Final Space and the Difficulty of Science Fiction Epics

The thing about science-fiction epics on television is that it is starting to be done more successfully, but this is only a recent development. It was a quarter-century ago when Babylon 5 was released, an epic science-fiction series that had a definite beginning and end in mind. It lasted five years, but it was a gamble back then as TV audiences were not very committed to programs for the long-term. This was the days before streaming TV, so each TV show was planned to exist for the casual viewer.

If you aren’t familiar with Final Space, it is a new animated science-fiction series on TBS that is pretty imaginative and appears to have one giant storyline in mind. The difference between it and the aforementioned Babylon 5 is that Final Space is made to be a half-hour comedy show.

I should probably get this out of the way and say that it feels like Final Space was made to fill in the gap between seasons of Rick and Morty. The animation looks similar, even though it has a brighter color palette, and the show even had a cameo appearance from Rick’s saucer ship. Something tells me that was how the show was pitched, and fans of both science fiction and animation will be drawn to this show like a magnet.

The show is created by Olan Rogers, a name that I was not familiar with, but it is very apparent that he is giving his heart to this work. Olan plays Gary, a man who is serving a five-year prison sentence in space. Gary’s crime is that he blew up a lot of stuff in a vain attempt to impress a girl. Gary has gone nuts during his space solitary confinement, but he has this incredible spirit of optimism that seems to come out of nowhere. He is such a great character that he could probably carry the show on his own.

On the first episode, it is revealed that Gary’s sentence is almost over, but then a cute small alien comes into his life. Gary calls this alien Mooncake, because it reminds him of a pet bug that he had once as a child. Mooncake is followed by a group of bounty hunters, who know that Mooncake is a planet-killer capable of launching much energy out of his eyes. The first episode consists of Gary escaping from the bounty hunters, but one of them, a cat-man named Avocado, becomes Gary’s partner.

As you might have guessed, this show takes place in some future world with faster-than-light spaceships, aliens, and all other sorts of science fiction machinery. There is no shortage of voice talent here with Tom Kenny as HUE, Gary’s ship’s computer, Fred Armisen as KVN, Gary’s annoying robot sidekick, and David Tennant as Lord Commander, who appears to be the main villain on the show. Lord Commander’s name is pretty weak (not to mention redundant), and the character itself doesn’t appear to be anything more than a funnier version of the Emperor from Star Wars. What is really odd is how Olan Rogers’ name is third-billed, because he is the creator of the show and the main character.

So, is the show good? Honestly, I was pretty surprised by it, as there are genuine great levels of action and comedy. There are even moments of extreme drama, as it is clear Gary has some daddy separation issues. Avocado also has a missing son that tears him apart as well.

Similar to other science fiction series, Final Space is off to an awkward start, but something like this has never really been done before, and that goes for its beautiful animation. I’m personally anxious to see where this show is going, and I’m hoping that when this show is over, I can look back at it and say it is one of the best space sagas ever.

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