Future Man was the show I never saw coming. A Hulu Original series, it dive-bombed in out of nowhere in 2017 to become my new favourite TV show since I can’t even remember when.
The plot centres around Josh Futterman (Josh Hutcherson), a janitor who still lives at home with his parents and spends countless hours playing the unbeatable video game Bionic Wars. When he finally does become the first person in history to beat Bionic Wars, he is visited by Tiger (Eliza Coupe) and Wolf (Derek Wilson), warriors from humanity’s horrendous dystopian future. Thinking Josh is the greatest fighter ever known to man, Tiger and Wolf recruit Josh to help them change the future.
Future Man‘s season one is fresh, funny, and wonderfully aware that, yes, its plot is ripped from The Last Starfighter. Also, yes, you need to watch season one before starting season two or you will be completely lost. In fact, if you haven’t seen season one, stop reading right now because I’m about to drop A BUNCH OF SPOILERS.
Season two picks up right after season one’s conclusion. Josh is still in prison after being convicted as the “Krono-bomber.” When he starts seeing strange flashes of light in his cell, he finds himself suddenly in the future, liberated by a group calling themselves the Pointed Circle. They say he is the only one who can save the world from Dr. Stu Camillo (Haley Joel Osment), now a 150 year old A.I. bent on taking humanity to Mars. Naturally, things are not what they seem.
Meanwhile, Tiger and Wolf have escaped the Bionic’s poison gas, but when Tiger is unaffected by it, but she realizes she is a Bionic–the very thing she dedicated her life to destroying. Keeping this realization to herself, she and Wolf come upon a primitive community of technology-shunning humans. Tiger leaves Wolf at this community, called the NAG (New Above Ground), to recover from his wounds while she once again encounters Stu and sees firsthand the impact she has had on his life and on the future.
At the NAG, Wolf is mistaken for Torque, this timeline’s version of himself. To buy time until he can escape, he assumes Torque’s identity, but soon realizes he loves his new family and community. How these three plotlines come together, break apart, and come together again gives us the roller coaster of Future Man‘s season two.
In many ways, these 13 episodes have the familiar vibe of a second instalment. The characters are a bit lost. Without their lifelong mission, they need to find a new reason to keep going, to figure out what they really want out of life. Likewise the plot can feel, at times, a little lost itself. The pacing is far slower than season one (although the humour is still on point and 100% worth the showing up for). Far, far too much time is spent on Wolf’s bizarre life in the NAG as he tries to learn to be Torque the Wheel Maker and adjust to six-way married life (since every family has three husbands and three wives).
Things do eventually pick up once Wolf is pried from the NAG, and the season goes out on high note. In fact, if we’d not spent twelve episodes watching the characters struggle largely on their own, the final moments of episode thirteen wouldn’t have nearly the same impact. Although the show does make an odd reveal about the effects of time travel that I think creates more plots holes than are worth the jokes wrought from it, the end definitely left me unable to wait for season three.
While not the complete grand slam that its first season was, Future Man‘s season two is still one of the funniest, smartest shows out there. You should watch it. Seriously.
TBG Score: 8/10