REVIEW: Final Space

Adrift in space prison for years with nothing but robots as companions and a locked cabinet filled with cookies Final Space’s lead protagonist Gary is on the brink of insanity. That is until Mooncake, the worlds cutest alien who’s also being chased by a sea of bounty hunters, takes refuge on his ship. Teaming up, they decide to combat the harsh realities of the universe together. Now on the run, Gary has a chance to prove himself: as friend, as an adventurer, and most importantly, as a guy who can totally eat a cookie whenever he wants.

The showrunner for Final Space, Olan Rogers, has been creating youtube sketches for almost 10 years, and to put things bluntly, it shows.

The comedy of TBS’s new animated original has humor ripped right out of the internet playbook: quirky personalities, a flurry of one liners, and extensive callbacks. That being said, it also gets trapped by a few of the internet’s less enjoyable tropes, namely yelling and an unhealthy obsession with randomness.

But ultimately I think Final Space is a good show, and if you can handle the Epic Meal Time of it all, I say saddle up buttercup and ride that mustache bacon pony into the hyper dimension.

Lighting effects and 3D modeling give Final Space a cinematic look, boasting fantastic nebulas, first-rate vehicles, and ferocious monsters. This combined with some marvelous camera work helps the more space opera-y jokes to land and saves a few of the boring character designs from fading into the background. It may not be all that innovative on the animation front, but it does what it does well, and captures the story efficiently.

Final Space is at its best when emphasizing its unique cast. The crew of the Galaxy 1 feels very different than the typical animated lineup and each voice actor puts on a memorable performance. Mooncake in particular is a fascinating creature, who R2D2’s it so hard I’ll probably buy a plushie, but also has layers of emotional depth. This ying yang tone between cheery disposition and unflinching drama only works 10% of the time, but when it hits, it freakin’ hits.

My unsolicited and unqualified advice to the writers? Watch more Edgar Wright. Shawn of the Dead accomplishes triple what Final Space does in a quarter of the runtime, nails a very similar tonality, and also does the whole genre subversion thing.

Despite my “eh, not bad” review of this first season, I have a sneaking suspicion this show might go the route of Parks and Rec and The Office and steadily incline from here.

Most of the suspense is diffused too early in order to cram in extra zingers, a couple of mystery beats are glossed over for pacing’s sake, and the main villain needed more layers to actually seem threatening, but the sheer ambition it took for TBS to greenlight this is super praiseworthy and I can’t wait for more.