Space Force: The Comedy Satire for the Trump Era

Steve Carell in Space Force. Photo credit: Aaron Epstein/Netflix

Steve Carell and Greg Daniels have reteamed following The Office to bring us Space Force, a ripe comedy satire for the Trump era.

Steve Carell–playing four-star general Mark R. Naird–is the perfect guy to lead the United States Space Force.  Naird dreamed of running the United States Air Force.  Alas, those dreams were not meant to be.  So now, Mark, his wife, Maggie (Lisa Kudrow), and their daughter, Erin (Diana Silvers), leave the comfort of the nation’s capital for an abandoned NORAD site in Colorado.  The Space Force is tasked by POTUS with putting “boots on the moon” by 2024.  It’s seemingly impossible but Naird’s job is on the line.

In the trailer, Naird finds himself singing The Beach Boys’ “Kokomo” in his office.  While it may seem out of place in the trailer, it has perfect fitting when we view the first episode.  The song is also far from being the only classic song on the series’ soundtrack.  Though CCR’s “Fortunate Son” certainly feels out of place for a series that isn’t set during the Vietnam War.

Space Force
Space Force. Photo credit: Aaron Epstein/Netflix.

The large hanger that slowly opens to reveal astronauts walking through the doors.  It’s as cliche as it may come but yes, one episode contains this moment.  It just wouldn’t be a series about space without it!  There may be some other space film cliches sprinkled throughout but this was certainly the biggest.

The series, of course, isn’t going to come without having some contemporary references.  On the political side, there are clear-as-day references to Senator Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Ortez.  Though for whatever reason, the Schumer-esque character is a congressman rather than a senator.  Instead of AOC, we have AYC (Ginger Gonzaga) aka Angry Young Congresswoman.

Over the course of ten episodes, audiences are bound to have some fun.  Though at the same time, it remains unbelievable that this series was directly inspired by remarks made by the single-worst president in United States history.  He’s not seen on screen but we get a handful of scenes involving the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Fred Willard in Space Force
Fred Willard as Fred Naird in Space Force. Photo credit: Aaron Epstein/Netflix.

Nobody could have predicted that the series would mark one of Fred Willard’s television appearances.  The comedy great gives it his all in his final episodes on screen.  It’s a reminder of the talent that we lost with his passing.  May Fred Willard’s memory be a blessing.

But Willard isn’t the only Second City alumnus to grace the small screen over the course of the ten episodes.  Steve Carell and Jane Lynch are among the bigger names to come from the Chicago improv scene.  Some recent alumni, including Jamison Webb and Paul Jurewicz, make a few appearances.  Meanwhile, Aasia LaShay Bullock is one of the writers on the comedy series.  But let me say this about Jamison Webb: he may only have a handful of TV and film credits to his name but this guy is a rising star in the making.  I hope we see more of him on screen because Jamison Webb is the type of comic performer that reminds me of Dan Aykroyd.

Even if Space Force doesn’t have a second season, the first season is good enough to stand on its own merit.

CO-CREATORS:  Steve Carell and Greg Daniels
CAST:  Steve Carell, John Malkovich, Diana Silvers, Tawny Newsome, Ben Schwartz, Lisa Kudrow, Jimmy O. Yang, Noah Emmerich, Alex Sparrow, and Don Lake

Space Force launches May 29 on Netflix. Grade: 4.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.