‘Space Force’ peaks early and settles for less

Space Force is a thing now apparently and it’s getting made fun of on Netflix which is oddly appropriate because the show is also dumb.

Steve Carrell plays a newly promoted general put in charge of the newest wing of the United States Armed Forces, the Space Force. He doesn’t want to be there as he had his heart set on being the head of the Air Force, but over time he comes to appreciate his new job and the strange people in it as they set a goal of returning to the moon.

Okay… There is one episode of this show that illustrates it at its best and also illustrates the gigantic lost opportunity that it represents.

In the second episode, “Save Epsilon 6,” the Chinese sabotage a satellite in orbit and so, with the seconds ticking away until it re-enters the atmosphere and burns up, the Space Force turn to a chimpanzee that they abandoned in orbit to fix their equipment. It’s an hour of the characters facing an impossible problem and figuring out out how to fix the problem with solutions that are equally impossible. The script and dialougue is funny, the characters are at their peak, and through it all, as they brainstorm and struggle, I wanted to see them all succeed even as it becomes more and more evident that they are screaming at the top of their lungs into a storm of futility.

“Save Epsilon 6” is the best episode of Space Force.

I honestly have difficulty even remembering what happened in the other 9 episodes.

In an incredible example of peaking early, the rest of Space Force settles down into the framework of yet another quirky workplace comedy with quirky characters. It’s literally the same thing that we saw in The Office, only with a little astronaut stuff thrown in and not to subtle jabs at politicians that are nowhere near as clever as they think.

This is difficult for me because I rarely know what to write about when a series has this little impact on me. Is Space Force a bad series? Heavens, no… it’s sufficiently funny and I liked the characters. The show has its moments. Steven Carell is funny as usual and John Malkovich is undeniably hilarious as the head scientist… but it’s all so tired and so played out that nothing about it sticks. Nothing resonates. Aside from episode #2, the series is a forgettable non-event.

With a literal universe of possibilities to explore, I honestly cannot comprehend why this series settled on a formula that’s been done a million times especially when the potential of what it could be is literally there in the second episode using sign language and trying to teach a chimp how to repair a satellite.

The laziness and complacency is, quite frankly, inexcusable.

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