Space Force Steve centers around Steve Carell as General Mark R. Naird, whose dreams of a leadership role in the U.S. Air Force take a detour when he’s asked to lead a new, sixth branch of the U.S. military.
The best way to describe this show is The Office meets Space Exploration. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise since Steve Carrell and Greg Daniels has both worked together before on the hit show The Office, if you’re wondering where the inspiration for the show came from you can thank Donald J. Trump for how this show came to be since this is in fact a spoof of his beloved Space Force program is essentially a workplace comedy, and Daniels and Carell collaborated on one of the best workplace comedies ever.
Episode 1: The Launch
We first meet Carell’s Gen. Mark Naird as he’s being made a four-star general; though our current president’s name is not uttered in the series’ first episode, it comes to no surprise that Trump is the commander-in-chief in the show. At Naird’s first Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting, he’s put in charge of the newly announced Space Force, the branch of the military now tasked with “complete space dominance: Boots on the moon by 2024.” Space Force’s base? An old North American Aerospace Defense Command post in Colorado — which means Gen. Naird and his wife Maggie (played by Friends‘ Lisa Kudrow) and daughter Erin (Ma‘s Diana Silvers) have to move from Washington, D.C. (Maggie is not happy about this development.)
The show flashes to a year later in Wild Horse, Colo., it’s the day of Space Force’s big satellite launch. Throughout the day, Naird repeatedly is told that conditions aren’t favorable for a successful lift-off; these warnings come from civilian advisor Dr. Adrian Mallory (The NewPope‘s John Malkovich) and scientists like Dr. Chang Kaifang (Silicon Valley‘s Jimmy O. Yang), but Naird stubbornly refuses to heed them. After taking a minute — during which Beach Boys’ “Kokomo” plays in his head — the general moves forward with the launch of Epsilon 6 anyway… and it’s successful.
Later that night, Naird and Mallory celebrate with drinks and cigars on the porch. And when Naird is gazing at Epsilon 6 through a telescope, he watches as another, bigger craft swings by and clips the satellite’s solar panels. “Motherf–ker!” Naird yells.
Along the way, we learn that Maggie is in jail in Colorado (though we don’t know why) and Erin is dating Bobby, aka Yuri, the Russian exchange scientist (who’s definitely a spy) working with Naird. The series’ all-star cast also includes: Noah Emmerich (The Americans), Jane Lynch (Glee), Diedrich Bader (American Housewife), Dan Bakkedahl (Veep), Jessica St. Clair (Playing House), Roy Wood Jr. (The Daily Show), Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) and the late Fred Willard (Modern Family) in his final role as Naird’s father.
The positives for me that worked in this episode was the was how great Steve plays Naird, because he really thinks that he’s one of the best generals there is for the job when it comes down to the Space Force program. Even though he doesn’t have a clue at what he’s doing and even his own superiors second guess him and doesn’t have any faith in him to the point where they cut the launch pads launch buttons so that Naird doesn’t have control over the button. Another thing that’s amusing is the chemistry between John Malkovich and Steve just lands very well for me, because of their comedic timing to where they can bounce off of each other and not to mention Malkovich’s character also gives you a balance of him being serious to where he wants to help Naird. I also think that Jimmy O. Yang who plays Dr. Chang also does a great job as well with bringing his comedic chops into in the show along with being serious. I also want to add with Steve singing and dancing to Kokomo by The Beach Boys, because he’s nervous about the launch and doesn’t know if he should launch the shuttle or not is one of my other favorite moments in this episode.
Negatives: If you’re looking to laugh out loud all the way through this pilot episode I have some bad news for you, because you might find this episode kind of slow getting into it, because of the introductions to the characters and placing them where they need to be. But don’t forget this is a 10 episode show and not a two and half hour movie where everything is flushed out at one time, and all though comedy is the most subjective genre out there because not everyone’s humor is the same as everyone else’s and might cause people not to watch this show. But I assure you stick with Space Force it’s a lot of fun and it’s only 30:00 mins an episode.