Space Force has been canceled by Netflix after two much-ballyhooed but not particularly viewed seasons. The Steve Carell-led comedy is the latest victim of Netflix’s harsh judgment, which is assumed to be mostly concerned with the number of watched streams than critical acclaim or pedigree. In this case, the series apparently did not perform up to snuff in its second season, despite a notable increase in its Rotten Tomatoes score. While Space Force may not have been one of the most popular shows on Netflix, it did have an amazing cast and premise, and we will be sorry to see share the same fate as The Baby-Sitters Club, Locke & Key, and Raising Dion.
When premiered on Netflix in May of 2020, Space Force had a lot of expectations behind it. The comedy show reunited lead actor/co-creator Steve Carrell with Greg Daniels, the showrunner behind the American adaptation of The Office and King of the Hill. The two had not worked together since The Office, which had slowly developed from a not particularly anticipated U.S. version of Ricky Gervais’ show to one of the more modern influential American sitcoms. In the meantime time, Carrell had become an Academy Award-nominated film star and Daniels had continued to produce well-regarded shows like The Mindy Project and Parks and Recreation. The idea of the two of them getting the band back together with Space Force to do a satirical take on the U.S. government and the foibles of space programs seemed like it should have been a lock.
It also helped that Steve Carrell and Greg Daniels recruit a truly amazing cast for Space Force. The show starred a roster of wild talent including John Malkovich, Lisa Kudrow, Jimmy O. Yang, Ben Schwartz, Tawny Newsome as its main cast. The show also included recurring roles for people like Noah Emmerich, Jane Lynch, Tim Meadows, Fred Willard, Patrick Warburton, and Diedrich Bader. The least of guest stars could fill a book, but we will leave it at that. Self-evidently, pretty much everyone in Hollywood was up for appearing in a new show from Carrell and Daniels. Regrettably, it appears audiences were not quite as excited for Space Force, and accordingly, neither was Netflix.
Space Force is just the most recent cancelation of an original show by Netflix. For every megahit like Stranger Things that manages to persist for five seasons, a dozen others do not hit the critical stream vs cost ratio that the platform is looking for. Netflix is particularly known for canceling shows after two seasons, so there is likely some hard number that an original program must hit by the point or get shut down. With its enormous cast, Space Force was likely not very cost-effective. The first season of the show received lukewarm reviews at best, currently ranked at 38% on Rotten Tomatoes. The second season was an impressive improvement at 90%, but it seems it simply was not enough for Steve Carrell and Greg Daniels. Rest in peace, Space Force.