the now tone deaf laughs that The Office gave us way back then. That being said, I still enjoyed Space Force for what it was and have to disagree with a lot of the critics that hated it. It is a different work place comedy from the creators of the ultimate work place comedy that people (including me) still binge watch constantly over and over again on Netflix (until it leaves that platform later this year, that’s when I’ll bring out the DVD’s!). While the show didn’t provide nearly as much laughs as I would’ve liked, the whole story was entertaining to me, and at least the first season was much, much better than the first season of The Office or Parks and Recreation. Remember how horrible those were but then those shows found their footing? Well if this show is already 10 times better than the 1st season of those shows, and it manages to find their footing in the next season or two, we could be in for something truly special. It remains to be seen, but I’m willing to give it a couple of more season chance. Right now it is passable okay bordering on good. And that ain’t bad.

Per Wikipedia, “Space Force is a workplace comedy series that centers on a group of people tasked with establishing the sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces. Carell’s character, Mark Naird, is the general in charge of the effort and the series follows his collaboration to get “boots on the moon” per the orders of the President.” To add to that description, needless to say, almost all the people in this special sixth branch (excluding only a few) are a few thousand gallons of fuel short of a successful launch. Thankfully, Steve Carell is definitely not just playing Michael Scott with a rough military scowl, but an entirely new buffoon altogether, one that you could definitely say has more smarts than Michael Scott with the same amount of heart. Really none of the acting is a problem here, everybody plays a colorful and interesting character, but if I had to pick an MVP of the series, it unfortunately would not be Mr. Carrell, it would easily be John Malkovich. I haven’t enjoyed John Malkovich this much since his days playing an over the top character in movies like Rounders or Con Air. Here, he plays it straight, but he plays it so straight that its absolutely fucking hilarious. He is one of the few exceptions to all the dummies he’s surrounded by in the new special military branch (the African American pilot played by Newsome is a close second in terms of smarts and laughs). And when he disagrees with anybody’s thoughts on the next step to a problem they are having to solve, his facial expressions, demeanor and dialogue are pure comedy gold. If there is any reason to give this entire season a watch it is for him and him alone. Fortunately, he isn’t an ‘AND’ character and is second billed in the series, so he almost has as much screen time as Carrell. If the series ever didn’t bring back Malkovich, I would probably stop watching immediately.

The series is entertaining on a story level, especially the B plot that turns into the A plot at the end of the American Space Force vs. The Chinese Space Force. It is just that all the laughs are more chuckle worthy than laugh out loud antics (all the laugh out loud stuff is mainly just Malkovich). I’d say the jokes are hit and miss, about a perfect 50-50 ratio. If I had to pick my favorite episode out of the ten it would easily be the 2nd episode, which deals with a monkey and dog in space. That is the one episode that had me shaking the whole house with my laugh and didn’t just elicit light chuckles that wouldn’t shake anything but my tongue. The problem with the humor and jokes is that they didn’t take it as far as they needed to. They needed more controversial umph. Maybe they were afraid of retaliation of our current president that they didn’t want the attention? If so, that is disappointing, there was plenty of opportunity to make fun of the politics of it all and also make people laugh their asses off with some smart jokes. Instead, everything is played a little too safe. Maybe the showrunners will receive that feedback and not pull their punches in future seasons. If so, and they land those with brass knuckles right on the political satire cheek, this series will go places. Right now, it was good and not pretty good. I think the critics were a little too hard on it to be sure, but they do have a point. When you are the creator of two shows (Greg Daniels) whose first seasons were downright terrible but somehow overcame cancellation and ended up winning a bunch of Emmy’s with smart future seasons, wouldn’t you think the third time workplace comedy would be the charm? Apparently not. But this season was better than the first season of Parks and Rec and The Office, the last two seasons of The Office and the last season of Parks and Rec. And to me, that’s something to go a little over the moon about.

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