Space Force Review Episode 1 – The Launch

As of this writing, it has been approximately 1,192,504,513 seconds ago when America established a branch of the military that would rival Sputnik. I guess you could say, they were lightyears ahead. It took us until now to designate an independent branch and it comes off the Achilles heel of a moron. Welcome to the inaugural episode of Space Force (Netflix).

From the brain trust of Steve Carell and Greg Daniels comes a series that finds General Mark R. Naird (Carell) tasked by the POTUS with undertaking a new branch of the military: Space Force. This is to ensure the complete dominance of the Lunar landscape. General Naird is also tasked with working in tandem with his Airforce rival, General Kick Grabaston (Noah Emmerich).

Later that night, Mark’s wife Maggie (Lisa Kudrow) notices her husband’s uneasiness about taking the reigns on this endeavor, as he was hoping to take the helm of Airforce instead. General Naird is anything but a quitter, however, and takes on the duty with dignity and poise with a steel trap conviction. Maggie doesn’t seem to be handling the prospect of moving to Colorado, however, and is pretty distraught though her hubby imagines in a year’s time to have boots on the Moon.

One year later in Wild Horse, Colorado, Mark seems to still have his work cut out for him. It’s the big day of the inaugural launch. Mark’s assistant, Brad Gregory (Don Lake) is enthusiastic but always a step behind, his civilian advisor Dr. Adrian Mallory (John Malkovich) is a quick-thinking, mordant-mouthed scientist that is imploring his boss to postpone liftoff, his PR person F. Tony Scarapiducci (Ben Schwartz) is in touch with Generation Z but sorely sucking at reaching the person he’s trying to rep up, his new Helo pilot Captain Angela Ali (Tawny Newsome) is smart and speaks freely and his 18-year-old daughter Erin (Diana Silvers) is rebellious teenager, lording over her father’s head moving from D.C. to a formerly decommissioned NORAD base in the middle of bumblefuck U.S.A.

Oh, and Mark’s wife? Yeah, it turns out the only way he can turn to her for any semblance of co-parental advice is behind a goddamn Plexiglass window. Oh, that’s right. For reasons unbeknownst to us right now, Maggie’s in the slammer doing 40 years, which she constantly encourages Mark to seek physical affection elsewhere, despite Mark’s staunch protestations.

Upon testing a Yellow Jacket missile, confidence is not instilled in this General. This is even more evident at a luncheon with the Congressional Delegation. Epsilon-6 is in spake words on track to meet its launch, equipped with technology to Tango (I mean tangle) with enemy satellites. Everything’s riding on Mark’s shoulders, including billions of taxpayer dollars.

Adding to his woes are his ailing father Fred (Fred Willard) and mother. Luckily, Dr. Mallory made an executive call on this and I like it.

NOT ON HIS ‘RENTS, YOU MORBID S.O.B.! Rather, the launch. Yet, no matter how much he crunched the numbers and reminds Mark of the numbers including (that button cover debacle), so Adrian takes him out to the site.

In front of a team of scientists, spearheaded by Dr. Chain Kaifang (Jimmy O. Yang), inform their General of the high probability of failure. The only dissident of opinion is Eddie (Chris Gethard), the maintenance man, so with a lot to think about and the delegates breathing down his neck Mark goes into his office for a bit of zen. This has been before in shows, but the song of choice is always of interest to me. He sings to himself. In this instance, it’s “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys.

Emerging from his cocoon of anxiety, he sets the go for launch (and not accidentally.)

Addressing his colleagues and constituents, he proudly sends Epsilon-6 into orbit, and while everyone gets a chance to breathe easy, it’s merely just a breath.

Someone’s bigger and redder satellite comes and dismantles the pride of the United States Space Force and the only toasting will be of the enemy, whoever it may be.

Overall, I thought at first viewing the episode was mediocre, but it was the pilot and as a screenwriter, I give free passes to pilots unless I really love or really hate them.  I get it had to establish a satire in something and someone. Granted, this is an actual thing. The only is that Netflix gave it a chance, and you can’t skewer something off the bat that’s undercooked. We’ll see in the next episode how this goes.

R.I.P. Fred Willard

About Robert Kijowski

Robert Kijowski
Robert J. Kijowski is a screenwriter who enjoys a good chuckle and an even better weep when indulging in art both good and even better bad. He enjoys the company of strangers in a theatre but adores the camaraderie of friends watching Netflix. He also loves to talk- a lot. This can be read through his recaps and reviews on the Workprint or heard through his weekly movie podcast, After the Credits. His presence can be felt through Facebook, Spotify or Ouija. Don’t use the latter though- he almost always ghosts people.

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