Netflix’s highly anticipated series Space Force tries to be a lot of different things. Unfortunately, it spreads itself too thin. It’s easy to see what the program is trying to do, but when all set and done, Space Force doesn’t do much of anything. Heralded by The Office and Parks and Recreation co-creator Greg Daniels and leading comedian Steve Carrell, inspiration and intent are evident. Still, the star-studded cast and style appear plucked from past projects and thrown together haphazardly. The new series lacks cohesion, not too unlike the administration this series serves to mock.
Space Force follows recently promoted General Mark Naird. As Naird receives his promotion, his hopes are high to repace his workplace adversary, the General of the Air Force. Instead, to both of their dismay, Naird is put in charge of the United States Space Force. The organization moves to its own branch instead of remaining under the purview of the Air Force. It’s definitely not what Naird worked his entire career to achieve.
Naird seems like the type to dislike the administration, implied heavily to be Trumpian in nature. The President remains an off-screen character, however, only referred to by his title. At the same time, Naird behaves dramatically; a behavior expected more of someone who believes in that version of America. The contrast doesn’t quite work for the character. Naird feels disdain for the President, all the while going to extreme lengths to satisfy him. However, this may not be too uncommon with the current state of American politics. The lengths he goes to complete the Space Force mission and hit their goals in a timely fashion is consistent. However, the characterization is still a tough one to swallow. Whether it’s because we’re not used to Carrell playing a character with this mindset, or whether it’s too fresh of an observed situation among politicians is arguable.
The timing of the release doesn’t serve the show well. Space Force attempts to provide commentary and a satirical look at the state of American politics, but muddles the message. As the current state of American politics is messy, and perhaps frightening, the current administration is still in power. As recent societal altering events such as the Covid-19 crisis and the nationwide protests against systematic racism rage on, one has to wonder if Space Force was perhaps released too early. This isn’t the show’s fault. It was created and promoted well before these events began to shape the current American climate. Still, I couldn’t help but feel slightly uncomfortable watching this show satirically comment on contemporary politics in a silly manner, all the while the complicit actions of the American government continue to escalate dangerous conditions for average Americans.
The creators of Space Force took a risk in its early release, which isn’t always a sound idea. Sometimes, there needs to be a more extended passage of time between current events and the fictionalization of these events. Delaying the production of this show could have served the concept better and even opened up more opportunities for satire without exposing a fresh wound for many.
Poking fun at American politics isn’t the only goal the show tries to achieve. Space Force also attempts to incorporate a family-drama aspect. Relocating the Naird family from Washington to Colorado has a multitude of effects on the family. These range from the expected struggle for Naird’s daughter of trying to fit in, to lesser expected consequences, such as Naird’s wife, Maggie, landing in prison for decades for a crime that hasn’t yet revealed itself.
While a stark contrast from the political aspects of the show, Erin adds layers to Mark that is essential for him to be more than a one-dimensional character. Watching him attempt to balance being a single father (in a way) and his obligations to Space Force deepens Naird’s conflicts. While Carrell’s roles in other projects such as The Office endears viewers occasionally with his care for his employees, Naird is colder to his subordinates in Space Force. His relationship with his daughter brings out the better parts of him. And it’s his family relationships that form the basis for his emotional struggle with being open and allowing himself to acknowledge his stress and emotion in the fourth episode, LUNAR HABITAT.
Sidenote: When viewing the show on Netflix, the episode titles are stylized as short statements in all capital letters, an obvious play on the nature of Trump’s tweets, which was a detail I appreciated.
When it comes down to it, Space Force’s problems boil down to its lack of identity. It doesn’t know what type of show it wants to be. The comedy is inconsistent – sometimes it’s outlandish, sometimes it’s deadpan, occasionally intellectual, and occasionally crude, but most of the time, the jokes don’t land.
But sometimes, they do.
My favorite episode of the season is the second one, SAVE EPSILON 6!, which focuses on The Space Force team attempting to save their satellite launch with animals sent (and abandoned) in space after Chinese forces sabotaged their launch. The comedy in this is outlandish and ridiculous. However, the special effects and animal gags make it the most enjoyable episode of the first season.
Another noteworthy moment is when Captain Angela butchers her first words upon landing on the moon, which was a critical moment as she is the first Black woman to step on the celestial body. Attempting to say, “It’s good to be back on the moon,” she suffers a Freudian slip, replacing the word ‘back’ with ‘Black.’ Being one of the few moments that elicited a physical response from me, the build-up to this slip was well-executed.
