Space Force 2022 Season 2 review

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General Mark Naird (Steve Carell) and his Space Force deal with the fallout of the events in the first season (2020). The crew now need to prove their worth to the new US government in the face of increasing odds. General Naird, along with Dr Adrian Mallory (John Malkovich) and the rest, must find the best course of action to avoid getting axed while restructuring their program to accommodate budget slashes, quite like the show itself.

A much shorter season at seven episodes, ‘Space Force’ addresses some of its first season issues. Considering the changing political landscape, it makes sense for the show to focus on being a workplace comedy rather than satire.

With a dash of self-awareness, this second outing doubles down on characters with more potential and writes off those who didn’t work. Ben Schwartz’s Tony Scarapiducci is less smug and more effective at his job as he bonds more sincerely with his colleagues. However, while Dr Chan (Jimmy O. Yang) and Captain Angela Ali (Tawny Newsome) take on pivotal roles, their romantic interests are given more screentime, which may seem forced. The relationship with General Naird and his daughter Erin (Diana Silvers) is relatively effortless, mainly because it allows the multi-faceted Steve Carell to flex his dramatic acting skills.

His General Naird also displays shades of Carell’s most famous comedic character Michael Scott, in the best way possible. Then again, some of his funniest scenes are alongside John Malkovich, who still outshines everyone as Dr Adrian Mallory. Patton Oswalt makes the most of his limited appearance as a stranded astronaut.

By the end of the season, we spend enough time with these characters for them to grow on us gradually. The problem is most episodes feel like filler without a straightforward plot, simply stringing together a bunch of scenes with barely any semblance of an overall arc. There’s no sense of urgency to the team’s hijinks – an episode is dedicated to them pulling elaborate pranks on each other.

One suspects it has to do with the multiple writers for this shorter season. So, try as they might, the talented cast doesn’t have much to work with, in the larger scheme of events. After all, this is meant to be THE Space Force tasked with protecting the planet. The stakes ought to be so much higher instead of what we get. While that does come around in the finale, it works better as a setup for the next season.

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