Final Space – a review

Final Space premiered on Netflix in February this year with fairly little fanfare. I had seen very little information about this sleeper programme but needed something light to watch and so decided to give the ten 30 minute episodes a chance.

The series started out as the brainchild of actor and writer Olan Rogers who created a YouTube short 2 years ago based on an idea he had some six years ago. The 7 minute short had all the elements that the final series had with better polish.

The series works well in its short episodic form and has the feel of a ‘Futurama’ for a new generation. The series is full of slapstick and verbal wordplay but maintains drama and at times poignancy, something that ‘Futurama’ never achieved. In fact to compare ‘Final Space’ to ‘Futurama’ is to be a disservice to both shows. Final Space is unlike any other show I have seen.

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The characters are engaging and the lead, Gary is by equal terms heroic and moronic. He is eccentric and normal. He is neither the hero nor the antihero despite filling both roles at different times. Comedy can be very difficult to get across in the science fiction genre, think ‘Red Dwarf’ or ‘Hyperspace’. It is kind of a niche within a niche, in this case, it works, the humour is very much my kind of thing and carries the narrative along with it.

Without the humour, the series would be very dark indeed and much more adult in tone. It is rated TV-14 and the sexual references and violence support this but at no point does it feel gratuitous.

The plot is a simple sci-fi staple, a group of misfits thrown together to fight a great evil that risks the end of the universe. The animation is clean and well presented and there are some great voice actors including Olan himself as the lead Gary, David Tennant as the Lord Commander and guest parts by Gina Torres, Ron Perlman and Conan O’Brien.

I did feel that an 8 episode run might have worked better but this is a small thing. The series ends on a cliff-hanger with the opportunity for a second season which would be welcome but some part of me longs for a series to tell a story and be done, this is an issue with many shows and is more to do with the business side of the industry than storytelling.

Final Space is available on Netflix.

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