Tonight’s edition of NBC’s Saturday Night Live included a second-half skit that took aim at Ad Astra, The Martian, The First Man, Gravity, and other astronaut screen epics that often follow a predictable flight path on their way to outer-space drama.
The skit took the form of a faux trailer for a make-believe movie called Space Mistakes, which may have lived up to its name by unintentionally giving a swift-kick-in-the-astronaut to one of SNL’s advertisers: Apple TV+ and its interplanetary saga For All Mankind.
Ronald D. Moore’s ambitious space exploration drama For All Mankind is on the launchpad and awaiting the Nov. 1 liftoff of Apple TV+, one of the two intriguing new competitors that promise to reshape the streaming marketplace (the other one is Disney+, arriving Nov. 12). The large-scale saga has an offbeat premise (it chronicles the history of the U.S. space program in an alternate reality where the Russians reached the Moon first) but the nuances of that might have been hard for NBC viewers to fully take-in if they were still chuckling about the over-the-top Space Mistakes trailer that had just concluded.
The pre-recorded Space Mistakes skit was one of SNL’s in-show mini-movies (complete with visual effects, multiple settings and set-ups, sound effects, etc) and it featured a number of the show’s troupe as well as the night’s guest host, Chance the Rapper, as the leader of a looming space mission.
The opening voiceover: “From the producers who enjoyed Apollo 13, Ad Astra, Gravity, and The Martian, another movie about the dangers of space…” Chance the Rapper’s character is dying goodnight to his young son and assuring the anxious boy that his daddy would be careful to avoid errors beyond the earths atmosphere. “I promise because that would be the worst place to make one.”
The astronaut’s wife is apparently a frequent moviegoer because she’s well-versed in the heavy history of weightless disaster. “You said last time was the last time. I’m worried you’ll make a mistake. You could crack your helmet, spin too fast, push the wrong thing and the top comes off, your tube could pop, the window could ka-boom!”
The action follows Chance to the launchpad where he gives his crew a pep talk. “Well you know what they say: in space no one can hear you make a mistake.” Mission control “lights the candle” and the rocketmen the off. But one of the crewmen doesn’t have his seat belt on…which doesn’t end well for him as he becomes the bloody pulp lining the rear wall of the cockpit. The casualties don’t end there, of course. What about the character played by the guest host? Turns out this space voyage never had a Chance on the return trip.
Too bad, really, we didn’t get a chance to suggest a new update we had a new motto to suggest, one that takes a bite out of Apple TV: “In space, no one can hear you stream.”