TV review: Moonbase 8
Being trapped with other people has been the basis of many a sitcom - and long before the pandemic made the world miss human contact.
Moonbase 8 is the latest astronaut-based series, a number of which have popped up recently.
Last year, Steve Carell missed the mark with his big-budget take on an ineptitude-laced race to the moon in Space Force.
Now it is the turn of Fred Armisen, John C. Reilly and Tim Heidecker.
If you recognise the names, then you know the type of comedy to expect. Awkward, wittering and often overlong improvisation.
Separately, each of these comedians have provided plenty of laughs. But here, it is a very dry affair - drier than Moonbase 8's desert location.
Cap (Reilly), Skip (Armisen) and Rook (Heidecker) are wannabe astronauts, stuck in an Arizona training facility, failing to prove they are worthy of a moonshot.
They have been there for months yet it turns out, after they are briefly joined by a much more efficient female astronaut, the test can be completed in a matter of days.
The trio are happier to avoid the troubles of the real world and be kept in tinned bagels.
As a recurring sketch on something like Armisen's Portlandia, these three could be endearing. Stretching it to 30 minutes means too much needs to be filled.
It lacks pace, purpose and, crucially for a comedy, regular laughs. There are occasional funny moments. The attempt at "de-peed" water is delivered well and so is their complete failure to recall what Nasa stands for.
Of all the possibilities offered– including "Isn't it just a word? Nasa?"– the space agency should really consider changing to Nautical Astronomy Society of Adventure.
But as a whole, Moonbase 8 is adrift as if it were floating in space.
It is not a difficult watch, but the gentleness does take it into visual wallpaper territory.
Without a clear goal driving the narrative, you have to want to spend time with these characters, but they are not fully defined and their personas neither advance nor devolve.
With the talent involved, a second series will have to aim for the moon.
Tuesdays at 10pm on FX (StarHub TV Ch 507/Singtel TV Ch 310)