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Old 05-20-2020, 09:54 AM
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Space Force!


I just learned of a new comedy from Steve Carell coming out on Netflix May 29 about the creation of Space Force, called "Space Force", unsurprisingly. Got some interesting names in it, like John Malkovich, Lise Kudrow, Jane Lynch, Fred Williard, and Jimmy O. Yang (Silicon Valley).

I'm hoping it's at least in part a biting, Strangelovian satire of the Trump administration, but I might be getting my hopes up too much. Other than a joke in which it's announced that the President wants to create a new "Space Force" agency and a table of military leaders starts laughing, the trailers make it look more just like a silly comedy. Still, it might be something to watch.

Couple trailers in an article here:
https://www.cnet.com/news/in-new-net...space-is-hard/
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:28 AM
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I expect more "The Office" in a military setting.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:32 AM
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I expect more "The Office" in a military setting.
Yeah, definitely an obvious comparison, in that Steve Carrell is playing the head of an organization who is clearly unsuited for the job and out of his depth. Hopefully there's more to it than that though.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:33 AM
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I'm hoping it's at least in part a biting, Strangelovian satire of the Trump administration, but I might be getting my hopes up too much. Other than a joke in which it's announced that the President wants to create a new "Space Force" agency and a table of military leaders starts laughing, the trailers make it look more just like a silly comedy.
I liked Greg Daniels's other recent show "Upload" (on Amazon), which was a mix of silly comedy moments and more biting satire. So I'm cautiously optimistic.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:37 AM
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Already on our "Watch" list just for the cast.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:43 AM
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Yeah, definitely an obvious comparison, in that Steve Carrell is playing the head of an organization who is clearly unsuited for the job and out of his depth. Hopefully there's more to it than that though.
Deadline: "‘Space Force’ Workplace Comedy Series From ‘The Office’s Steve Carell & Greg Daniels Ordered By Netflix"
Co-created by Carell and Daniels and starring Carell, Space Force is centered around the people tasked with creating a sixth branch of the armed services…Space Force.

Steve Carell, who co-created the series, will star and executive produce. Daniels will serve as showrunner and executive producer. Fellow Office alum, 3 Arts’ Howard Klein, will also serve as executive producer.
Sounds like The Office 'in space' to me. Which, really, isn't a bad thing; the incompetence in military bureaucracy is a rich vein of humor and hypocrisy that is too infrequently mined. I'm imagining something like The Pentagon Wars stretched out to series length, although I'd really rather see it be done by Mitch Hurwitz and the Arrested Development creative team.

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Old 05-20-2020, 10:47 AM
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I had high hopes, but I have to say that the one trailer I saw was not very funny.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:58 AM
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I liked Greg Daniels's other recent show "Upload" (on Amazon), which was a mix of silly comedy moments and more biting satire. So I'm cautiously optimistic.
Made by the same guy who made "Upload", eh? Interesting. I guess that means DrForrester won't like it, judging by that "Upload" thread awhile back

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...
Sounds like The Office 'in space' to me. Which, really, isn't a bad thing;
...
Stranger
I agree, a well-done version of "The Office", only space-related, wouldn't be bad. But I'd like to see something with some satirical teeth to it, that gets Trump rage-tweeting at 3 a.m. about how bad the show is, and what a bunch of losers are in it.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:43 AM
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I agree, a well-done version of "The Office", only space-related, wouldn't be bad. But I'd like to see something with some satirical teeth to it, that gets Trump rage-tweeting at 3 a.m. about how bad the show is, and what a bunch of losers are in it.
In that case they need to cast Alec Baldwin as “President Ronald Glamp” and guest star Robert DeNiro as his Attorney General. Mitt Romney can cameo as himself.