Angela also ends up being one of the more endearing characters in Space Force, even though the show wasn’t sure what to do with her. They pair Angela up with Erin for a good portion of the beginning of the season, then send her to space in the back-half of the season. Presumably, this will be to anchor the Moon-based arc if the show obtains renewal. However, this leaves Erin in a much more isolated state if the show is to return for subsequent seasons.
Most of the time, however, the jokes don’t hit. When watching, I was aware of what was supposed to be funny, but my brain didn’t register the jokes as humourous. Without the strong cast, Space Force would have fallen entirely flat. The strength of the cast isn’t just limited to the most prolific actors. Well-known, John Malkovich’s presence as the less-nonsense scientist serves as the sane-man insert. He provides an anchoring perspective that makes the insanity of Space Force’s circumstances easier to digest. Jimmy Yang as Dr. Kaifang unexpectedly provided my favorite comedic presence. Known for Silicon Valley, I wasn’t familiar with this actor going into Space Force. However, his deadpan delivery lands as the best humor of the cast.
Steve Carrell has a commanding presence that is hard to balance. Space Force did its best to balance him out, but many times did not succeed. With too many variances of comedic style, the lack of cohesion left me wondering: what is the point of the humor?
And, with this issue of erratic choices in the development of the show, I found it hard to see the heart of Space Force, save a few endearing moments between Naird and his daughter, and Naird and Dr. Mallory, which arguably is necessary for a comedy like this to resonate with viewers. Other similar shows have a certain charm or heartwarming quality, but as mentioned before, Space Force’s is few and far between.
Picking aspects and dynamics that have worked in other recent acclaimed comedies isn’t always a recipe for success. The inspiration is clear, but for a show like Space Force to succeed, there needs to be a more evident intention. Things happen, not for progression or commentary, but for the sake of happening. Having Ben Schwartz as the social media manager of the military branch is a great idea. However, somehow, they underutilized Schwartz, which is a crime considering how beloved his roles are on other shows.
Space Force’s humor isn’t the only aspect lacking identity. The overall genre seems inconsistent, as well. Sometimes a dramedy, sometimes a workplace comedy, sometimes a family drama, these different storytelling elements don’t always mesh together. The show even takes a stab at space tropes, launching humans to the moon. However, adding in this new aspect doesn’t elevate Space Force in any way. Instead, it just adds another cluttered element to the recipe for season one. Space Force feels empty even though so much goes on.
But don’t give up hope yet. Despite the issues outlined, with outstanding effects and a talented cast, maybe Space Force just hasn’t found its footing yet. Space Force is doing well with viewership, so expect another season to come. Many similar comedies take time to find their rhythm. The Office and Parks and Recreation both took time to grow into their own, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Space Force could vastly improve on its style, writing, and execution upon subsequent seasons. However, the binge format could hinder this, leaving the sour taste in viewers’ mouths for a year or more. And who knows what actual events could have transpired by then to effect opinion and viewership?
All in all, Space Force has strong elements, a talented cast, and a solid foundation for future improvement. Still, it struggles to decide on a direction to lead the narrative. Left as a chaotic combination of things that should work, Space Force doesn’t quite work. Despite this, I wouldn’t recommend against watching Space Force. You will get some laughs. And it’s not a massive undertaking with only ten episodes averaging around half an hour long. After all, television seems to be on hold for a while, thanks to workplace restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. So, there’s not much to lose, but not a whole lot to gain either. I do think Space Force has the potential to grow into something much better, but currently, it doesn’t live up to Greg Daniels’s legacy.
All episodes of Space Force are now streaming on Netflix.
Is ‘Bridgerton’s’ Regé-Jean Page Going to be the Next James Bond?
From duke to 007!
If you binge-watched Netflix’s Bridgerton in one sitting, you’re more than familiar with the dashing Regé-Jean Page.
Rumor has it that the breakout star made such an impression on audiences and executives that he’s in the running to be the next James Bond.
British betting firm Ladbrokes has been closely watching 007 predictions in the U.K. ahead of the upcoming No Time to Die premiere, which marks Daniel Craig’s final run as the notorious agent.
And Page is climbing the ranks!
Since the Shondaland series premiere, Page’s odds jumped to 5/1 in the betting after previously being at 40/1 before Christmas.
While Page’s chances of snagging the coveted role are high, he isn’t the only one in the running.
