NEW TO SHOWTIME! In our current reality, there are efforts to establish a base on the moon. In the world of television, there is Showtime’s Moonbase 8. This comedic sci-fi series is set in a mock lunar base in Arizona. Moonbase 8 is designed to simulate the isolation and conditions of living on the moon (see Spaceship Earth), and if successful, the crew of Moonbase 8 will go on to officially live on the moon.
Their job is to live life as if they were actually on the moon, which means they must grow their own food, conduct experiments, and put on spacesuits if they want to go outside. The astronaut candidates are Cap (John C. Reilly), Rook (Tim Heidecker), and Skip (Fred Armisen). Each has their reason to ensure this mission succeeds. Cap is recently divorced and estranged from his children, so going to the moon would mean that there’s a shot his kids will respect him as a father. Rook is a devout Christian and was sent by his church to spread the Gospel across the universe. Skip’s father was an astronaut, so now he’s an astronaut.
Each episode finds some odd event that endangers not only their undertaking but also the loose thread that holds the team together. In the first episode, Cap accidentally empties the team’s monthly water supply just days into the month and decides to dig a well for water leading to disastrous results. In the next episode, Rook wants to abandon the mission because he thinks his pastor is moving in on his attractive wife and rather large brood of children. Plus, someone in the neighboring Arizona community is stealing supplies and equipment from the base, but they always just miss catching the thief because of the time it takes to put on their spacesuits.
“…going to the moon would mean that there’s a shot his kids will respect him…”
I wouldn’t say that Moonbase 8 is laugh-out-loud hilarious, but it’s funny, warm, and endearing. The joke is that the weekly mishaps “jeopardizing” the simulation would never actually happen on the moon—case in point, the local thief stealing supplies from the base. It’s all part of the overall silliness.
But really, the show’s charm and appeal is the cast. Strung together from the comedy greats of the 2000s, Reilly, Armisen, and Heidecker have fantastic chemistry as the three astronauts sorely underqualified for such a critical mission and makes you question NASA’s recruitment process. They are earnest characters, each with lofty reasons to be in space… at least in their own minds.
Moonbase 8 is not exactly must-see viewing. It’s a low-key comedy since it’s just three guys isolated in a single location with an occasional visitor to spice things up. Fortunately for us, we’re trapped with the right three guys.
"…the show's charm and appeal is the cast."