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Old 05-20-2020, 12:15 PM
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I'm just judging from the trailer but I'm not getting an Office feeling or seeing a biting political satire. This looks like an underdog comedy, where somebody who is expected to fail will overcome his difficulties and achieve a big success.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:42 PM
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I'm just judging from the trailer but I'm not getting an Office feeling or seeing a biting political satire. This looks like an underdog comedy, where somebody who is expected to fail will overcome his difficulties and achieve a big success.
Yeah, I did catch disturbing hints of warmth, family-friendliness and lesson-learning in the trailer.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:48 PM
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I'm just judging from the trailer but I'm not getting an Office feeling or seeing a biting political satire. This looks like an underdog comedy, where somebody who is expected to fail will overcome his difficulties and achieve a big success.
I'm hoping the big success will be realizing that nobody in the "Space Force" will actually be going into space and disband the new service for being an incredibly dumb idea.
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:31 PM
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I agree, a well-done version of "The Office", only space-related, wouldn't be bad. But I'd like to see something with some satirical teeth to it, that gets Trump rage-tweeting at 3 a.m. about how bad the show is, and what a bunch of losers are in it.
I'd rather it not get too Trump specific. I feel like contemporary political humor never ages that well.
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:16 PM
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I thought the thread was about this Space Force TV show from my youth.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vroANVFNcFY
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:55 PM
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In that case they need to cast Alec Baldwin as “President Ronald Glamp” and guest star Robert DeNiro as his Attorney General. Mitt Romney can cameo as himself.

Stranger
Its an ideal opportunity to return John Glover, who played a stellar Daniel Clamp in Gremlins 2.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:41 AM
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I thought the thread was about this Space Force TV show from my youth.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vroANVFNcFY
So that makes this the second TV show called Space Force to feature Fred Willard.

Space Force (1978)
Space Force (2020)
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:09 AM
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So that makes this the second TV show called Space Force to feature Fred Willard.

Space Force (1978)
Space Force (2020)
Sadly, there won't be a third.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:52 PM
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I'm looking forward to it.

I watched Avenue 5 on HBO and while it's not the bestest funniest thing ever, it had some genuine hilarious moments. Judd and Karen steal almost every scene they are in.
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Old 05-30-2020, 09:09 PM
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I finished the series today and enjoyed it quite a lot. I'm surprised that it got such negative-to-mediocre reviews. Oddly, one of the most laudatory reviews came from the Wall Street Journal of all places.

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This is comedy infinitely more ambitious, more a product of a grand inventiveness than anything in “The Office.” It was that show that first made a star of Mr. Carell, and even then his performance was a foreshadowing of sorts—the indicator of his gift for portraying a character who was more than he seemed. In “The Office” he played Michael Scott, know-it-all boss, a sucker for all the latest in progressive management claptrap, in charge of the Scranton, Pa., branch of Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. Yet for all his infuriatingly stubborn pretensions, his faith in all that reeked of folly, Michael was clearly more humble than he seemed—no one could doubt his decency.

For all his unblinking devotion to his preposterous mission, there’s nothing absurd in the determined character of Gen. Naird, prepared to do all to carry it through. He’s wide-eyed and more than a little upset to learn about test animals left abandoned in a space capsule long ago—it was too expensive to make a trip into space to bring them back home.
OTOH, that same review called Episode 2 (with the chimp) "dazzling" and I thought that was probably the weakest one.

I am particularly impressed with Carell's performance as a stubborn-but-generally-competent guy trying to do the best job he can. I often find that the trickiest part of workplace comedies is portraying comedic characters who actually have a reason to be in that job in the first place. In between jokes these guys behave and talk like actual military officers, and even the stupider ones are motivated by reasonable concerns.

I give it an 8/10 and look forward to the next season.
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Old 05-30-2020, 09:17 PM
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Better than I expected. Episode 1 was the expected satire, but then in episode 2 they kicked it up into a higher gear. Quite a star studded cast, and one last look at Fred Willard.

