Yesterday, Elon Musk and SpaceX successfully launched Americans into Space, becoming the first commercial entity to ever do so. One day prior, Greg Daniels’ Space Force was released to Netflix. The former was a smashing success. Doug and Bob have successfully attached their capsule to the ISS and the Falcon 9 rocket landed itself safely back on Earth. (For those wondering, reusable rockets can save ~$10million per use) The latter has seemingly fallen right on it’s face.
Let’s call a spade a spade here, the pilot episode was bad.
To make matters worse, the pilot episode centers on General Naird’s (Steve Carrell) decision to launch their first satellite despite poor weather conditions. Funny enough, SpaceX was dealing with the same problems but smartly decided to scrub the launch and reschedule for a few days later. How can you successfully create a show that is supposed to lampoon the militarization of spaceflight when your pilot episode literally mirrors reality?
There is a reason why there arent any comedies about NASA or human spaceflight in general. (Spaceballs and the MCU movies don’t count since they aren’t reality based) Space travel is inherently dangerous. For that reason, I don’t think that people are ready for a satire of the newest military branch when so many of the jokes are political.
This show had a ton of hype when the teaser was dropped late last year. Steve Carrell and Greg Daniels got back together for the first time since The Office. For that reason, many reviews are putting Space Force up against arguably the best network comedy of the 2000’s. This isn’t exactly a fair fight. The Office has the advantage of familiarity; everyone knows what it’s like to work in an office. The jokes are relatable and therefore easier to make land. They literally had characters named Pitosi and a doppleganger of AOC play the congressional committee looking to cut Space Force funding. Like I said before, Space travel isn’t typically a joking matter so making fun of it just doesnt seem right.
Furthermore, look at the casts of the two shows. With The Office, you’ve got an ensemble of (at the time) relatively unknown actors. Space Force used the huge names in it’s cast as a marketing tool. (Carrell, John Malkovich, Ben Schwartz, Lisa Kudrow, Jane Lynch, Patrick Warburton, Jimmy O Yang and more) It’s just too much star power for this type of TV show.
To make matters worse, the second episode chose a less than optimimal plotline. **Spoiler Alert** They “gravity a fricken chimpanzee and kill off a pooch. For a show that needed every bit of help it could get, that second episode really sealed it’s fate as a bust.
As much as I hate to say it, don’t bother wasting your time with this one.
Until next time…