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Taear
Nov 26, 2004

Ask me about the shitty opinions I have about Paradox games!




Space Force is a new show from Steve Carrell and Greg Daniels (co-writer/creator of the US Office). Steve Carrell is the main star and it's a riff on Donald Trump's space force concept.
Carrell has just been promoted to four star general, been sent to Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado and told that within 4 years America needs boots on the moon.

It's a comedy to a degree and you can see that Netflix has spent absolutely loads of money on it. It's got John Malkovich, Lisa Kudrow and Ben Shwartz alongside Steve as well as Fred Willard's final ever role. Tawny Newsome and Jimmy Yang are both good too although they're not famous to me I think they're standups in the US. The performances are all good and even though the start of the show is weak they carry it as far as I'm concerned.
I'd say Fred Willard is totally pointless and it's a shame this is his final role honestly, but it's nice to see him I guess.

Normally I'd put a character breakdown here but it's actually a spoiler and I'd say part of the fun of the show is learning who everyone is, why they're there and what they're like.

All 10 episodes are up and watching it feels a little bit like the Thick of It, or weirdly like Disenchanted. It's not your typical joke-joke-joke model that most american sitcoms follow which I quite like and there's a lot of seriousness in there which I didn't expect. It takes some time to get going but by episode 8/9 I did find myself genuinely enjoying it. The first few episodes are a bit confused where it's occasionally really silly and it sort of goes against the serious tone of some bits of the same episode.
Rotten tomatoes has given it a mid 30 but it's on about 7.5 on IMDB. I feel like it's not a show you'd like as a critic only because the first few episodes are so weak.

I'm thinking Steve Carrell wants it to be a Dramedy and that's fine with me. Every episode has one standout bit that has stuck with me and I think that's what got me through the first few episodes honestly.

Taear fucked around with this message at 08:53 on May 31, 2020

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DeathbyOtis
Mar 1, 2009


Watched the first few episodes and it's hilarious. It's pretty dry, so it might not be for everbody. Style wise it's similar to Veep, but they let the scenes breathe a little bit more.

Thundercracker
Jun 25, 2004

Proudly serving the Ruinous Powers since as a veteran of the long war.


College Slice

I'm glad I gave it the 3 episode test cuz I hated most of the supporting cast in the beginning but like The Office/PandR they start to gel at the end.

Brad especially was amazing by the end. "Good God, no wonder my dogs are afraid of you".

I definitely recommend just bearing this one out. First few eps are rocky but you get some gems.

The daughter's whole deal is incredibly tonally inconsistent though. It's like shoving a realistic portrayal of neglect in with wacky highjinks

itry
Aug 23, 2019






It's pretty dry, alright. I like it though.

I'm two episodes in. The second one is something alright (that poor dog ).

Edit: I wouldn't call it a sitcom. So if that's what you're expecting you'll probably be disappointed.

itry fucked around with this message at 18:42 on May 31, 2020

Taear
Nov 26, 2004

Ask me about the shitty opinions I have about Paradox games!


Netflix pitching it as a sitcom is a bit weird to me. I understand why it's got such a bad rotten tomatoes score.
It's really weird that episodes 1-3 don't have names but the others all do, I wonder if 1-3 were intended as a single long episode maybe?

Thundercracker posted:

The daughter's whole deal is incredibly tonally inconsistent though. It's like shoving a realistic portrayal of neglect in with wacky highjinks

Like I said in the OP I kinda think the whole show suffers for this. I'm wondering if it's a similar situation to The Orville where the producers wanted more jokes?

Endymion FRS MK1
Oct 28, 2011



I enjoyed it. Definitely liked it more when the wackiness was toned down and it was treated less as a comedy and more of humorous drama. Completely lost it at Angela's line in the last (second to last?) episode followed by the subsequent "goddamnit"

Grem
Mar 29, 2004

It's how her species communicates!