Last edited by TriPolar; 05-30-2020 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 05-31-2020, 01:28 AM
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Hmmm... I have so far found it to be... Barely watchable. I'm finishing it in case it gets its footing, but it thus far it has rated a big "meh" for me.
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Old 05-31-2020, 06:57 AM
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I watched the whole thing, and I found the whole thing...watchable. It just seemed like they never figured out what they were trying to do, and it was a neither-fish-nor-fowl tweener. At times they seemed to be going for farce, but never got broad enough to get there. At other times, they seemed to be going for satire, but never got sharp enough to get there, either. It did manage to avoid Netflix bloat, but at the cost of swinging too far the other direction. It seemed like there were scenes missing from some episodes, and entire episodes missing from the season. And the last couple of episodes really seemed to jump the shark and go off the rails - yes, that was a mixed metaphor, which itself is a fitting metaphor for the confused nature of the show.

Still, it was just watchable enough, and there's enough talent on screen, that I'll probably give a second season a try, just to see if they figure out what they're doing.
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Old 05-31-2020, 07:08 AM
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I think "watchable" is the perfect description, the laughs were sparse and it never climbed the heights of hilarity, but it had a good cast, high production values and enough of a plot going on to keep it watchable.
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Old 05-31-2020, 07:21 AM
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We at least need to find out why Mrs. Space Force ended up in prison!
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Old 05-31-2020, 07:32 AM
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We at least need to find out why Mrs. Space Force ended up in prison!
That's actually one of the parts I did like. It's just so utterly incongruous. There's no indication whatsoever that her sentence was unjust. So, she committed some crime so serious that she got a 40+ year sentence, but one that didn't alienate her from her daughter or ultra-straight-arrow husband. Not to mention it was a crime committed by the ambitious wife of a high-ranking military officer, which didn't apparently impact his career at all.

I thought the subtle running joke of everyone just treating it as a normal thing that the commanding general's wife was in prison for some unspecified crime was one of the elements of the show that actually worked fairly well. If they ever reveal the crime, I think that'll ruin the bit.
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Old 05-31-2020, 08:42 AM
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Only seen episode one, and am fairly unimpressed with the writing. The cast works hard, and there are some amusing bits, but overall it fell flat for me. For the most part, Carell came off as annoying, rather than amusing, and the supporting cast pretty much stole every scene. Except for Lisa Kudrow, who is as unfunny as ever; I honestly do not understand her presence in the acting business. I'll give another ep or two a look, but there's something off about this series. They could have done a scathing satire, but seem to have instead elected for sophomoric.
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Old 05-31-2020, 11:39 AM
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I switched off half way through ep2. Not enough laughs and I found Carrell's character annoying.

This was obviously satirising people with a certain political outlook and their attitudes towards science and reason, and that I can totally get behind. But it needs much more subtlety to be funny IMHO. Perhaps over time they can add depth to the characters and comedy will flow from that. At least John Malcovitch's character is promising.

And while we're talking about satire - it can be a very powerful weapon but it's much less effective if it doesn't appeal to a broad base of people and things that bash you over the head with a political message generally doesn't have a broad appeal. Too often satire is screamed into an echo chamber. Look back at some of the greatest satire in television history and it's often most effective because it challenges its viewers and shifts opinion. I don't think Space Force! is going to do that unfortunately.
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Old 05-31-2020, 11:59 AM
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I am particularly impressed with Carell's performance as a stubborn-but-generally-competent guy trying to do the best job he can. I often find that the trickiest part of workplace comedies is portraying comedic characters who actually have a reason to be in that job in the first place. In between jokes these guys behave and talk like actual military officers, and even the stupider ones are motivated by reasonable concerns.

I give it an 8/10 and look forward to the next season.
As it happens, I've seen eight of the ten episodes so far. As for the portrayal of the military, I read an article that said Carell didn't want to make fun of the military because his father served in the Army. As for the show, it's been OK. The competition among countries is probably realistic even though they should be collaborating. And I particularly enjoyed the episode involving the space dog and space chimp.
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Old 05-31-2020, 04:58 PM
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It’s an absurd tv show (I like that) and they play it straight (I also like that) - and it doesn’t require me to think too hard. That’s what I’m in the mood for at this moment. I thought the Chimp episode was pretty great, so that’s where I’m at right now.

