Moonbase 8 (2 stars)

Moonbase 8

Lame space-themed sitcom that has plenty promise but zero levity

2020 will go down as the year that the space-based sitcom possibly croaked its last. First we had Armando Iannucci's disappointing Avenue 5 followed by the utter catastrophe that was the Steve Carell vehicle Space Force. And now, with full three-strikes-and-you're-out effect, Moonbase 8 arrives with a loud and lasting thud. As with the previous two shows, a strong cast suggested we would be blessed with quality programming, but it ultimately left the audience deflated even further at the paucity of proper comedy being dished up.

Tim Heidecker, Fred Armisen and John C Reilly are the trio in question who struggle for anything amusing to emote with a script that leaves them dangling time after time. Still, they have no one else to blame but themselves given that they created, wrote and exec-produced the whole affair. Over six episodes we take no great leaps with these half-wit losers who are brought together at an isolated, faux moonbase where little seems to happen; and when anything does it occurs very, very slowly.

Reilly is a slightly pompous wannabe leader, Armisen is often in the huff with everyone, and Heidecker is a gigantic misfit with his ultra-Christian viewpoints whose video calls home to his wife and large family hints with a sledgehammer that all is not well back at the ranch. The threesome are mainly alone to navigate their inner demons but without any enticing plots or quirky set-ups to hang onto, joined at one point by a group of thrusting young astronauts who don't want their boss, Elon Musk, to join forces with NASA (the fact that our non-heroes have no idea what NASA stands for should be a throwaway line but is lingered on for far too long, crushing the joy and humour out of the idea).

A show set in a simulated scenario which offers a mere approximation of a workable sitcom is almost too good to be true for anyone in the mood to do a bit of trashing. Sadly, Moonbase 8 makes that task very simple.

Sky Comedy, Monday 21 December, 9pm; all episodes available on NOW TV, Monday 21 December.

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