Space Force review: A tonally uneven series that fails to launch

Space Force review: Netflix’s latest comedy is too uneven to achieve liftoff.

Unfortunately for those of you who might be big fans of Netflix’s new Steve Carrell comedy, Space Force, this particular Space Force review isn’t a positive one. I was looking forward to the new show, which sees Carrell play a Michael Scott-esque character named General Mark Naird.

Naird is put in charge of a newly established military branch called the Space Force, much to his chagrin. Having thought he would ascend the ranks to take control of the Air Force, he feels let down and then determined to make the best of his new situation.

It sounds like Space Force should be yet another hilarious workplace comedy, but unfortunately, the writing leaves a lot to be desired. The acting is excellent, which isn’t surprising considering the all-star cast assembled by the streaming service. You can tell the cast is enjoying themselves.

Not only does Carrell star, but he’s joined by John Malkovich, Lisa Kudrow, Jane Lynch, and several other popular and familiar faces from the comedy world. I wanted to like Space Force. However, the first episode downright bored me.

Space Force review: The series doesn’t know what kind of show it wants to be

After that, I was reluctant to keep going, but it did improve within the next episode, only to dip in quality yet again after that. That is a recurring theme with the first season that is tonally uneven and a little unsure of what kind of series it wants to be.

Beyond the central storyline of Naird trying to figure out how to make the Space Force successful while refusing to listen to any of the scientists around him (sound familiar?).

There are also some side plots revolving around Naird’s home life, including his daughter Erin (played by Diana Silvers) and his wife Maggie (Lisa Kudrow).

Sadly, none of it is particularly impressive.

For those who wanted to watch a sharp political satire, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Every time Space Force gets close to making a good point or a particularly smart jab at our current government administration, it veers the opposite direction.

As the person writing the Space Force review Vulture pointed out, the series can never highlight the ridiculousness that “actually happens on a regular basis.”

Space Force review

Photo: SPACE FORCE – Season 1 – Courtesy of Aaron Epstein/Netflix

There will be fans who like the show because it doesn’t get too into the nitty-gritty of politics. Still, the problem with that is the independent Space Force was created by Trump, and the military is so drenched in American culture and history that it is very hard to make a series that doesn’t get into it one way or another. It seems misleading to not mention his name at all.

Space Force doesn’t really know what to do with its mercurial origins or the backlash that followed it, so it just doesn’t deal with it at all, or at least very sparingly, in a way that leaves no one satisfied. It’s toothless.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some good jokes here and there, a few cutting punchlines and quirky one-liners, but they get overshadowed by low-brow humor more often than not. Panty jokes and bathroom humor have never particularly been my cup of tea.

All that said, I wouldn’t be quite as harsh on Space Force as some critics have been. There is something there that could be ironed out and strengthened if it is renewed, which it likely will be. Audiences seem to be responding to it much better than reviewers.

What do you think of Space Force? Are you hoping the series gets renewed for another season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

The first season of Space Force is now available to stream on Netflix.