Also, I did some googling and we don’t find out what mrs space force did to end up in prison, but there are some theories...

Anyhow, chalk one up in the yay column.
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Old 05-31-2020, 05:47 PM
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Only seen episode one, and am fairly unimpressed with the writing. The cast works hard, and there are some amusing bits, but overall it fell flat for me.
That is pretty much it for me. It wasn't horrible ...or good. Maybe there will come a time when I have nothing else better competing for my time and I will revisit another episode. Likely, it was a one episode and done show.
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Old 06-01-2020, 08:53 AM
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Overall, it's ok, but I hate the voice that Carrell is doing. Oddly gravelly, trying to sound, I guess, "military?"
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Old 06-01-2020, 09:09 AM
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I watched the first 3 or 4 episodes. It's okay, nothing special. I don't feel like comparisons to The Office are fair though. We compare Parks and Rec and Brooklyn 99 and even 30 Rock to The Office for good reason. If it wasn't for Steve Carell in the lead role, I don't think anyone would even think to compare the two.

Also, what's going on with his voice. It seems to change from scene to scene? I can't tell if he's doing a voice or his voice has changed or it almost sounds hoarse, like he spent the weekend screaming or has a bad cold. It's really odd. With your eyes closed, you almost wouldn't even know it was him. Unlike, say, watching Despicable Me where you know it's him.

I'll watch a few more episodes, maybe I'll even finish it out, but I'd be surprised if it gets another season.
As I read somewhere, it's a waste of such a huge pool of talent.
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Old 06-01-2020, 09:18 AM
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3 episodes in and all I can say is, “More Marcus!” In fact, I would abandon this show right now if, instead, I could watch a Marcus spinoff.
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Old 06-01-2020, 09:27 AM
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Just watched the first episode last night. Since I had read a few unfavorable reviews beforehand, I watched with low expectations and ended up after ep.1 thinking "not bad". As gdave and a couple reviews said, its main fault is not quite knowing what comedy / satire direction it wants to go in. Overall, as others have also said, it's watchable.
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Old 06-01-2020, 09:46 AM
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Watched the 1st 2 eps. Reaction - a resounding "meh!" Think my wife liked it a tad more.

Quite a cast. My biggest problem was that its basic premise involved Trump's ridiculous formation of the Space Force, and horrendous waste of $ and secrecy by the military - both of which I find extremely troublesome. Can be a touchy thing, to see if you can enjoy a comedy about topics you hate.
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Old 06-01-2020, 10:02 AM
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It seems very accurate. My one complaint is that the SETA played by John Malkovich should actually be cast as someone younger and more handsome (I’m thinking Matt Damon or Bradley Cooper) and should spend the bulk of his time presenting slide decks culminating in 5x5 risk matrices where everybody argues how to “burn down the risk” by rearranging numbers on a chart.

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Old 06-01-2020, 11:48 AM
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I watched the first 3 or 4 episodes. It's okay, nothing special. I don't feel like comparisons to The Office are fair though. We compare Parks and Rec and Brooklyn 99 and even 30 Rock to The Office for good reason. If it wasn't for Steve Carell in the lead role, I don't think anyone would even think to compare the two.
Well, it also comes from the person who adapted and in many ways, created the American version of The Office.
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Old 06-01-2020, 11:55 AM
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That's actually one of the parts I did like. It's just so utterly incongruous. There's no indication whatsoever that her sentence was unjust. So, she committed some crime so serious that she got a 40+ year sentence, but one that didn't alienate her from her daughter or ultra-straight-arrow husband. Not to mention it was a crime committed by the ambitious wife of a high-ranking military officer, which didn't apparently impact his career at all.

