Future Man early buzz

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the world’s best video game player is recruited to fight in a battle to save the planet. That’s the plot of an increasing number of movies including The Last Starfighter, but now it’s also the plot of a new Hulu series called Future Man that hails from producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. But this show isn’t just a direct copy of The Last Starfighter: it also pays homage to Back to the Future, Top Gun, and lots of other ’80s classics while doing its own thing along the way.

The first reviews have hit the web, so gather around to read the Future Man early buzz before the show officially premieres later this month.

Here’s the trailer, just as a refresher:

Den of Geek has some extremely high praise for the new series:

With Future Man, Hulu may just have accomplished what many have tried but few have succeeded in doing: creating the perfect comedy/science-fiction hybrid.

The Hollywood Reporter says the show wears its influences on its sleeve:

There’s a process that’s repeated multiple times when watching the new Hulu comedy Future Man.

First, you get notice a character or beat that feels incredibly familiar and you think, “Man, this show is totally ripping off… [Insert The Last Starfighter or Terminator or Back to the Future].”

Then, just as you’re about to be frustrated, Future Man will make explicit reference to the thing being mimicked or echoed, not as a wink or nudge but as a, “Yes, we know what we’re doing and we know that you know” acknowledgement.

Is it clever and knowing or is it obvious and pandering? The correct answer is probably, “Yes. All of those things.”

As to be expected from a Rogen/Goldberg joint – especially one created by the writers behind the ridiculously graphic and over-the-top animated movie Sausage Party – the humor in Future Man can be juvenile to say the least. According to CNET’s review:

If you’re a nerd looking for a smart sci-fi comedy that speaks to you, “Future Man” is probably going to disappoint. The closest the show comes is with a funny episode that seems almost entirely dedicated to lampooning “Avatar” director James Cameron. But the episode includes just as many jokes about Cameron’s earlier 1997 blockbuster “Titanic,” letting all the geeks know that we are not necessarily the show’s target audience.

Just because “Future Man” doesn’t quite deliver the savvy, nerdy laughs of an Edgar Wright production, that’s not to say it isn’t often hilarious and worth watching. The relationship that develops between Wolf and the disembodied artificial intelligence that runs James Cameron’s smart home is particularly funny, and there’s plenty of other digs at tech staples like Apple and Siri that also land.

If you set your expectations low and can tolerate some gratuitous vomiting and an exploding head every now and then, “Future Man” just might be the temporary escape from the present you’re looking for.

But Entertainment Weekly says that while the show may not level up as a whole in the seven episodes the press were able to preview, at least there’s more going on in it than dirty jokes:

But the humor goes beyond the easy laughs, skewering everything and everyone from gamers (“Why would anybody play video games if they could do a bunch of cool s— in real life?” Josh asks) to Bill Cosby, kombucha, and Corey Hart. Hutcherson is likably lost as the loser turned hero, but the show’s real saviors are Tiger [Happy Endings’ Eliza Coupe] and Wolf [Preacher’s Derek Wilson], with their ill-conceived attempts at transitioning from violent video game players into actual human beings walking around Los Angeles.

Though the video game hook is important to get the ball rolling, IGN says the series doesn’t do much in the way of commentary on video game culture:

Unfortunately its handling of video games as a main, driving plot point is less intriguing. The series pays some lip service to games at the start — BioShock and Halo get name-dropped, while a discussion about Luigi’s anatomy is a funny way to kick things off. But the premiere then settles into only depicting games as bloody affairs that obsessively pull players away from their lives. If the pilot is any indication, Future Man isn’t really acting as a commentary on gaming culture, but it certainly has plenty of room to play with there depending on how much of a focus the show spends on Josh’s love of gaming in the future.

After reading a handful of reviews, I think these closing lines from The Washington Post sum it up best:

It’s a dumb, profane and predictable show that works because it never once aims for greatness. Everyone here just wants the viewer to enjoy the ride.

All thirteen half-hour episodes of the first season of Future Man arrive on Hulu on November 14, 2017.

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