Man, I did not like this at all, and I really did. Brad was probably the best bit but drat that took a while. Space Force's ineptness was good, but got so little focus I wonder if this show didn't have another title. The Trump jokes got old after a while, like, I get it the president is Trump, he's stupid, by the third or fourth time in an episode they seem reeeaaally shoehorned in. The plot didn't really connect through some episodes which makes me think it was filmed in a different order.

And lol at dude leaving his daughter at the prison and then it's never mentioned again, even in her "you don't have time for me" monologue

Shrimpy
May 18, 2004

Sir, I'm going to need to see your ticket.


Halfway through and, while enjoying it enough, Steve Carrell's put-on military voice is awful.

It gives his whole character a weird improv vibe.

Jerkface
May 21, 2001

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE DEAD, MOTHERFUCKER?

Fallen Rib

This show has potential but as it stands is just "decent to middling". Without spoilers I'd say that there is some funny stuff but it tries to be way too "inspirational" or serious at times when it should be viciously dragging the entire concept of space force through the dirt like it deserves. There are the bones of a good show but its gonna need to find its footing quickly in season 2 to be worth watching IMO. They 100% need to go into the stupider direction though.

Now some full season spoilers:


The Good
-The supporting cast is good, especially the collection of generals and the random dumbasses at space force.
-There are some solid visual gags like the satellite getting dismantled by a giant chinese space ship or the power armor being so much better for the army, and chimpstronaut which may be the funniest gag in the entire show
-It not being on network TV means they can say the F word which makes some things funnier just through the power of cursing
-They get a bunch of digs into Trump which are like a little better than lukewarm
-FLOTUS uniform bit is good
-Ben Schwarz/Brad/Newsome/and the Generals get to be funny

The Bad
-Any time this show tries to be a serious drama. The inherent concept of SPACE FORCE is so ludicrous (as it should be) that treating anything or anyone within its sphere of influence as deserving of drama or introspection is insane. I don't care about General Naird's open marriage or daughter troubles.
-This is exacerbated by them picking incredibly weird poo poo to go nuclear on and then they just kind of drop. Naird outs Malkovich's DR character as a homosexual and his specific crush by playing a secret video in front of everyone on their dumb nasa command center screen and its just viciously cruel but nothing ever really comes from it.
-One of Naird's bits is he sings to relax and its awful
-They have an AOC analog and before the show aired I said they better make her 100% right every time she opens her mouth or else this shows politics are garbage and instead they use her to let Naird give a big dumb inspirational speech that shuts everyone up at a budget hearing. STUPID.
-They go in on trump but never mention his name (just "POTUS") or showing him, which is of course cowardly.
-The daughter character is really mean to everyone but then we're supposed to find her plight sympathetic, no thanks, maybe don't have a really mean daughter NAIRD.
-The wife goes to prison for life as a bit but they never say what she did, and I don't know if thats a bit or theyre just leaving it for some future drama mining. Dislike
-Yang is playing a real character, not a weirdo like in SV, but a lot of is just an excuse to have someone the white characters can be racist too. I hope they give him more to do.
-They don't run the military industrial complex / our current adminstration through the wringer like they should and could and this goes back to the point that they treat this org with more legitimacy than it deserves


To sum it up if you only have time to watch 1 show, make it Avenue 5 or anything else by Iannucci instead of this because its going to be a way better satire and smarter about its politics.

Taear
Nov 26, 2004

Ask me about the shitty opinions I have about Paradox games!


Jerkface posted:

To sum it up if you only have time to watch 1 show, make it Avenue 5 or anything else by Iannucci instead of this because its going to be a way better satire and smarter about its politics.

Man I'm going to say that my opinion (other than the AOC bit, absolutely agree there) is the entire opposite of yours. I'd way prefer for them to lean into the dramedy side of it and try and get away from the comedy. Like I mentioned in the OP it's kinda like the Thick of It (or Veep) but I don't like Iannucci's output since he went to the US and became a raging centrist melt.

