REVIEWED: SEASON 2 (ALL EPISODES) | WHERE TO WATCH: SYFY UK, NOWTV
When Future Man debuted last year, expectations were simultaneously high and low. On the high end, it was a big, crazy, time-travelling bit of science fiction featuring a janitor turned saviour of the world named Josh Futturman, played by Josh Hutcherson, riding high off the success of The Hunger Games series. On the low, it was produced by Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, whose movie output together has been rather lightweight, focusing on stoner humour and sex jokes, with an emphasis on bodily functions.
Somehow, it all came together to make for a show which managed to include rampant profanity and filthy sex jokes, but also a surprising amount of heart and character development. Who would've thought the show's future warriors, Wolf (Derek Wilson) and Tiger (Eliza Coupe) - who are violent, profane, rat-eating badasses - would become fully-formed characters who each get storylines wherein the viewers become emotionally invested? Especially in a show where the main plot point revolves around a scientist acquiring herpes?
The second season then came with high hopes. However, rather than try to recreate the first season's time-travelling insanity, the show is set fully in the future, which was changed by the actions of Futturman, Tiger, and Wolf as they attempted to save the world. Future Man's second season might begin with the trio quipping and fighting as before, but by the end of the first episode, they've been split up, with all three ending up in very different situations.
Wolf is taken into the ‘New Above Ground’, wherein he becomes part of a six-person family group, and discovers that he's the doppelganger for a wheelmaker named Torque. Tiger ends up with Stu Camillo – who is now a hologram and preparing to send the population to Mars, because the world's been desiccated. Josh ends up kidnapped by a revolutionary group known as the Pointed Circle, where he is once again informed he could be the saviour of mankind. Each aspect is explored to the fullest possible grossness, with Wolf/Torque getting the lion's share of stickiness.
Given the fact that three main leads are operating solo, it leaves the second season feeling like each episode is a version of Beyond the TruffleDome or Prelude to an Apocalypse from the first, wherein Hutcherson, Wilson, or Coupe have to shoulder all of the plot themselves. Thanks to some great acting on behalf of the supporting cast, which includes Haley Joel Osment as Doctor Stu Camillo, the show is able to keep up the off-kilter vibe of the show's beginnings, even though the settings might not be as excitingly varied.
There's certainly more of a through-line here, however, and while it might not be as exciting, the second season shows that the programme definitely has legs as it demonstrates an ability to maintain a bigger narrative for an entire season. By situating its main characters in their own, individual narratives and not repeatedly digressing into oddball sidebars, Future Man strengthens Futturman, Tiger, and Wolf in ways it might have been able to, otherwise.
When the trio eventually reunites, they're all the more interesting as a unit, because there's something more behind the bickering and screw-ups, making the second half of the penultimate episode, along with the final instalment of the second season, something which is truly brilliant to behold. The third season looks to go crazy in ways viewers could never have anticipated.