“Tom Hardy still leads the way as favorite, with James Norton close behind in second place. But it really is all to play for in the race for 007 and [Regé-Jean Page] has a great chance if the odds are anything to go by,” Ladbrokes rep Alex Apati told Variety.
“What strengthens RJP’s chances somewhat more is that an announcement feels seemingly imminent [around] Daniel Craig’s replacement, so the timing of ‘Bridgerton’s’ success may well have worked in his favor,” Apati noted.
Fans of the series were quick to “ship” the potential casting with many noting: “If @regejean is the new James Bond… I’ll actually watch a James Bond.”
However, not everyone was convinced with some noting that Page seems to young for the role of the MI6 agent.
To put it in perspective, Page is 31 while Craig was 38 when he 38 when he starred in the first Bond film.
Page, who also starred in the short-lived For the People, plays Simon Basset, the charming Duke of Hastings in the first season of Shonda Rhimes’ breakout series for the streaming service.
TVLine announced that Bridgerton is said to be Netflix’s fifth biggest original series launch of all time with a projected reach of 63 million households in the first four weeks of its debut.
The next installment of the Bond franchise was delayed a year due to the COVID pandemic and is set to debut on April 2, 2021, so it’s likely a new Bond won’t be officially announced until then.
But till then, we’re all keeping our fingers crossed for Page.
Here’s the betting breakdown for the role:
Tom Hardy – 6/4
James Norton – 7/4
Idris Elba – 7/2
Regé-Jean Page – 5/1
Sam Heughan – 6/1
Richard Madden – 6/1
Jack Lowden – 8/1
Cillian Murphy – 10/1
‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ Season 4 Easter Eggs and Nods to ‘Riverdale’
Since Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was cancelled by Netflix, the series was never able to deliver a crossover with Riverdale, or its now-cancelled spinoff, Katy Keene.
However, that doesn’t mean the fourth and final season skipped on the fun Easter Eggs and nods.
The series fully embraced its connection to Riverdale, R5 (Ross Lynch’s former family band), and Sabrina the Teenage Witch!
Here are some of the best Easter eggs from Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 4!
Season 4 Episode 1
Roz raises issues about the lack of sex education at Baxter High, especially after the adulterous pagans blew into town on season 3. She points out that Riverdale has condom machines in the bathroom in the first reference of the season. It’s a bit of an odd comment, but honestly, fitting considering how much hooking up happens in the small town bordering Greendale.
Season 4 Episode 3
After Sabrina is possessed by The Weird, an octopus-like eldritch terror, her new lab partner and the dude she went on one date, Lucas Hunt, doesn’t show up for class. When she asks the teacher why, he informs her that he “transferred to Riverdale High,” which Sabrina deems is probably for the best. It seems like she doesn’t truly know what goes down in the halls of R.H. though because it’s genuinely just as weird as Baxter High. I wonder if we’ll be seeing Mr. Hunt in future episodes of Riverdale?
Season 4 Episode 6
As Harvey, Roz and Theo get ready for band practice, they have a tense confrontation with a new band called the Stoned Philosophers, who claim they booked the practice rooms. Riverdale fans will immediately recognize band leader “Tobey” and his friends as Stonewall Prep’s Bret, Donna, and Joan. Yep, the same trio that went after Jughead and caused him to fake his own death are now bullying Harvey and friends! We may not have a full-on crossover, but this is one thrilling surprise!
In the same episode, Satanic Panic, a heavy metal band from back in the day resurrects to cause havoc in Greendale and compete in the Battle of the Bands. The lead of the band is played by Ross Lynch’s (Harvey) real-life brother, Riker Lynch. They were both in the band R5!
Season 4 Episode 7
Fans of The WB sitcom which gave us the OG Sabrina Spellman, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, will recognize Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick as Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda. The actresses replaced Sabrina’s “Aunties,” played by Miranda Otto and Lucy Davis in the Netflix adaptation, in the parallel realm in which Sabrina Morningstar finds herself stuck in a diabolical sitcom as part of the Endless terror prior to the culmination of the Void. In addition to Rhea and Broderick guest starring, there’s also a laugh track and a Salem that talks… just like in the sitcom!
9 Biggest Moments from ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ Season 4
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina wrapped up its run with the fourth and final season on Netflix.
Sabrina and friends faced their biggest threat to date – the eldrtich terrors.
Here are the biggest moments from the eight-episode season.
