Must TV knows what it’s like to feel let-down: a hyped restaurant that serves a damp squib; an open road that turns to gridlock; a fleeting flame who goes ghost… Sadly, we think there might be one more let-down to add to the list and that’s “a much-anticipated Steve Carell show on Netflix that fails to achieve lift-off.”
Space Force has, in fact, found its way into our fictional universe via a true-life plan by Donald Trump to create, er, Space Force. This is one of the problems with the show according to The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan, because how can you satirise something that is already rather bonkers? “It is not, of course, the writers’ fault that it is impossible to invent something madder than the things the incumbent has already said, but it does mean that perhaps you should look elsewhere for the source material for your comedy.” But she does rate the star turn of John Malkovich opposite Steve Carell: “they are wonderful together, even if it remains physically and constitutionally impossible for the former not to steal every scene he’s in, even from such an accomplished player as Carell.” Like the team at MustWatch, Mike Hale in The New York Times fondly recalls Carell in the US version of The Office and in Anchorman, but in Space Force “he’s too good for the material, which never takes off. The loony parts aren’t sharp enough, despite the efforts of Carell and [others].” He also regrets that Carell’s fictional wife, played by Lisa Kudrow, is woefully underused: “she’s not onscreen much, and her character is barely sketched — she’s part of a running joke that may pay off if the show gets another season.” In the Los Angeles Times Robert Lloyd thinks that “for all the talent it enlists, [it] is less a guided missile than a splattering of buckshot. Some of it hits the target. More of it goes astray.” Lloyd claims that the series “originated with Netflix pitching the title to Carell, who called [co-creator Greg] Daniels; the two worked out a story from there, and some of it does seem to have been walked in backward.”
Must TV may just drown its sorrows and return to some re-runs of The Office and Parks and Recreation, which was also co-created by Greg Daniels. In the meantime we hope that the real world Space Force remains a joke.
First shown May 2020. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.