I really liked steve carrell's singing bits and I also feel like him outing Malkovich was played as a 'what a loving prick for doing this' side, although I don't think that was them finding out Malkovich was gay, just that he liked the sculptor.

I will say that (final episode spoilers) Them just finding Erin in the desert felt weird. I could buy that Steve Carrell can trace her mobile but how did Lisa Kudrow find her? Just came across a bit weird compared to the way the rest of it was played. Really shocked it ended on a cliffhanger as well honestly.

I actually like they're going with the idea of Space Force being good because while I think the way it's done by Trump is bad the concept of being in space is good to me and the fact that they're playing it as "The betterment of mankind" I'm down with too. Just not the parts about them paying 10k for an orange.

Jerkface
May 21, 2001

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE DEAD, MOTHERFUCKER?

Fallen Rib

Taear posted:


I actually like they're going with the idea of Space Force being good because while I think the way it's done by Trump is bad the concept of being in space is good to me and the fact that they're playing it as "The betterment of mankind" I'm down with too. Just not the parts about them paying 10k for an orange.

space force is not a good concept it's a military space branch. NASA already exists and is inspirational. that's why I have a problem with treating sf as legit IMO

RestingB1tchFace
Jul 3, 2016


Decent show. I expected more considering the amount of talented people involved.

Baudolino
Apr 1, 2010

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I liked it. But i almost wonder if this was pentagon approved? This version of space force seems way more competent and better resourced then the real thing could ever be. The punches they throw at the military are pretty weak. There are a few bad eggs and a culture of pointless escalation but mostly everyone is suprisingly great at their job and at it turns out in the plot that having military capability in space migth just be necessary. Space force were pulling stunts that NASA could never do (with its current funding within 10 years) at the end. Naird`s family drama felt a bit flat.


A solid 7/10 from me. Looking forward to season 2.

Taear
Nov 26, 2004

Ask me about the shitty opinions I have about Paradox games!


Jerkface posted:

space force is not a good concept it's a military space branch. NASA already exists and is inspirational. that's why I have a problem with treating sf as legit IMO

I think because I'm not an American I'm alright with them doing it this way - because having it be based around NASA seems too big whereas Space Force can just be whatever the gently caress you want because it's basically nonsense.
If that makes sense.

Jerkface
May 21, 2001

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE DEAD, MOTHERFUCKER?

Fallen Rib

Taear posted:

I think because I'm not an American I'm alright with them doing it this way - because having it be based around NASA seems too big whereas Space Force can just be whatever the gently caress you want because it's basically nonsense.
If that makes sense.

Yea if you don't have any personal political stakes in SF I can see how you can just enjoy it as its own concept. Just feels that for an american made show about a specific american embarrassment that it could be a bit more toothsome.

I also forgot this in my list above but throw this on the "bad" column: red baiting this with the chinese being major antagonists.

Will be very curious where they go in S2 given the cliff hanger.

Milo and POTUS
Sep 3, 2017

I will not shut up about the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I talk about them all the time and work them into every conversation I have. I built a shrine in my room for the yellow one who died because sadly no one noticed because she died around 9/11. Wanna see it?


I'm not going to watch this but damned if Carrel in that OP doesn't just look the part of High ranking air force. Yeah yeah yeah, "space force", whatever who gives a gently caress. Looks like he's going to tabernacle right after he leaves.

Khanstant
Apr 5, 2007

HONKING IS VIOLENCE


This has so many hilarious people but I guess almost none of them are also writing it, it has no teeth, an episode of The Good Witch has more biting commentary than these. Also, what a horrible time for it to come out. People getting shot in the streets while the president tries his best to violate the first amendment plus also the last 4 years every day just make so much of this show feel really distasteful. It's all sweetened and swept under the rug and winked at.

There's this uncomfortable blend of like, an earnest-Colbert-Report-Colbert mixed with a conservative Michael Scott in a military blender. He's also doing this gruff voice, which maybe could work for an animated movie role or something but seeing him do it just feels silly. There's an episode where they go "psychological" and try and give him these repressed whatever from his "experiences" and yikes it didn't work and felt weird.

