Netflix Review – Space Force: It’s Out Of This World… Okay?

Steve Carrell stars as the first commander of the US Space Force.

SUMMARY

Four-star General Mark Naird (Steve Carell) is appointed by the President to be the first head of Space Force, a newly-created branch of the military. His only directive is that he is supposed to have “boots on the moon” in the near future. With that in mind, Naird moves his family, including his daughter Erin (Diana Silvers) and his wife Maggie (Lisa Kudrow) to Colorado. A year later, Naird and his chief scientist Dr. Adrian Mallory (John Malkovich) are ready to finally start launching stuff into space, but it turns out that rocket science is… well, rocket science. Despite the usual government incompetence, Naird’s team, including Captain Angela Ali (Tawny Newsome), scientist Dr. Chan Kaifang (Jimmy O. Yang),  and his social media advisor F. Tony Scarapiducci (Ben Schwartz) needs to shoot for the moon.

My god, so much talent in this image.

END SUMMARY

I admit that I had low expectations of this show, because almost any media that is based on something topical like this is likely to be rushed. Remember that show based on the Geico cavemen? You probably don’t, because it only aired six times and the ratings on it dropped so fast that it dented the floor of the ABC building, but that WAS a thing. However, since I honestly think Steve Carrell could read the phone book in a way that would make me laugh, I gave it a shot. 

So many medals.

This show is extremely hit-and-miss. Some of the jokes and performances are laugh-out-loud funny, particularly some of the scenes with John Malkovich. However, those scenes are often punctuated with long bouts of unfunny attempts to take shots at the current state of America. I get why they wanted to do them, but that kind of humor ages poorly and really doesn’t lend itself to scripted comedy that well, outside of topical shows like SNL or late-night TV. Saying “haha, this politician we’re parodying is a dick” isn’t a joke in itself, and the show tends to just say that and then not actually come up with a real joke. The best scenes are the ones that are based around the actual difficulties related to getting people into space or about the difficulties of dealing with how insane politics can be, not the ones where you can feel the screenwriters shouting “see, we made the female representative AYC, like AOC, get it?” 

Oh look, she’s holding an orange and asking angry questions. Funny!

However, since this is Netflix, the show probably does a great job of being really easy to follow and binge while also posting on Instagram or browsing a blog weighing the merits of various taco chains. The leads are all solid, there are a few funny running gags, there’s a monkey at one point, and some of the recurring actors, like Fred Willard (R.I.P. you funny genius), Jane Lynch, Patrick Warburton, or Kaitlin Olson manage to take even some mediocre lines and turn them into solid gold because they can go all-out. 

This isn’t from the show. I just really miss Fred Willard.

Overall, I would recommend not putting it on top of your list of must-see-TV, but if you just want something in the background, it’s a good choice. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Amazon Prime Mini-Review – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Season 3)

Midge Maisel is back and her career is taking off for real.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

At the end of the last season, Midge. Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) was asked by singer Shy Baldwin (Leroy McClain) to be his opening act on tour through the US and Europe, including the USO. This proves to be a good move for her, as she starts to get exposed to larger venues in Las Vegas and Miami, but takes a massive toll on her personal life and family life. Meanwhile, Susie (Alex Borstein), her manager, is attempting to help her new client, Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch), with her dream of becoming a legitimate dramatic actress. However, Sophie’s superstar personality makes everything difficult. Abe and Rose Weissman (Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle), Midge’s parents, are dealing with losing their apartment and Abe’s career after he quit in protest during the last season. They’re forced to move in with Moishe and Shirley Maisel (Kevin Pollak and Caroline Aaron), the parents of Midge’s ex-husband Joel (Michael Zegen). Joel, meanwhile, is dealing with trying to open a nightclub over a gambling den in Chinatown.

MrsMaisel - 1USO
Feel the love.

END SUMMARY

This season is the first time that we really start to get an idea that just getting the break isn’t enough. Midge has clearly gotten her big break with Shy Baldwin, but she now has to deal with all of the work of actually having an audience and a venue and how it impacts her life. She’s chosen her career over her fiancé Benjamin (Zachary Levi) because it makes her happy, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t regret things. She also spends a lot of time questioning her decision because it makes her unable to see her kids. It’s a good demonstration of the cost of success. 

MrsMaisel - 2Miami
Like dealing with Floridians. High cost of fame.

We also see Susie dealing with being successful for the first time in her life, managing to beg, borrow, threaten, and lie her client Sophie into a role as a lead on a highly-anticipated Broadway play. It’s made all the more frustrating because Sophie, who usually just plays the same comic character in her act, cannot bring herself to work well with others at first. I have to give credit to Borstein and Lynch, because their interplay is a damned-near-perfect representation of a person trying to direct a big personality who is used to getting their way. Having dealt with those in a number of capacities, watching Susie clearly suppress the reasonable urge to punch someone who is trying to ruin their own life was spot-on.

MrsMaisel - 3Sophie.jpg
It’s horrifying to watch rich people fail and realize they can’t really “fail.”

Most of the other plotlines are pretty entertaining, although none of them are really compelling. Abe Weissman’s character devolves a little as he loses his purpose and struggles to deal with how the “revolution” has changed since his youth. Rose is inspired to be more independent by Midge, but then kind of resents her for it. Joel dates a girl who runs a gambling den. All of them have some laughs, but I just never really cared about them much. 

Overall, I’m still enjoying the show, but it maybe needs to figure out what to do with everyone but Midge and Susie. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.