The Eldritch Terrors… obviously
The whole season revolved around the ancient entities that culminated with the arrival of the Void – the end of all things. Fitting for a final season, right? Sabrina, the coven, and her mortal friends teamed up to defeat each other terrors – The Dark, The Uninvited, The Weird, The Perverse, The Cosmic, The Returned, The Endless, and finally, The Void.
Hilda and Mr. C Get Married
Nothing was going to stand in the way of Hilda and Mr. C’s big day, not even a terror threatening humankind. The odd couple agreed to have a wedding reception and ceremony as dictated by Zelda and the Academy, which ended up being kind of downer when The Uninvited crashed the party, killed Dorian, and then threatened everyone else because they refused to extend him an invite to the party. Sabrina served as mediator by swooping herself and The Uninvited to Hell for another wedding, where she then married him and trapped him in a prison existing outside of time and space on their wedding night. And she made it home just in time for the private ceremony at the Spellman house in which Hilda and Dr. C exchanged vows dressed up as their favorite movie monsters.
Sabrina Gets Married to Caliban
That other wedding I mentioned? It was Sabrina Morningstar’s! The 16-year-old wed Caliban, yeah, the same one that tried to kill her and Sabrina Spellman. She promised her was reformed and loved her and all that, but Caliban will always be Caliban… and he had his eye on that throne. Of course, this didn’t take away from Sabrina’s stunning red lace dress. Though, she did have to share the spotlight with Sabrina Spellman, who used the wedding as an opportunity to marry The Uninvited and trick him into captivity. All in a day’s work for these witches!
Roz is a Witch
Roz always had powers, better known as “the cunning,” which essentially gave her psychic abilities, but this season, she learned that she’s a full-blown witch. Her ancestors, who were proud Christian women, didn’t want to be persecuted for witchcraft so they simply didn’t call themselves the W-word. However, once Mambo Marie proved that Roz had powers, she was welcomed into the Academy to join Mambo Marie and Prudence – and later Agatha – as the newest Weird Sister.
Sabrina Morningstar Perishes
With the realms in peril because of the existence of two Sabrinas, one of them had to go to the parallel realm to restore balance. Sabrina and Sabrina Morningstar played rock, paper, scissors to decide, and Morningstar lost. She walked through the mirror (wish it was a closet like on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, to be honest) in hopes of restoring balance in the cosmos and found herself in an eldritch terror known as the Endless. Basically, she was stuck in a diabolical sitcom and Salem is the eldritch terror. When the Void arrived, she managed to convince Salem that they had to escape and they ran back through the mirror. While she made it back to Sabrina’s realm, she died shortly after without telling Sabrina how to defeat it.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is known for throwing in little Easter eggs to sister show Riverdale, but they had a ton of fun with it in the final season. There were a few mentions of Riverdale High School and a cameo by Bret, Donna, and Joan, who played characters in a punk band. Riker Lynch, the brother of Ross Lynch (Harvey), also had a role as an undead leader of a rock band.
And lastly, one episode replaced Sabrina’s Aunt Hilda and Zelda with Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick, who played the original roles in the WB sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
See all the Easter eggs here.
Lilith Destroys Lucifer
Lilith has been wanting to reign in Hell for years. After killing her newborn son, Adam, to protect him from his father, Lucifer, she negotiated to get her powers back. She then turned on Lucifer and stabbed him with the sword she used to kill Lazarus, drank his blood, embraced his powers, and banished him to the Mortal Realm. Payback’s a b….
Agatha Returns to Normal
Crazy Agatha is crazy no more! After Dorcas returned to the land of the living due to an eldritch terror, she forgave her sister for murdering her. When that happened, Agatha snapped back to reality and clearly, had no recollection of what happened in the months prior. As Prudence said, it’s good to have her back, but she needs to be clued in on a lot.
Sabrina and Nick Are Endgame… Literally
When Nick took responsibility for the demise of his relationship with Sabrina on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 3, it was a big step. He promised to wait until she was ready because they were “endgame.” Sabrina likely didn’t think she would be ready as soon as she was, but when there’s a chance you might die, you kind of have to follow your heart. And her heart said that she loved Nick. From then on, they were inseparable as they fought side-by-side to defeat the eldritch terrors.
When Sabrina embodied a piece of the Void and sacrificed herself to save everyone, it was heartbreaking to watch Nick mourn his girlfriend and the life they would have had together. But two people who are destined to be together will always find their way back to each other. As Sabrina chilled out in heaven, she was surprised to see Nick, who explained he went swimming and there was a “wicked undertow.”
The two kissed as he declared that they had forever and ever together.
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