Carell stars General Mark Naird, who is tasked with establishing Space Force - a new branch of the US Armed Forces. The branch’s mission is defined as getting "boots on the moon", and as part of it General Naird is paired with a scientist called Dr. Mallory (John Malkovich is his lamest role ever). The conflict between the military man and the civilian fuels some rocket fire, but no comic fire, which is still more than can be said about General Naird's other meaningful relationship –
that of him and Maggie (Lisa Kudrow), his wife who's in prison – why, we don’t know (meaning, we don’t know what exactly she did to get jailed, and also it's unclear why anybody thought it had comedic value). The General is left to single-handedly take care of his daughter Erin (Diana Silver, Booksmart), who is at least an actress that one doesn't expect to be funny, so it’s half-ok that she’s certainly not.
A weird stylistic decision bothered me from the first episode: the show has a sleek, cold, produced look. It’s not just dramatically different from The Office’s mocumentary style, the show which American version was created by Daniels (and where Carell played an unforgettable role); the clean, static vibe of Space Force’s headquarters dilutes the little humor that the script does give.
The Office was funny and cruel, but it had a heart. That heart was the relationship between Jim and Pam, characters we loved to love and that perfectly countered boss Micahel and office weirdo Dwight - two characters we hated and cringed from, respectively. Space Force made an interesting attempt to make General Mark all of these things together – he’s old-fashioned, he’s aggressive, he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but hey, he’s a loyal spouse and he loves his daughter so much – but instead of a round character, the general remains a blurry stain.
We don’t understand him or know what is his deal is, and in the absence of defined comical structures, nothing else works. With Space Force being a very hero-centric show, this failure in itself is a death blow.
To be clear, I've seen worst things. A show that doesn't work too hard to make you laugh is at least not annoying, which is already one accomplishment. But between the utterly wasted cast and the inaptitude to produce a smile, Space Force is just a huge disappointment.