Bit of a random one as American adult animated science fiction television series; Final Space, has not really made it over this side of the pond yet, so I write this review in hopes that it might spark your interest and you can to get involved, because, let me tell you, I love Final Space.
A friend at work recommended it to me and described it as a Rick and Morty-esc TV show, and my immediate thought was that it was going to be crap. Rick and Morty is quite a unique series, and for something to be piggy backing off of it would be terrible. It would be easy for it to just try and replicate Rick and Morty, and thankfully Final Space does NOT do that. The only way you can say that it is “like” Rick and Morty is if you see that it is an adult animated sci-fi 25 minute episode TV show. Other than that, the two are not really alike.
I just literally finished season 1, which comprises of 10 episodes. So you can easily smash it out in a few sessions. One thing I noticed was that every episode was consistent. There wasn’t some episodes that were better than others, the show remained a plateau, but in the best sense of the word; it didn’t get worse as the season went on. You will need to overcome that first initial pilot episode, which is always a bit of a strange one when going into any new TV show, as you have a lot to come to grips with and try and get into the mindset of it, but once you do and you move onto the second episode (which I found to be hilarious), I know that I could go back to episode 1 and enjoy it so much more.
The show itself follows Gary Goodspeed, who is currently locked up on board the Galaxy-1; an interstellar prison ship controlled by an AI; HUE, a robot called KVN (played by comedian; Fred Armisen) and an endless supply of worker robots. Whilst nearing the end of his 5 year imprisonment, Gary encounters a strange alien creature (a little green cute blob thing) who he calls Mooncake. Well it turns out that Mooncake is on the run from an evil alien overlord known as the Lord Commander (David Tennant) and he has sent bounty hunters to retrieve it.
Gary, HUE, KVN, and Mooncake, along with a bunch of other characters along the way; such as Avocato – a humanoid badass mercenary cat, Little Cato – Avocato’s son who is being held by the Lord Commander (played by Steven Yeun), Quinn – Gary’s love interest and the reason behind his imprisonment, Tribore – Quinn’s assistant, and Nightfall – A mysterious soldier from another time, all work together throughout the course of the season to try and fight against the Lord Commander and his men, and stop him from achieving his goal of FINAL SPACE!
Of course I have been very vague here as you discover more about the characters, the Lord Commander’s true intentions, the universe, and everything in-between, as the season progresses, so I do not want to ruin it for you as it was kind of the point of the show.
The only other two well known actors in the show are Keith David; who was in Rick and Morty funny enough, and Ron Pearlman, but a few other celebrates do a couple of voices at some point, such as Cohan O’Brien, and Gina Torres (be sure to google these actors/actresses and you will instantly recognise them). If the show does get picked up for a second season, which I can imagine that it will, there will be a lot more guest stars featured throughout it.
Each episode begins with a shot of Gary in what appears to be a flash forward of him floating around in space, stranded, in a spacesuit with his oxygen slowly decreasing. Over the ten episodes we see a minute of his life as it slowly counts down. This all happens before the shows intro, after this it then continues on the story where the previous episode left off (in a sense), and this continues on until the final episode when we, about two thirds of the way through, we are caught up to speed and find out what happened to Gary and how he got into this situation.
It is a nice little breadcrumb trail to follow that does do a good job of keeping us guessing, but at the same time not giving anything away. There are hints hidden within it, for those who care to look.
They are not afraid to throw a couple of twists and turns throughout the season. There are probably two major ones that caught me offguard and I did not expect. Because it is a cartoon, you expect shows like this to return to the status-quo after each episode, but here we have long lasting effects, such as an arm being ripped off, or a character’s death, which is quite unique for an animated series.
One thing I really liked about Final Space was how each episode was its own self-contained adventure (other than the last two but that is allowed as ep9 builds up the finale – as it should, and then ep10 delivers on this), unlike Rick and Morty, which I have found some of these episodes to be a little rushed, Final Space crams a LOT into its 25 minute time slot, yet somehow never feels rushed in the slightest.
There were episodes that could have easily been a good idea for a sci-fi movie, and it all took place during the shows runtime without feeling like a new age The Simpsons episode (where they are in too much of a hurry to speed the story along and jump from one plot to the next in a single episode).
Final Space knew where it was going and what it wanted to achieve and nicely cut its story into self contained chunks to digest easily. Each one gives you more information as to the overall plot of the show, whilst being a little adventure (with a beginning, middle, and end) all on its own.
I will say that finale does end on a strange note, but that is only so it could be left open for a second season. By the end of it we are not really sure where we stand or what has happened to pretty much most of the characters, but these questions are what will spawn a season 2.
Comedy-wise (as it is a comedy cartoon show), it is mainly hits with the occasional misfire. There were moments (albeit brief moments) when the comedy was a little… beneath them (such as the whole cookie thing), but most of the time it was pretty funny. I would find myself sniggering or smiling at most things, and occasionally properly laughing out-loud at some moments in the episode.
If I have to slag something off, then it is the intro is a little lame. There is something about it I am not overly fond of, but strangely I cannot quite put my finger on it. Of course this is just me actively looking for something to moan at this show about, but as you can tell, it is proving to be quite difficult.
Overall, I loved Final Space. I found it actually really interesting once it got going. Each character does bring something unique to the table and most of them are completely different by the end of their journey. If you enjoy Sci-fi shows, then this actually isn’t a bad one to follow. I did enjoy a lot of the themes brought up in this, even though it is just simply a comedy cartoon, yet I found it to be so much more.
I cannot recommend it enough, even if it does get a stigma of being another Rick and Morty. I can tell you that Final Space is NOT this and to go and check out the first 10 episodes for yourself.