What made the first series of Future Man so fun was the time travelling shenanigans our semi-heroic trio got up to, it never took itself too seriously and though there was an over reliance on gross out gags in the early episodes it soon developed in to a smart and varied little show. Unfortunately Season two mostly decided to tell one long story in the future, and it’s a lesser beast for doing so. There have been great episodes – the first, eighth, eleventh and twelfth had some very funny moments and played around with ideas the show hadn’t touched upon previously, but most of the time it was all story and lacking in humour, and the jokes that were present sometimes fell flat.
It’s frustrating because the best episodes, a category which the thirteenth definitely falls in to, show how funny, inventive and original the series can be and when it’s not devoting too much of it’s time to the ongoing narrative. Following on from the previous episode’s cliffhanger Tiger (Eliza Coupe), Josh (Josh Hutcherson) and Wolf (Derek Wilson) are in Ultra Max, a futuristic prison, and due to be sentenced to death for their crimes against humanity. For it turns out that many of the other versions of themselves created in episode twelve went on to try and change history but instead screwed things up, indeed due to one of them a “Time travelling Bin Laden is knocking down buildings that aren’t even built yet”. Their time travel capers also ripped a hole in the space time continuum and destroyed 27 planets and 85 trillion aliens (many of whom looked like E.T.) and series producer Seth Rogen stars as Susan, one of their jailers, who reveals to them just how much they fucked up.
Pretty early on it becomes clear that all is not as it seems though, as Susan tries to get the gang to turn on one another promising them freedom if they claim that another is really responsible for the misery caused. He attempts to bribe them (Wolf is offered cigars and his old penis back, Tiger a record player and an album she loves) and plays various other psychological games in the hope that one will snap. It’s a really fun concept, as is the idea of all of the other Josh’s, Tiger’s and Wolf’s screwing around with history and it’s a shame they they didn’t explore such ideas in more depth, two or three episodes could easily have been cut from earlier on in the run (five, six and seven for instance) to allow them to do so.
At the end there’s a big reveal that I feel smug about guessing, but I’d be surprised if most didn’t cotton on as to what was going on. It didn’t lessen my enjoyment though as it was so tightly written, with a lot of great gags and visual jokes that made me laugh a lot. And a potential third season was set up which could be incredibly entertaining, though if the show does return I hope it decides against telling only one long story, a series arc is not an issue but a tale which is all too predictable and goes from A to B without much deviation will probably mean the season suffers from the same issues that this year’s batch of episodes did. And I would like to see it return, at it’s best it’s a pleasingly daft, fun and creative show with a great cast and appealing characters who I’d like to spend more time with.