Review: Final Space (Netflix)

I’ll say up front that this is not a positive review. I’m mainly going to be writing negative things. Having said that, I watched all the episodes without being under duress and I genuinely wanted to know what happened next. It was like a decent cake with terrible icing on top — you really can’t ignore how terrible the icing is and are mystified that the baker thought that was the best bit.

Final Space is a 12 episode ‘adult’ cartoon series available on Netflix. It follows the adventures of amiable loser Gary Goodspeed who adopts a weird alien creature called Mooncake, who is also a plot McGuffin being sought by the evil Lord Commander (voiced by David Tennant).

The series was created by Olan Rogers, an “independent internet filmmaker” (according to Wikipedia) who also voices the main character, Gary. Gary is as annoying as hell. Olan Rogers also voices the character Tribore. Tribore is also as annoying as hell. Neither character is funny — I mean not funny to me, apparently, Olan Rogers finds them hilarious. Everything is just dialled up to high with these characters so that it feels like every line is meant to be rib-achingly funny. Maybe it’s just me but they aren’t.

In Episode 1, Gary has been sentenced to a kind of community-service/imprisonment on a space-ship that is otherwise only populated by a ship’s AI, a horde of identical androids and a floating ball like robot called Kevin. A running joke is that Kevin is meant to be so, so annoying that Gary (who is terminally lonely in space) hates him despite/because he is the only company. Kevin is much, much less annoying than Gary.

Gary has been cut from a rough Phillip J Fry Futurama pattern, but without the naive charm and with what appears to a huge chunk of Zapp Branigan DNA. In the early episodes, a running joke is Gary sending regular messages to Quinn, a member of an elite space force who he tried to chat up in a bar once (setting off a chain of events leading to his arrest). Which, yes, just seems creepy stalkerish rather than funny/pathetic. Yes, eventually Quinn does fall in love with him. Yes, this is terrible on multiple levels, from just plain bad, cliched plotting to a disturbing model of relationships.

BUT, aside from the main character being an unfunny, over-acted, creep who is meant to be funny but singularly fails to be and a plotline where he gets the girl despite all that because apparently, the way to true romance is to just pester people you like, the show is actually OK. Remove the central character and it’s not bad.

It’s basically a fun kids cartoon but with more violence and (generally mild) sexual references. With a small amount of effort, it could have been a really good kid’s cartoon instead of whatever it ended up being. There’s a decent story underneath and some interesting twists. Secondary character Avocato — a space mercenary with a complex past and a missing son — is interesting. Quinn is interesting (except when terrible plotting of relationships takes hold) and the evil antagonist Lord Commander is suitably evil.

I wouldn’t want to recommend you watch it as for some readers it might result in them using their mobile device as a projectile aimed at the wall but it is sort of a better show than it deserves to be.

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7 comments

  1. frasersherman

    “In Episode 1, Gary has been sentenced to a kind of community-service/imprisonment on a space-ship that is otherwise only populated by a ship’s AI, a horde of identical androids and a floating ball like robot called Kevin.”

    Um, didn’t MST3K use the same set up?

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  3. Artificer

    This seems to be the only review of the show I’ve found that reflects my own experience of it. I started watching it because of the comparisons to Rick & Morty and Futurama. I’m continuing to watch purely for the story and sci-fi setting but I hate the main character and find the attempts at try-hard humour to be puerile and tiresome. It confounds me that so many people, my friends included, seem to love it.

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