When they're sitting before a congressional hearing and fake AOC gets that smug shut down by some absurd conservative talking point of "useful satellite, therefore what if they attack it - we need space weapons?" is starts to feel like some redditor's "everybody clapped" story posted to a conservative subreddit.

Fundamentally the setting for this show as a "workplace comedy" reminds me of the grossness of Brooklyn 99. Like, poo poo, tons of funny people and funny writing but it's always within this infuriating context that paints over the problems with loveable interpersonal drama and quirks or whatever. It's always this conflict between "ahahaha funny" and "gently caress these goddamn pigs." This is worse than cops I think, though, since it's a much larger scope horrorfest they're putting a funny face on.

Huge waste of talent and effort here, they tried too hard while not letting themselves say anything. There's not even that much reason to have it be set in Space Force they probe so shallowly into it, I guess some of their weird chimp cgi slapstick jokes would be harder to pull off on Earth?

Kung Food
Dec 11, 2006

PORN WIZARD

I'm just glad to see media wise to the fact that chimps are hellish nightmare creatures, and not cuddly, furry children.

Taear
Nov 26, 2004

Ask me about the shitty opinions I have about Paradox games!


Jerkface posted:

I also forgot this in my list above but throw this on the "bad" column: red baiting this with the chinese being major antagonists.

Will be very curious where they go in S2 given the cliff hanger.

I kinda feel like the show is saying it's stupid for them to be antagonists though.
But at the same time, the chinese in the show are clowning on the USA all the time. And I mean that literally, every time it's just some tiny thing, a way for them to say "America isn't the only power and isn't all important"

It's good and not something you see in American stuff a lot, I always feel like americans are obsessed with decorum and the perception of their country so to see the chinese run over the American flag and Steve Carrell/Tawny Newsome still not want to attack them is great.

Taear fucked around with this message at 19:05 on Jun 1, 2020

Khanstant
Apr 5, 2007

HONKING IS VIOLENCE


Kung Food posted:

I'm just glad to see media wise to the fact that chimps are hellish nightmare creatures, and not cuddly, furry children.

When they brought in the animalstronauts I was really curious where they were going to go with it. When it became a deal of the space animals dying, and the Chimp drifting off I knew they'd need to find someway to make it "okay." The one-two route they took with it is actually an arc I'm interested in. I just hope the chimp defects ccp for real and they don't try to reheroize him later if he sabotagues the chinese.

cant cook creole bream
Aug 15, 2011
I think Fahrenheit is better for weather

I enjoyed how blatantly obvious Juri was in his approach. The unnamed, unspecified POTUS was the only one who fell for it. Even the general's daughter seemed to know, but didn't really care/ wanted to provoke her dad.
"Your dad seems kind of emotional sometimes. Maybe he needs a pet. By the way, what was the name of his first pet?"

AlternateNu
May 5, 2005


I just watched the first episode. I am immediately bummed that the show isn't just the Joint Chiefs round table for 10 episodes because that was a loving slam dunk set of actors to waste on apparent quickshot cameos.

Also, ending it with Kokomo was extra funny coming straight from the latest episode of What We Do in the Shadows.

Small White Dragon
Nov 23, 2007

No relation.

The ending to the first episode, with the obviously superior Chinese satellite loving over the US 's satellite is just great.

AlternateNu
May 5, 2005


Ep 2 fell completely flat for me.

Like, hard enough that even with the bonus points from my military background, that I'm about to drop it. Does it get better? Or is ep 2 a good gauge on how the rest of the show plays out?

Pedro De Heredia
May 30, 2006


Taear posted:

It's not your typical joke-joke-joke model that most american sitcoms follow which I quite like and there's a lot of seriousness in there which I didn't expect.

This show has a revolutionary model of "no jokes of any kind".

