In the new Netflix original, “Space Force,” an all-star cast comes together to poke fun at the newest branch of the United States military. Created by Steve Carrell and Greg Daniels, the series follows the many struggles of a new Space Force general, Mark Naird (Steve Carrell), as he is ordered to conquer the realm of space. The comedy series parodies numerous political leaders and satirically remarks on issues such as gender roles, gun laws and social injustices. While this show is comedic and lighthearted, the underlying premise is alarmingly realistic. Here are five reasons why “Space Force” is a must-see:
1. The star-studded cast is remarkably funny and talented
The cast of “Space Force” consists of numerous actors who are well-versed in the art of comedy. The crew of Space Force is decked out with actors like John Malkovich as Dr. Adrian Mallory, Ben Schwartz as F. Tony Scarapiducci, Tawny Newsome playing Captain Angela Ali, Noah Emmerich as General Grabaston and Jane Lynch as the chief of naval operations. The family of General Mark Naird also features some familiar faces like Lisa Kudrow, playing his convict wife, and Diana Silvers as his daughter, Erin Naird. This famous team provides the series with quotable one-liners and humorous content.
2. The sub-plots make the series even more interesting
When General Naird becomes the leader of a proposed addition to the military, he is tasked with launching “boots on the moon by 2024” and setting up a habitable location in space. However, there are other issues he faces that make this series humble and relatable. General Naird must work on his relationship with his daughter, Erin, who is a cynical teenager being raised as an army brat. Typical teenage defiance wreaks havoc on their household, and General Naird must find time to bond with his daughter and rebuild their connection.
The moments between the pair feel genuine and capture the lifelike, heartfelt conversations between a neglected teen and her father. While working on his relationships at home, General Naird must also dodge his indignant counterpart, General Kick Grabaston, head of the Air Force. When the position to lead a new branch of the military is offered to Naird instead of Grabaston, animosity festers. General Grabaston is undoubtedly resentful and uses every opportunity to intimidate Naird into giving up his position. These complicated sub-plots keep viewers coming back to “Space Force” for more drama.
3. The blooming romances show how love can develop in the strangest places
Various pairs begin to catch feelings while working in close quarters in the Space Force training camp. While General Naird remains married to his wife Maggie, the couple agrees that for the remainder of her 40-year sentence they should commit to an open marriage. Maggie begins a lesbian romance with a prison security guard, and Naird reluctantly develops feelings for a contractor, Kelly King (played by Jessica St. Clair). Another surprising romance begins to form between Captain Ali, an astronaut on the space mission, and scientist Dr. Chan Kaifang (Jimmy O. Yang). Their relationship begins when Dr. Chan takes Captain Ali to the eye doctor, which turns into flirty teasing and bonding over anime, music and work.
One fling that was revealed unexpectedly was between Dr. Adrian Mallory and a sculptor sent on the space mission, Jerome (Michael Hitchcock). When an encrypted file is sent from Dr. Mallory’s computer and he is suspected of leaking information, the other members of the team open the file to find Dr. Mallory singing a personal love ballad to Jerome for his birthday. This match-up is surprisingly endearing and keeps viewers interested in the outcome of this duo in Season 2.
4. The political satire in “Space Force” is both hilarious and true
While this series comes years after the initial launch of the Space Force branch, the political satire rings true. In an opening scene, a member of the president’s cabinet begins a meeting with the brigade by announcing that POTUS would be tweeting his announcement soon. This quip, among other funny one-liners, mocks the real-life Twitter-crazed Donald Trump. Other political figures are also mimicked, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, parodied by an outspoken Latina, Anabela Ysidro-Campos (Ginger Gonzaga), and former communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, who is satirized by F. Tony Scarapiducci, a nosy, drama-hungry social media manager for Space Force.
Further, the series subtly remarks on the United States’ competition with world superpowers Russia and China. When information is suspected to have been leaked, the Russian members of Space Force face scrutiny, but are not convicted, reminiscent of the alleged hacking by Russia in the 2016 election. While Russian spies are mentioned briefly in “Space Force,” the primary nemesis that the team must work against is China. The Chinese astronauts constantly find ways to one-up the U.S. crew and infuriate POTUS. While the president instructs General Naird and his team to wage war on the Chinese camp, Naird must find ways to enact justice while keeping his astronauts safe.
5. “Space Force” mirrors a future we could all potentially face
While this series seems comedic and far-fetched, the show is inspired by Donald Trump’s declaration to launch his own brigade of astronauts under the same name: Space Force. This announcement from President Trump in August of 2018 detailed the mechanics of how a military team would be sent to patrol outer space. In his speech, Trump mentions various threats that could occur in space: missile threats, satellites intercepting information from the United States and the looming possibility of being technologically surpassed by other countries. These issues are humorously addressed in “Space Force.”
While watching the series, it may seem far-fetched to think of warfare occurring in space between the U.S. and other superpowers; however, it could be very plausible. General Naird, under the orders of the president, must navigate his extreme requests and deescalate situations. Steve Carrell perfectly plays the role of a general conflicted by wanting to serve his country and maintain peace in outer space.
Ultimately, the new “Space Force” series is a truthful, comedic representation of what could come from the newest branch of the U.S. military. With Steve Carrell’s acting and creative input, it is easy to fall in love with the show. While it is up in the air when the cast will start filming again, here’s to hoping that Season 2 will be just as good as the first.