Stream it or skip it: Space Force

With a remarkable cast of sitcom veterans, the new Netflix comedy “Space Force” is a safe bet for fun entertainment. The show premiered May 29 and was created by Greg Daniels and Steve Carrell, the same duo who masterminded “The Office.”

Four-star General Mark R. Naird, played by Carell, is disenchanted when instead of his anticipated promotion to Chief of Staff of Air Force, he becomes the Chief of Space Operations for the newly created Space Force. An apparent reference to President Trump’s Space Force, both in the show and in reality it is the sixth and newest branch of the military aiming for American space supremacy.

The show blasts forward a year, showing Naird at the new Space Force Base in Wild Horse, Colorado, working with his Chief Scientist, Dr. Adrian Mallory (John Malkovich), the team of scientists under him, his secretary Brad Gregory (Don Lake) and publicist F. Tony Scarapiducci (Ben Schwartz). Mallory is Naird’s right-hand man and the voice of reason, balancing his boss’s flawed decision-making at nearly every turn. Naird’s daughter, Erin Naird (Diana Silvers) struggles with school, relationships and decision-making while his wife Maggie Naird (Lisa Kudrow) proves to be a source of stability within the family despite being incarcerated for an unknown, grievous crime.

Carell’s tradition of playing goofy bosses continues with “Space Force” as Naird leads the Space Force to protect America’s interstellar interests. However, he is bogged down by competing countries, incompetent higher-ups and funny-yet-predictable gaffes. All the while, an unnamed POTUS dishes out orders, demanding tangible progress in ludicrous forms and meddling without restraint. The humor is present, albeit in a raw, unrefined form that draws a quick laugh, but falters over time. The show also continually jabs at the Trump Administration and lands glancing blows.

The acting, particularly from Carell, feels forced and uncomfortable. He seems unable to reproduce his natural humor as Michael Scott in “The Office,” instead creating an awkward atmosphere. Luckily, the rest of the cast picks up the slack in their generously shared screen time.

Each episode of “Space Force” wraps up mainly within itself, creating neat packages of comedy. From space animal cannibalism, inter-department hijinks and fledgling romances, “Space Force” is looking to be a high-quality, binge-able show.

There is currently only one season, so there is no obvious benchmark for comparison. However, critics online have come to compare “Space Force” with workplace comedy juggernaut “The Office,” which also featured work from Daniels and Carell. Undoubtedly, this comparison has led to a deluge of negative reviews online, despite the shows having different premises. To be truthful, it does feel difficult to imagine happy-go-lucky Michael from “The Office” as a military man. Such an environment feels too foreign for him, who is so deeply entrenched in his previous roles.

Overall, “Space Force” is a captivating show that is comforting in light of current events. While it falters with acting and execution, it is an interesting revival of the workplace comedy genre heightened by political satire if you can see past its similarities to “The Office.”