Final Space

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While watchingFinal Space, a bunch of sci-fi touchstones kept coming to mind: Theres the obviousBuck RogersandStar Warsnods for space-based sci-fi/fantasy action, the dysfunctional space family comedy unit thats familiar toFuturamaandBravest Warriors, and the outright weirdness and randomness exemplified by shows in the vein ofRick and Morty. Theres even the hyper-cute death-weapon Mooncake, who conjures up memories of the cuddly alien menace fromLilo & Stitch.Final Spaceborrows some elements of all of these popular titles and peppers them in throughout the telling, but it really is its own unique story. In fact,Final Spaceswerves so severely from comedic beats in one moment to dramatic gut-punches in the next that youll find yourself laughing just before the wind gets knocked out of you and your jaw hangs open in disbelief. Did they really just do that? I asked myself a number of times over these six episodes. While this approach makesFinal Spacestand out, it also hampers it a bit because the uneven tone makes it difficult to pin down just what this show is trying to be. And that unevenness is exemplified in the often-selfish and occasionally heroic Gary, our protagonist.

Ultimately, I found myself wanting to see more, toknowmore about theFinal Spacestory after the first six episodes, because they end withquitethe cliffhanger. To say more would be a disservice, butFinal Spaceis worth the watch to find out more. Tune in to TBS tonight at 10:30pm ET/PT to join the adventure.

•Conan OBrienDavid TennantFinal SpaceOlan RogersReviewTBSTika SumpterTom Kenny

Final Spaceis also an incredibly well-produced series. ShadowMachines animation is glossy, smooth, and not afraid to get incredibly visceral on a number of occasions. And for a spacefaring action-adventure series, the animators grasp of scale comes into play quite often, whether its one already-massive spaceship being dwarfed by another, much larger vessel, or when one of our heroes runs afoul of a not-so-nice butterfly and almost ends up becoming bug-chow. The locales vary from exotic alien marketplaces, to dangerous industrial facilities, to neon-colored jungles; my only complaint here is thatFinal Spacemoves so quickly through these settings that the show never really gets a chance to catch its breath in any of them, save the prison ship HQ. Perhaps the best display of the shows willingness to get into the gritty realities of space dangers is the cold open of each episode which feature Gary in peril as HUE talks him through his last minutes alive. Each episode ticks a little further along on Garys clock as audiences are left to wonder how he got into this position, where his friends and allies are, and if hell make it out alive.

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TBS, the network of very funny programming, has a brand-new animated series to share with you tonight inFinal Space. But its not really a comedy at all. Despite the occasional one-liner or sight gag that elicits honest laughter,Olan Rogers creation is a darkly comic tale that is at its best when delivering space-based peril, harrowing displays of evil, and impossible decisions on the part of the heroes. A comedy it is not, but a visceral, engaging, and surprisingly high-stakes animated adventure-drama, it definitely is.

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Please have some patience with Gary; hes been on his own with no one to talk to but some frustrating robots for about five years. You see, hes a prisoner aboard the space ship Galaxy One, and hes a little rusty when it comes to his communication skills. Hes the core of this cast of characters: Hes watched over by the Galaxy Ones robot ensemble, which varies from the hyper-intelligent HUE (Kenny), to the irritating but occasionally useful KVN (Armisen), to an endless army of variously named bot-assistants/soldiers; hes also the caretaker of Mooncake, a curious creature who is sought after by the Lord Commander (Tennant) and his hired bounty hunters, like Avocato (Galloway); and hes the ever-awkward, one-sided love interest of Quinn (Sumpter), a Lawful Good space soldier who is forced to break bad. This dysfunctional family comes together in exciting ways that lead to a lot of conflict, and theyre tested in ever more traumatizing ways, with heart-breaking results. Its these characters that make the show worth watching.

Rogers voices a number of characters in his web series-turned-TBS show, including the protagonist Gary, the cute (and acutely powerful) alien creature Mooncake, and the silly, six-eyed sidekick Tribore. Hes supported by a fantastic cast includingTika Sumpter,Coty Galloway,Tom Kenny,Fred Armisen,David Tennant, andSteven Yeun. TBS and executive producersConan OBrienandDavid Sackspulled no punches forFinal Space, either in the shows fantastic production quality or in supporting Rogers vision for a series that blows right through conventional tropes to deliver some hard-hitting emotional beats alongside the occasional light-hearted jokes. Its something else. Be sure to check out its premiere tonight on TBS at 10:30pm, but read on for more of my thoughts on the debut.


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