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Space Force review roundup: here's what the critics are saying about the new Netflix series

(Image credit: Netflix)

You might think that the team behind the beloved The Office US, including its star Steve Carell, would be well suited to make another compelling workplace comedy (this time with space rockets). But, according to critics, things haven’t quite clicked the second time around.

Space Force spotlights Carell’s General Mark Neird, who is tasked with leading the United States’ new Space Force and getting “boots on the moon” – no easy task with his ragtag group of new colleagues. Among which are John Malkovich and Ben Schwartz, a charming duo that GamesRadar+ got to chat with about the series and what’s keeping them entertained in lockdown.

Whilst critics were left lukewarm upon watching the show, there’s still some fun to be found. Below is a spoiler-free selection of Space Force reviews from various outlets with various reactions to the anticipated series…

Space.com – Chelsea Gohd – N/A

“From the ‘chimpstronaut,’ who floats away from a Space Force satellite to be scooped up by an enemy satellite, to sporadic, delightful appearances (and one perfectly executed fart joke) from the recently deceased Fred Willard, who was an absolute comedic maven, Space Force is an easy-to-enjoy breath of fresh air and a must-watch.”

Variety – Caroline Framke – N/A

“After watching the whole first season, it’s hard to say what kind of story or comedy “Space Force” is trying to be. This kind of identity crisis isn’t unique; most freshman comedies need a bit to settle into their grooves and ultimate intentions. Still, given the talent and enormous machine behind it, Space Force should by all rights be better than ‘fine.’”

Entertainment Weekly – Kristen Baldwin – C+

“There’s an immense amount of talent on screen in Space Force, from the main ensemble to the recurring cast, which includes Jane Lynch, Patrick Warburton, Diedrich Bader, Fred Willard, Ben Schwartz, Dan Bakkedahl, and Jessica St. Clair. What the show lacks is any kind of comedic vision, or even a fully-formed concept. If space is a vacuum, Space Force is a kind of TV black hole: A-list stars and lots of Netflix money go in, and what comes out is a big old nothing.”

The Independent – Ed Cumming – 3/5

“There are a few good one-liners, as when Naird urges his Angela to embrace her official job title of Spaceman, or encourages a group of schoolchildren to become ‘space cadets.’ But the series struggles to get out from under the biggest joke of all, which is that it is based on a real US government department. It’s material for a sketch, rather than a whole series, and it would be funnier if it wasn’t true.”

The Guardian – Lucy Mangan – 2/5

“It’s a little bit like a workplace parody, except that the core group isn’t big or stable enough to allow relationships to develop. Malkovich as scientist Adrian Mallory is Naird’s most frequent sparring partner and they are wonderful together, even if it remains physically and constitutionally impossible for the former not to steal every scene he’s in, even from such an accomplished player as Carell.”

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, bringing you the latest on movies and TV. I think about The Last of Us almost everyday and will fight to the death defending Spy Kids as a cinematic masterpiece.