I thought the subtle running joke of everyone just treating it as a normal thing that the commanding general's wife was in prison for some unspecified crime was one of the elements of the show that actually worked fairly well. If they ever reveal the crime, I think that'll ruin the bit.
I fully agree. I hope they never reveal it.

I think it's a show with a lot of promise that was clearly a little bit rushed into production. I think with a little more time to settle it could be a really great show. It isn't right yet, but it's fine. It very much more than a 5/10, but expectations were high and it's not the 9/10 show people were hoping for. I'm looking forward to a second season with the expectation that it will build on this.
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Old 06-01-2020, 01:41 PM
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I think it's a show with a lot of promise that was clearly a little bit rushed into production. I think with a little more time to settle it could be a really great show. It isn't right yet, but it's fine. It very much more than a 5/10, but expectations were high and it's not the 9/10 show people were hoping for. I'm looking forward to a second season with the expectation that it will build on this.
I agree with this take; parts of it definitely feel rushed.
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Old 06-01-2020, 03:18 PM
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I watched the whole thing, and I found the whole thing...watchable.
. . . It did manage to avoid Netflix bloat, but at the cost of swinging too far the other direction. It seemed like there were scenes missing from some episodes, and entire episodes missing from the season.
. . .
If the "wife in prison" subplot isn't bloat, I'd like to know what you call it. If they were trying to make the General a tragic character it ain't working. His neglect of his daughter is particularly unfunny, and took me out of it on several occasions.

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We at least need to find out why Mrs. Space Force ended up in prison!
It's the "Penny's last name" of SpaceForce. This is how you create a cult favorite, don't you know?*

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It seems very accurate. My one complaint is that the SETA played by John Malkovich should actually be cast as someone younger and more handsome (I’m thinking Matt Damon or Bradley Cooper) and should spend the bulk of his time presenting slide decks culminating in 5x5 risk matrices where everybody argues how to “burn down the risk” by rearranging numbers on a chart.
Stranger
You know way too much. LOL! But honestly, Malkovich is the one keeping me in this. Which is interesting because he usually gives me the creeps. Turns out he's just a very good actor who often plays creepy roles.

He actually reminds me of a nuclear safety engineer I worked with many years ago, under not dissimilar circumstances.





*No, it isn't.
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Old 06-01-2020, 04:06 PM
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Regarding the daughter; just before she went off with those sketchy guys, she was standing outside that diner next to a missing person poster. Was that supposed to be significant somehow? Was the missing person someone at the compound they brought her to? The camera seemed to linger on the poster.
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Old 06-01-2020, 05:06 PM
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That was the guy from the gas station that was locked up in the first episode after being taken in the boot of Neird's car.

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Old 06-01-2020, 05:32 PM
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If the "wife in prison" subplot isn't bloat, I'd like to know what you call it.
I'd call it a sub-plot. Or, as I did upthread, a running joke. The series got from "You're the head of a brand new branch of the military!" to the moon in 10 half-hour episodes. Compare that to, oh, Marvel's The Defenders, that took 8 hour-long episodes to get from "a bunch of heroes from their own individual series team up to take on the Hand" to "a bunch of heroes from their own individual series team up to take on the Hand."
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Old 06-01-2020, 06:50 PM
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You know way too much. LOL! But honestly, Malkovich is the one keeping me in this. Which is interesting because he usually gives me the creeps. Turns out he's just a very good actor who often plays creepy roles.
Actually, I was just making a bit of a joke at my own expense, i.e. who I’d want to play me in the movie. The show isn’t remotely accurate; for one, a four-star would would have a large staff of colonels or majors as mission managers for each launch and a bunch of flag officers in command of the various groups within the force, and he’d only get a distilled final readiness review package (scrubbed for the terminology that “The General” doesn’t like) if everything were already low risk. I think it would actually be more amusing to see all of the bureaucracy hamstringing and insulating him him, although Noah Emmerich as his foil and notional superior is a good choice. Since I’ve only watched the first episode I can’t speak to the entire series but the performances do seem uneven and lacking in a definitive tone but hopefully that will improve. I’m glad to see Fred Willard in one final role although I still think his ‘color commentary’ announcer in Best In Show is the best thing he’s done.

