Friday, November 17, 2017

Pilot Review: Future Man

Future Man (Hulu)
Premiered November 14

I didn’t know anything about this show going on, and, the way it started, I would have expected it to be a much more kid-friendly show. That was far from the case thanks to the violence of its signature video game, the strong language featured throughout, and of course Josh’s unforgettably unfortunate introduction to the two very real soldiers from the game. This concept is a cool one, with an expert video gamer without any other real accomplishments to speak of regarded as a highly intelligent and capable savior thanks to his ability to master a video game which was actually a simulation sent to find the one person who could beat it. There are a number of fun references to other well-known instances of time travel in popular culture, though this show shouldn’t be confused for anything like “Back to the Future.” It’s far from the smartest show around, but its brilliance makes more sense when put into the context of producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who made “Superbad,” a movie that was much smarter than it looked or sounded. Josh Hutcherson is making a leap from action fare for teenagers to a far less censored kind of series, one that allows him to use its know-how to keep his future friends from completely giving themselves away and killing everyone in their path, guilty or not. I’m most excited about the casting of Eliza Coupe from “Scrubs” and “Happy Endings” in a role that’s perfect for her as the impatient, no-nonsense Tiger. Ed Begley Jr. is also great as Josh’s father, and the late Gleanne Headly was a good scene partner for him as his mother. I didn’t expect to like this show, but I look forward to seeing what episode two has to offer.

How will it work as a series? They went back to 1969 and have to stop Keith David’s Dr. Kronish from contracting herpes – an outrageous mission in itself – and I assume they’ll encounter many things that the future soldiers won’t be able to understand, leading Josh to enlighten them with his particular brand of wisdom. That should manage to be pretty fun, though it could get ridiculous.
How long will it last? The reviews seem to be pretty good, and, with the recent cancellation of “Difficult People,” this is now one of Hulu’s only comedy series. I think it’s going to attract a good enough audience for the streaming service, and I have little doubt that it will be renewed for a second season.

Pilot grade: B+

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