In my review of the first episode of season two of Future Man I was largely positive about the show, though did complain that it was a tad plot heavy. Unfortunately that’s been the case with every episode since, and the story hasn’t been that involving as our trio have been stuck in a bleak future and often spending the time being fairly miserable, with Josh (Josh Hutcherson) suffering a particularly great amount which hasn’t been fun to watch. The one exception to this has been Wolf (Derek Wilson) who’s taken to his new life with something approaching joy, going from being a wheel maker to the leader of the humans within the space of a few episodes.
There have been highlights, including a spoof of the Growing Pains opening credits in the fourth episode, Tiger (Eliza Coupe) messing about with this universe’s version of herself, and Josh having to crawl over a pile of dead versions of himself that the bionics had been experimenting upon, but all too often it’s been all story and very little attempts at humour at all, and when it’s tried to be funny it’s raised a smile but little more than that. I was contemplating quitting the show but a friend persuaded me to stick with it saying the second half of the season improved, and while episode seven was fairly nothing-y and led to Wolf and Tiger having a big falling out after the former discovered that Tiger’s been a bionic all along, the eighth episode is a big step up and the first time I’ve enjoyed an episode since the beginning of it’s second run.
It’s mainly a lot stronger because we escape the depressing future and head back to the past, all thanks to Stuart (Hayley Joel Osment) and his virtual reality machine allowing him and Tiger to spend time back in the past, and even if it isn’t real it allows Tiger to devour a cat taco. The VR device also lets them to spend time reliving some of Tiger’s happiest memories too, including the time she tasted sugar as a child (even if it was due to finding a dead body holding it) and then having a bit of a chat with Estelle Kronish (Diona Reasonover), the one woman she bonded with in the past.
After this Tiger finally becomes more playful, heading back in to Stuart’s fantasy and mucking about for a change, it’s the series finally having fun again and it’s frustrating it took seven episodes to get to this point. There’s even a song and dance number with beautifully funny lyrics and Osment and Coupe sing the hell out of it, and when they return to reality it’s still sweet and amiable, though this is Future Man so they manage to insert a couple of sex jokes, the difference here being that they’re actually funny for a change.
In the review of the first episode I said “It’s never going to be the kind of series which offers insights in to life or which has something thoughtful to say about it’s characters” but it turns out I was wrong about that, especially when it comes to Tiger and her place in the world and there’s also been reflection on what it means to exist and the nature of society. It’s not always been a positive thing as some of the previous episodes have shown, but at least this in this eighth episode they’ve remembered how fun it can be to play around with such ideas in a non-bleak context and I only hope the rest of the season continues along these lines.