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Old 06-02-2020, 07:26 AM
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I'm liking it enough to persist, and it is settling into a better balanced product than the first few episodes indicated.

A new-shows reviewer I listened to today said it had been conceived well before the creation of Trump's Space Force, and that key similarities with real life were lucky accidents. The dates certainly fit - Netflix ordered the first series in Jan 2019, while the real Space Force was established almost a year later in December.
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Old 06-02-2020, 08:38 AM
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Regarding the daughter; just before she went off with those sketchy guys, she was standing outside that diner next to a missing person poster. Was that supposed to be significant somehow? Was the missing person someone at the compound they brought her to? The camera seemed to linger on the poster.
The daughter is a wasted trope, and the actor who plays her is unbelievably bad; bad enough to make me think she's related to someone putting money into the production.
  #47  
Old 06-02-2020, 08:58 AM
Dewey Finn is offline
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Originally Posted by Banksiaman View Post
I'm liking it enough to persist, and it is settling into a better balanced product than the first few episodes indicated.

A new-shows reviewer I listened to today said it had been conceived well before the creation of Trump's Space Force, and that key similarities with real life were lucky accidents. The dates certainly fit - Netflix ordered the first series in Jan 2019, while the real Space Force was established almost a year later in December.
Googling, Trump first mentioned the idea of creating the Space Force in March 2018, so before Netflix ordered the show.

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 06-02-2020 at 08:59 AM.
  #48  
Old 06-02-2020, 09:20 AM
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I thought it was ok... but there were a few glaring issues that I can't quite get around- launching rockets from rural Colorado?

That, and I thought they missed the opportunity to play it entirely straight with Gen. Naird- have him be what a military officer would be like, but surrounded by all these weirdos and goofballs. Kind of a long-suffering boss who's the only sane one. Had they taken that tack, the whole daughter drama and imprisoned wife stuff would both be more hard hitting AND more surreal at the same time. Instead, we're left being unsure if the neglect is dramatic or for laughs, and the angst about the whole open relationship seems a bit out of place considering all the other weirdness and odd stuff he's had to deal with.

Oh, and his aide Brad should be a Major or Captain or something... not a one-star general.
  #49  
Old 06-02-2020, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Banksiaman View Post
A new-shows reviewer I listened to today said it had been conceived well before the creation of Trump's Space Force, and that key similarities with real life were lucky accidents. The dates certainly fit - Netflix ordered the first series in Jan 2019, while the real Space Force was established almost a year later in December.


https://youtu.be/TQggDFcXy88

5:35 into the above clip Carell talks about how Space Force was conceived essentially immediately after Netflix heard the name of the President's new program. Netflix basically heard the name Space Force and said "Hey, we gotta make this into a show!" and called Carell who said "this has got to be a show!" and called Greg Daniels. So, it's sort of the ultimate high concept. They heard the name and wrote the show around that.

So, my guess is that the reviewer was making stuff up.
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Last edited by NAF1138; 06-02-2020 at 09:27 AM.
  #50  
Old 06-02-2020, 09:37 AM
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I watched the first and part of the second episode. I think it's terrible. The satire is too obvious -- it's like Ayn Rand's version of satire, although from a liberal standpoint. It reminds of when right wingers try to satirize left wing positions.

On top of that, the science is terrible. You don't launch over Colorado, you can't just send something into the sun accidentally. Ha! The chimp is going to burn up! Hilarious!

I love every one of the headline actors, and that only makes it worse. The only character I actually liked was John Malkovich's, and maybe Lisa Kudrow's. The only scene that I thought was LOL funny was when they heads of all the various services were meeting.

Partway through the second episode, my wife turns to me and says, this isn't very good. I agreed and we turned it off. We have very different viewing tastes.
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