Published Nov 09, 2020As much a fascinating and funny character study as a project made by pals who want to hang out with each other all day, Moonbase 8 is an eerily timed series about three American men whose otherworldly dreams of transcending their ordinary lives are tempered by pensive self-isolation.
Fred Armisen, Tim Heidecker and John C. Reilly play aspiring astronauts living together on a simulated moonbase, dutifully waiting for NASA to peg them for a mission to the real deal. As the show unfolds, we learn that each team member is dealing with obvious and subtle traumas, stemming from familial and life pressures, which result in a heightening of their idiosyncrasies and neuroses.
As it happens, some of their traits and tics are highly amusing. Armisen is a fastidious know-it-all doing his best to live up to his father's legacy, who was a NASA star himself. Heidecker is a devout Christian who can't get through a basic prayer without faltering, and he has buried his conflicted feelings about his litter of children with a wife who has a wandering eye. And Reilly, as their nominal leader, is a delusional, cocky and ultimately hapless alpha male (with a baby-like craving for skin-on-skin contact), fleeing debts by trying like hell to get off of Earth.
Though few, the guest stars here are impactful and, hilariously, disrupt the core trio's daily routines. But this is truly a show about three amigos who are, quizzically, trapped on some lunar-like Gilligan's Island, forced to deal with each other in close quarters, and also to confront endearing truths about themselves. Alternately still and freakishly manic, with memorable scenes and remarkable comedic performances, Moonbase 8 feels rather perfect for our times and provides a much-needed and relatable dose of entertainment and joyful release. (Showtime)