Many in the defense world were uncertain about the establishment of the final frontier’s military branch, and the Netflix show by the same moniker faced similar skepticism after its first season.
After a shaky start, however, ‘Space Force’ season two has seemingly won over the hearts and minds of viewers.
The story picks up three months from where it left off, with Space Force commander Gen. Mark Naird (Steve Carell) testifying at the Pentagon after saving the lives of both U.S. and Chinese space crews from starting World War III on the moon.
As Naird testifies in a meandering monologue that only Carell can do, his nemesis, Gen. Kick Grabaston (Noah Emmerich), berates, attacks, and outright lies about the events that forced the Space Force crew into the bowels of the Pentagon to share what happened at the end of the first season.
Having seen both, but not wanting to spoil anything further, the second season does deviates from the first, taking cues from ‘The Office.’
Carell, who produced both shows with creator Greg Daniels, brings a little bit of that Michael Scott charm to Naird, endearing audiences to him in a way that clamoring ‘Office’ fans wanted but simply couldn’t justify during the first season.
The result is pure magic that translates to the entire cast, with heavy hitters like John Malkovich as Dr. Adrian Mallory and Ben Schwartz as F. Tony picking up the comedic mantle in new and exciting ways.
Luckily, the alterations didn’t impact the way the show earnestly lambasts the Defense Department and its absurdities. Two particularly hot topics tackled in the season: Space Force’s budget and international relations.
In the second episode, Naird’s attempt at ameliorating foreign relations between the U.S. and China as it relates to space colonization features an exchange between the general and his counterpart that rival what happens when you bring a significant other from a completely different walk of life home to meet your parents for the first time at Thanksgiving, and they try way too hard to assimilate.
The result is equally disastrous, which makes for excellent viewing. Who can’t relate to attempting unsuccessfully to use chopsticks and dropping tofu in their water glass?
Though ‘Space Force’s’ future was shaky at the end of the first season, the second, having achieved an 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes thus far, looks like it may have secured a follow-up to infinity and beyond, or at least until Netflix decides it’s no longer a moneymaker.
As Naird says after narrowly escaping a prison sentence at the end of the first episode, “Space Force isn’t going anywhere.”
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digital Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.