Pedro De Heredia
May 30, 2006


I really don't like the aesthetics of the show. It heavily contributes to the jokes not landing.

Bioshuffle
Feb 10, 2011

I HAD ANOTHER RED TEXT THAT DIDN'T ACCURATELY DESCRIBE JUST HOW DUMB I WAS

IGNORE ME

STOP REPLYING ME, DO NOT ENGAGE ME

I HAVE DUMB OPINIONS AND LOVE A RACIST ORANGE BABY


All the anti-Chinese jokes felt really tone-deaf and out of touch, especially at a time when Asian Americans are facing a huge backlash as a whole. I've never found myself actively wishing for a show to be cancelled, but I guess there's a first time for everything. Outing one of the main characters in a publicly humiliating way made me feel like I was back in the days when shows dropped homophobic slurs as a punch line.

Sleeveless
Dec 25, 2014

I AM TRULY ONE OF THE WORST POSTERS ON THIS SITE. LOOK UPON THIS GUY MANN REREG AND DESPAIR.


Baudolino posted:

I liked it. But i almost wonder if this was pentagon approved? This version of space force seems way more competent and better resourced then the real thing could ever be. The punches they throw at the military are pretty weak. There are a few bad eggs and a culture of pointless escalation but mostly everyone is suprisingly great at their job and at it turns out in the plot that having military capability in space migth just be necessary. Space force were pulling stunts that NASA could never do (with its current funding within 10 years) at the end.

Netflix is where Obama is putting out his documentaries so if nothing else that level of coziness with the establishment doesn't lend itself to actually being critical in any meaningful capacity. This had the self control/cowardice to not actually have a parody of the president himself in it but this is absolutely going to join the morass of limp unfunny American political satire like American Dreamz or Bulworth.

TheOmegaWalrus
Feb 3, 2007


I was really looking forward to this, but the Netflix formula is becoming threadbare and tired.

That's really sad to read about, we could really use a laugh collectively right about now.

Alternatively, Avenue Five is an absolute blast of a little show. Similar premises, but the writing in A5 is tight as a drum and done by the guy who did The Thick of it and Veep.

Thundercracker
Jun 25, 2004

Proudly serving the Ruinous Powers since as a veteran of the long war.


College Slice

Jerkface posted:

Yea if you don't have any personal political stakes in SF I can see how you can just enjoy it as its own concept. Just feels that for an american made show about a specific american embarrassment that it could be a bit more toothsome.

I also forgot this in my list above but throw this on the "bad" column: red baiting this with the chinese being major antagonists.

Will be very curious where they go in S2 given the cliff hanger.

I don't think the show is very smart so I'd bet money that at least a quarter of season 2 is about the American and Chinese space forces learning to cooperate to save their asses

I think the show is at its best when it's focused on its main premise of space forcing. When it tries to mock real politicians or celebrities of try to inject maudlin plotlines it just falls completely flat.

Same for the romance B plots. No one had any chemistry with anyone else except maybe Jimmy O Yang and that Major Ali character. Hell, even Lisa Kudrow was completely wasted.

Avenue 5 was better simply by virtue of knowing exactly what it is.

Doltos
Dec 28, 2005


Show's boring, unfunny, and depressing. I'm not even sure if it's supposed to be a dark comedy or a drama or what, it's just boring.

SLICK GOKU BABY
Jun 12, 2001

A Little Known FACT: Burger King's Bacon King is superior to the Baconator.


AlternateNu posted:

Ep 2 fell completely flat for me.

Like, hard enough that even with the bonus points from my military background, that I'm about to drop it. Does it get better? Or is ep 2 a good gauge on how the rest of the show plays out?

Episode 2 is terrible (I still haven't watched past it myself...). Like why in the world would you put a loving bottle episode in the 2nd episode of the series?

I could see Space Force being funded by the Pentagon / Space Force. Even though there's some stuff written to be jokes in the episode, none of it (in the 1st 2 episodes) has really been directed at the Space Force, it's all Steve Carrell just not understanding anything and being dumb.

