Future Man Season 1 has just been released on the ShowMax streaming platform, ahead of Season 2’s release in 2019. I received the first two episodes ahead of the full release, and this review is based on those two episodes alone.
I will admit, I’m someone that gets bored when comedy tries to replace being funny with just being obscene, but I do think there’s a very fine, delicate line possible where someone can cross the line twice in a specific way and create the best sort of black humour. One of my favourite shows to do that is Preacher, the adaptation of the comic book series. The developers of that show, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, are the same team responsible here with Future Man, and so I just had to take a look.
Future Man has a set up that is slightly clichéd, to the extent that the main character references some of the movie and TV plots that they are ripping off, as they are doing so. Josh Hutchersen, best known as Peeta from The Hunger Games movies, plays Josh Futterman, a typical loser with no particular drive or meaning in his life, aside from his constant efforts to be the first person in the world to beat one specific video game. When he does so, two of the characters from the game, Wolf (Wilson) and Tiger (Coupe) come to life, and inform him that the game was actually a training simulator sent back from the post-apocalyptic future, and that it was intended to find the chosen one who could prevent that future happening. They grab Josh, and start dragging him across different time periods to try and figure out how to stop the bad future from happening.
The show generally has a few action set pieces, with some gross-out humour mixed in. The main plot, for reference, focuses on them trying to stop a scientist who creates a cure for Herpes that leads to the end of the world, so they go back in time to try and prevent him ever getting herpes by stopping him hooking up at a party in 1969. That sort of thing.
Some of the jokes are misses and drag on too long, but some of them did generate a proper laugh from me, especially as they are given more time to build up. There seem to be an interesting array of actors involved here, and the lead three characters have an interesting dynamic between them. Some of the best jokes come when Tiger and Wolf, who have lived their entire lives in the war-torn future, are faced with anything normal in the modern age. When facing the police and making demands, they ask for the most priceless of treasures imaginable: a bucket of clean drinking water and a plump cat.
The show actually does seem to have a pretty good supporting cast in general – Keith David plays the unknowing scientist who starts the future war, and Haley Joel Osment, with an interesting beard, plays a jackass scientist at the same centre. Josh’s parents seem like great little side characters too, with both giving across a feeling of old hippies who are wonderfully supportive of Josh no matter what, despite how terrible his life is.
Future Man tries to do the same thing that Preacher does too, which is to have an ordinary world, and then introduce characters or groups of characters that are a bit weird or kooky in different ways, and finally bring them together for conflict or to pay off a long-building joke in some way. I kind of like this approach myself, if done correctly.
Some of Future Man feels a bit too clichéd right now, but the supporting cast has the potential to make up for that within their actors and characters. It doesn’t have the same age rating as Preacher, which means it can’t reach the same extremes. This is actually a pity in my opinion, as a show like this does better the fewer limits are put in it for that sort of thing. Perhaps it will find even more imaginative ways to create subject matter, but I think an 18 rating would have been good here, just so that it would have had no excuses.
Future Man Season 1
I think my final judgment of this show is cautiously optimistic: it has a lot of potential, and I will watch through the rest of the episodes and see where it takes me.