I started watching Space Force with no expectations. Actually that’s a lie, I thought it was going to suck ass. Why? Because the critics were brutal. Never mind the fact that it’s “from the guys who brought you The Office” and boasts a massive cast, all the major critics – all of them – thought it was either “funny-ish” or just plain “unfunny”. But to be honest, I quite liked it.
Space Force was created by Steve Carell and The Office writer Greg Daniels. It also stars Carell in the lead role as four-star General Mark R. Naird, who is tasked with leading the newly formed Space Force. The rest of the cast is made up of John Malkovich, Tawny Newsome, Ben Schwartz, Jimmy O. Yang, Noah Emmerich, Alex Sparrow, Don Lake, Lisa Kudrow, and Diana Silvers. The series also features the late Fred Willard as Carell’s on-screen father.
I’ll admit the first two episodes were a bit shit and if you’re not having a good day, you’ll turn it off. But if you stick through to episode three, it picks up. Carell and Malkovich are excellent together, Malkovich is unsurprisingly the standout. On his heels is Newsome. I thought she was great. I also really enjoyed watching her character, Captain Ali, bond with Dr Chan (Yang).
So how poorly rated is the series? Well, it has a 47% rating on Metacritic, which means mostly mixed or average reviews. It only gets worse from there.
Space Force is based on Donald Trump‘s very real warfare branch of the same name, but the show itself isn’t actually political. Put simply, it’s part workplace comedy, part drama. And when I say “part drama” I don’t mean it’ll suddenly hit you in the chest with a devastatingly poignant moment… like Scrubs does – it’s more of an obvious blend between the two genres. The plot focuses on General Naird’s personal and professional life and builds the foundation for future seasons, if renewed. (It will probably be renewed.)
At first, it will feel like Carell and Daniels are throwing jokes at a wall and seeing what sticks. And with such an impressive cast and crew, I think people just expected nothing less than perfect. Which is fair, but comedy’s tough. I didn’t warm up to The Office or Parks and Recreation until its later seasons. And I didn’t really see the point of Space Force until halfway through the season, when it found its footing. After that, I actually liked it. It was enjoyable viewing.
Space Force isn’t as funny or as satirical as we all thought it’d be, but there are enough amusing moments in there to keep you going. And again, John Malkovich is brilliant in it.
Give it a chance if the reviews dissuaded you. It really isn’t that bad.