Fellatio del Toro
Mar 21, 2009




Grimey Drawer

a few decent laughs, but the writing is weak and the show is being carried almost entirely by the cast

really great time to put out a show with constant references to real world politics with literally nothing to say about any of it

Fellatio del Toro
Mar 21, 2009




Grimey Drawer

also the first ep has a recurring gag of someone always being in his office when he walks in and then ends with him walking into his office and doing a really cringey song and dance routine and I couldn't tell if the writers are dumb or if it was meant to be some sort of antijoke that they just left chekhov's gun on the mantle for that one

SLICK GOKU BABY
Jun 12, 2001

A Little Known FACT: Burger King's Bacon King is superior to the Baconator.


Fellatio del Toro posted:

also the first ep has a recurring gag of someone always being in his office when he walks in and then ends with him walking into his office and doing a really cringey song and dance routine and I couldn't tell if the writers are dumb or if it was meant to be some sort of antijoke that they just left chekhov's gun on the mantle for that one

Yea it was pretty odd. Like how did nobody in any screenings go like, "Why is there not someone in his office after this?"

Seems pretty basic, the 1 running joke to have a climax at the end.

Saucy_Rodent
Oct 24, 2018


Yes, this show is weirdly toothless. I can't tell what the central joke is. That sending the military into space is extravagantly wasteful? No, the show seems to think that's normal and fine. That the American military, the most powerful force of violence and destruction in the world, is run by incompetent boobs? No, Naird always pulls through when it counts.

Much of the cast does their best, and it is certainly watchable, but boy is Carrell's performance terrible. What's with the weird gruff voice that he can't emote through? Can't he just have a regular speaking voice, it's not like every four star general has lived a life made up of only smoking and yelling.

I liked episode two, because for the duration of the "walk a monkey through fixing a spaceship" sequence, the show almost seemed like it had something to say. Sigh...

Doltos
Dec 28, 2005


Yea they refer to a fictional potus and flotus for some reason. I skipped right past the stupid Kokomo scene which went on for too long and had no point. The whole episode two with a CGI chimp doing completely unrealistic poo poo setting the viewers up to assume the chimp is going to drift in space for a week before asphyxiating is just weird. They also kill a dog for no reason. It's like the writers are putting together a formula to make a show as unlikable as possible.

Doctor Jeep
Dec 30, 2008

harder better
faster stronger


Painfully unfunny. Do not watch.

Lemony
Jul 27, 2010

Now With Fresh Citrus Scent!


I would rate it as a solid middle of the road Netflix show, which is a problem when there is so much good content you could be watching. Some of the jokes are really solid, but there are just as many whiffs. The sometimes odd pacing isn't helping anything either. As said, that Kokomo scene in the first episode is way too long. Similarly, the outing video just keeps going and going, long past the joke being dead. Clearly aiming for a Mel Brooks farting cowboy sequence, but without being funny.

Thinking on it, I feel my bigger issue is that it can't decide what tone it wants to hit. You have your wacky stupid military industrial complex shenanigans, but then the show flips right around to aiming for serious drama government stuff. If the whole show had basically been Pentagon Wars/Down Periscope, except making fun of Space Force, I think it would be better. You could even keep the main character as the straight man if you wanted to make him the "good" guy.

That said, the overly obvious Russian spy was funny. So was the flaccid dick satellite encounter at the end of the first episode. Also liked the other generals dumping on the Coast Guard. My favourite low key joke was the missing person poster at the gas station near the end, for the guy Naird kidnapped and stuffed in his trunk. Guess they forgot to let him out when they released the social media guy.

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Khanstant
Apr 5, 2007

HONKING IS VIOLENCE


TheOmegaWalrus posted:

I was really looking forward to this, but the Netflix formula is becoming threadbare and tired.

What do you mean by Netflix formula? Seems like a bunch of dispirate projects with varyting degrees of quality and success?

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