WRITTEN BY ARSH VOHRA
Symposia : 7.3/10
IMDb : 6.8/10
Rotten tomatoes : 39%
“Space Force” is one of Netflix’s latest and most anticipated shows created by Greg Daniels. The show follows four star general Mark Naird (Steve Carell) who is put in charge of the newest branch of the US Military, the Space Force. Season one of the show has 10 episodes, each episode being approximately 35 minutes long. While the critics didn’t love it, I don’t think it deserved the low ratings it got. Continue reading to see what I think it did well and what could be improved.
Mark Naird (Steve Carell) and Dr. Adrian Mallory (John Malkovich) are the best part of “Space Force”. Both of their characters grow immensely over the course of the show. At first I was sceptical of how Mark Naird could evolve as a character, but the writers and Steve Carell are able to bring out the trauma that Naird went through as a soldier and the audience can sympathize with his character, especially during episode 4 of the show. Mallory is the complete opposite of Naird and the friction between these characters makes for some great comedy. John Malkovich’s portrayal of Mallory is exceptional in specifically episode 6 and you can’t help but love his sarcastic comments. The relationship between the both of them (how they change together) is done extremely well and by the end of the season you end up rooting for the both of them.
The cast of the show is quite diverse (many side characters are people of colour but the main cast is predominantly white) and Tawny Newsome does a great job portraying Angela Ali. Racism is an underlying theme which is explored in the show which in my opinion has been done remarkably. There isn’t an overly dramatic monologue or intervention in the show about how racism is terrible, instead it’s discussed subtly during conversations between characters bringing out the racist comments that people of colour go through everyday. The show also breaks many stereotypes associated with women, men and people of colour skilfully. In addition, ‘Space Force’ makes relevant social commentary on the current US government, especially in Episode 3.
The plot of the show is absurd but it works well with the way it's written and portrayed on screen. The private life of Naird (especially the complications in his marriage) is a highlight of the show. Episodes 3, 4 and 8 were my favourites. I think that episode 7 was unneeded as it didn’t add anything important to the overarching story and wasn’t as interesting compared to the rest of the show.
The ending was the lowest point of the show. There were multiple loose threads that were left hanging and plot points which were never explained. They will most probably be explained in the second season of the show but episode 10 didn’t feel like the season finale. I can understand why Netflix chose to leave the season on a huge cliffhanger as it was destined to get another season no matter the critics' opinions. However I didn’t think it was a good decision because there was no pay off to the extensive build up in the previous episodes. Furthermore the subplot following Mark Naird’s daughter Erin Naird (Diana Silvers) was poorly executed. I didn’t feel connected to her character and her ‘adventure’ in episode 10 was unnecessary.
The biggest flaw of the show arguably is the fact that it comes from the creators of The Office. There is no doubt that The Office has a huge fandom who were all extremely excited when Steve Carell and Greg Daniels would be teaming up again. This led to the inevitable comparison between ‘Space Force’ and ‘The Office’. Simply put they are not the same . If you are planning to watch this show as a fan of ‘The Office’, you will probably enjoy this show much more if you look at the show as a separate endeavour.
'Space Force' is an entertaining show with well written characters, great acting and an interesting plot. Despite some of its flaws, it is able to have a compelling narrative, discuss the internal fears of Naird, explore socially relevant themes and issues. If you want a show which is funny, but still has some depth to it and is bingible, then this won’t disappoint.