**No Spoilers. Pinky Swear**
When I moved into my new place in May, I cut myself completely off from the archaic rules of standard cable, leaving commercials and 80 channels I’ll never watch behind forever. Embracing the streaming utopia of Netflix, HBO GO (gotta get my Game of Thrones on), and Hulu I never looked back, discovering some amazing original series in the process.
Unfortunately commercials do still exist on YouTube (probably just as much as cable), and while waiting for my next puppy video to load I came upon the trailer for Future Man which immediately caught my eye. But what the fuck is Future Man?
Josh Futturman (Josh Hutcherson), a janitor by day and a gamer by night, is recruited by mysterious visitors to travel through time to prevent the extinction of humanity.
It seemed amusing enough, and with little knowledge beyond the trailer I decided to check out the pilot following its release last week. Within two days I binged through the entire 13 episode season. Once I awoke from my TV induced coma I did what I always do, and went online to read the reviews and gauge people’s opinions on the series.
What was most surprising was how little anyone was talking about this show. Was it because of Hulu? Was it because of its niche genre? Was it because of the cast? At the end of the day none of those things made sense to me based on what I had just watched.
Hulu vs. Netflix
I know Netflix gets all the play around these parts, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love the Netflix Original Series (Master of None, Love, the various MCU series, and of course Stranger Things) myself. But Hulu has gotten great buzz for some of its original series, with 11.23.63 getting a big push when it was released last year and one of the main reasons I bought the streaming service in the first place. Plus Future Man was produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, a powerhouse combo when it comes to comedy and genre (This Is The End has easily become one of my all-time favorites).
A Science Fiction Time Traveling Comedy Drama
While the genre might narrow its appeal, who doesn’t love a fun story about time travel? One of my favorite things about Future Man was the way it played with its story, subverting expectations and playing things straight when I fully expected slapstick.
Playing with its tone throughout its run also helped keep me on my toes with the plot, with Beyond the Truffledome taking the cake. Whereas I fully expected the time travel shenanigans to get retconned by the finale, I was surprised by how much things stuck till the end.
Though the language was a hard R from the get go, I noticed that the back half of the season embraced the lack of restriction with regards to nudity, leading to a hysterical dick gag (phrasing?) that had memories of The Overnight rushing back to me. I’m not sure if the show was in development elsewhere before ending up on Hulu, but I hope that if the series gets a second season they’ll push the envelope even farther.
The cast was probably the strongest asset of Future Man, with Hutcherson playing a fantastic straight man and likeable loser. Eliza Coupe and Derek Wilson play rebels from the future, and while I started the series off bored with Wilson’s portrayal of Wolf, he was my absolute favorite character by the finale.
Plus Haley Joel Osment! Holy shit! Where’s he been? For such a small supporting role HJO knocks it out of the park, playing various versions of his character Dr. Camillo (spoiler?). Future Man also benefited from a fantastic supporting cast including Ed Begley Jr, Glenne Headly (RIP), and Keith David. One of the biggest compliments I can give the series is also the casting of the younger versions of these characters, who really embodied their older actor. The casting of young Ed Begley Junior was particularly inspired.
In the end I doubt anything I will say will push you to watch Future Man. If you’re looking for something light, funny, and easy to digest (half hour episodes rule!) I’d encourage you to give it a shot. Worst case you don’t like it, and go watch Stranger Things again for the 9th time anyway.
Check out Eric Thurm’s AV Club reviews of Future Man for a more in-depth look at individual episodes!
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