“Wow, how the mighty have fallen.” That’s what I usually say when either a sequel to a beloved movie sucks ass, or how subsequent seasons in a television show completely tarnish what came before. I said that phrase about halfway into FUTURE MAN SEASON 3. Let’s be clear here: the first season of FUTURE MAN is a pretty damn near perfect sci-fi comedy. The storyline and time travel was crystal clear, the laughs were huge and earned, the characters had fantastic chemistry…literally everything works in that season. And then you get to Season 2, which for me was a disappointment right from the get go. They abandon all three of the main characters in this really boring future fuck up waste land story line and then the writers had the gall to separate them for about half the season, when their chemistry was critical in the fantastic season before. But then toward the end, the series found its groove, with that last 4 or 5 episodes (out of a 13 episode season, the first season was also 13 episodes) being hilarious and brilliant. Then this first two episodes of the new season I thought the momentum picked up from the end of the previous season. But then episode 3 hits, and all the way through the last shortened final 8 episodes, it all comes crashing down, with a ho hum kind of ending that makes you feel as if you wasted your time.
Season one felt like it had all the money in the world in accordance to its budget. There were people everywhere and the effects were decent for a Hulu Original. But then season two hit, there are less people everywhere, and it seems their production became really cheap for whatever reason. The effects weren’t as good, they couldn’t hire as many extras, and for their dumb wasteland storyline it seemed like they got a cheap permit to film out in the middle of nowhere. Maybe the first season didn’t do as well as they had hoped viewer wise, but enough to warrant a second, and then the second season did worse, but Hulu wanted to writers to wrap up the story, hence a very short 3rd season. Season 3 is as cheap as it comes television production wise. They enact another story line where they are stuck out in the middle of a nowhere forest quarry for 2 to 3 episodes and then when they are out in public near the end, when the year 2000 is about to hit, AT A COLLEGE DORM MIND YOU, there is not a soul or extra in sight. It just felt so damn cheap, and the effects this time are extremely laughable. Perhaps most of the budget went toward its stars and then a beefed up role for Seth Rogen, who co-executive produced the series? I don’t know, but I feel as though the lessened budget that Hulu gave the show did them no favors with the writers department. I’m 100% sure this wasn’t their original vision in how the show progressed or ended.
If you don’t know what this series is about, IMDB’s log line makes it simple: “Josh Futturman, 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’s basically a rude and crude retelling, re-imagining, what have you, of The Last Starfighter, in which this loser is recruited because he beats this unbeatable video game that was really just a test for who could end up saving a very desolate and depressing future. And the third season has the gall to bring up a question on everyone’s minds since the first episode, and without getting into spoilers, cuts off the characters explanation as a joke (basically the writers had no idea, so they turned the whole thing into a cut off joke just to get a laugh out of the audience and try to make them forget that we were asking this question since the first season in the first place. You’ll know what this question is if you’ve been loyal to the series in the first place. They bring it up one scene before the show ends here. It’s stupid and lazy. Part of the reason why I think the writers unfortunately had to go in another direction was not only because of budget, but because in the first season one of the actors, Glenne Headley, who play’s Josh’s mom, died in real life. I think the writers had plans for future seasons really involving his parents, but had to scratch that and write around her death. Which I understand, but they should’ve thought of something better. The main problem other than the cheap production value is that the series again keeps this characters in one location for two to three episodes, and those locations become boring fast. They introduce a new place called Haven, and without getting into spoilers, the concept was a neat one, but the execution was very shoddy.
Would I recommend watching this series at all? Probably just the first season, and ignore the cliffhanger. The first season is fantastic. The second season is meh until the very end, and the third season is hugely disappointing after a decent first two episodes (really an only episode and a half). It’s not terrible, terrible, it just feels very, very, very cheap all around and I don’t think what came to be was necessarily what the writers had planned as an endgame. They keep the three leads together mostly throughout this season, which their chemistry is their only saving grace. Josh Hutcherson (Hunger Games), Eliza Coupe (Happy Endings), and Derek Wilson (Preacher), don’t lose sight of their characters and even learn to make their arcs grow this season. And while I was really disappointed with how it all ended, I have sort of come to terms that it was probably the best the writers could come up with the budget that was given to them. When these companies have the writers write themselves out of a corner with a really small budget, sometimes (most of the time) it might’ve been better if they just quit while they were ahead. Yes, I’m saying that I wish this show was cancelled after season one. And with these last 8 episodes just dumped on Hulu this past weekend without any fucking marketing promoting the show was coming back, I guarantee you we were probably this close of not receiving a final season at all, but someone gave everyone involved sympathy money to wrap it up. Just ultimately really disappointing, and other than the first season, this show will be forgotten in time soon, with no future rewatches.