Steve Carell returns to Netflix in ‘Space Force’ trailer

General Naird (Steve Carell) reacts to news that he will be in charge of the US Space Force. © Netflix / YouTube

LOS GATOS: A first trailer for “Space Force” sets up Steve Carell’s General Naird as the divisional chief doomed to fail and John Malkovich as Dr Mallory, the expert scientist assigned not only for his knowledge but also, in all likelihood, his ability to annoy his superiors.

The question is, though, do we want to see Naird faceplant spectacularly, or should he and his ragtag group of Space Force founding members make the best of a difficult situation?

Maybe both, the trailer suggests, ahead of a May 29 premiere.

Carell and Malkovich are joined by Lisa Kudrow (“Friends”) and Diana Silvers (“Booksmart”) as Naird’s supportive and perceptive family, Ben Schwartz (“Parks & Rec”) as a departmental appointee with a mind for good publicity, Tawny Newsome (“Brockmire”) as a Space Force recruit, Noah Emmerich (“The Americans” as Naird’s Air Force rival, and Jimmy O. Yang (“Silicon Valley”) as a staff scientist.

It’s also a posthumous outing for the recently departed Fred Willard, whose credits include “Modern Family,” “Best in Show,” “Anchorman” and “This is Spinal Tap,” credited as Naird’s high-ranking father across all ten episodes of the new series.

While “Space Force” is at least tangentially inspired by the real world, it’s not being presented as political commentary.

Netflix has past history with this sort of approach, though 2017’s satirical “War Machine” clung closer to factual reporting, with Brad Pitt in the lead as a fictional army general and its source material an earlier non-fiction account.