I rarely write reviews. I owe my 124 followers more than that. I know that’s a very low number for a blog that has been going on for a number of years, but they’re my followers and they deserve quality. They are not fickle like the followers of those blogs that have hundreds upon hundreds. I once read a post that had 327 likes and it was just pictures of logs. I know I can’t compete with pictures of logs. Also, my best-viewed blog was entitled “13 Reasons Why is Shit” so I guess it’s what the people want.
I have nothing of value to say today. So, I will write a review of Final Space, I say review; it will devolve into a longwinded, directionless ramble.
Recently, I wrote about my current viewing habits. That was current back then. Now circumstances have improved somewhat, and I can afford Netflix again and my viewing habits have changed a little. However, to return to the article I linked (yes, I refer to my posts as articles; it makes me feel superior), I briefly touch upon the likes of Adventure Time and Rick and Morty. It’s worth reading for the nonsense I’m going to spout upon in this one. Go on, open it up in another tab and read. It gives me extra views.
A friend of mine repeatedly told me to watch an animated show called Final Space. He did so by saying it was hilarious. As it sits, I have watched three episodes. I have not laughed once. Admittedly, I haven’t laughed much for some time, which probably hints at a deeper psychological problem than the quality of an animated show.
Here is the premise, lifted from IMDB.
An astronaut named Gary and his planet-destroying sidekick called Mooncake embark on serialised journeys through space in order to unlock the mystery of where the universe actually ends and if it actually does exist.
Wikipedia quotes it as being an “… animated space opera comedy-drama.”
Thus far, I can say that it is indeed animated and it is set in space. As for the rest. Well…
Having been promised by my friend (who up until this point I trusted) that Final Space is hilarious, my first observation was that it wasn’t all that funny. I’m sure it was supposed to be. Gary screamed words and waved his arms around. At first, I was certain he was voiced by Chris Pratt. He is in fact voiced by Olan Rogers, who is also one of the creators. This is perhaps one of the issues. I find Gary’s voice and delivery irritating. Rogers seems to take the view that if you shout it manically, then it must be funny.
It also has the voice talents of Tom Kenny and John DiMaggio because every animated show has to have one or the other. Surprisingly, it also features an unrecognisable David Tennant. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter who’s doing the voices because the scripts largely consist of something ‘whacky’ happening and Gary shouting ‘Woah! That whacky thing just happened.’
Rick and Morty (which this show is seemingly trying to be only without the wit) would have whacky things happen, to which the characters would hardly comment upon before continuing their regular conversation. Rick and Morty (the first two seasons anyway) has a great deal of rewatch value because amongst the surrealism are some great lines and little subtleties that can be missed on first watch.
Even at it’s best (thus far) Final Spaced has to have Gary spell it out, in case we miss the joke. I came close to laughing at this exchange.
Gary: Are you the Helper?
Helper: No, I am his assistant.
– That would have got a laugh out of me, that’s all that’s needed. Only the scene has an extra line. –
Gary: So… you’re a helper helper?
It was funny when it wasn’t explicitly said damn it!
The sci-fi setting allows the show to be crammed full of ‘whacky’ (I will now donate money to charity every time I use ‘whacky’ within quotation marks) characters that seems to be a necessity to get an animated show produced these days. If Matt Groening wanted to get the Simpson’s made today, Marge would have to be a lizard woman, Bart a floating Brain and Liza an embodiment of the metaphysical concept of guilt. Case in point will probably be Disenchantment if I ever get around to giving that a watch. My only experience of that thus far has been to look at the poster, and I immediately think Adventure Time.
Final Space has a cat-like alien called Avocatdo. See, that’s funny, isn’t it? Mad. Absolutely crazy. A cat person… whose name is similar to avocado but with cat in it. Sure, the joke could be that it’s so banal that it’s funny. Like an ironic ‘this is a shit dad joke but we’ll include it anyway’ kind of thing, but thus far I’ve not seen any evidence that this show is smart enough to lift any irony.
Relax, it’s a kids’ show. I hear you cry.
It is not. It is another show that despite being animated, is in fact for the adults. Cartoons aren’t just for kids, man. They’re art. Yes, in the hands of artists perhaps. This series does have an overarching narrative, in which the adorable alien ‘Mooncake’ is, in fact, a planet-killing weapon and the evil Lord Commander (Tennant) wants to use it for his own nefarious deeds and there’s some sort of rift open somewhere. There’s violence aplenty and apparently, there are moments worth sticking around for that makes it more than just a ‘whacky’ animated comedy. Already, I know there are two Gwen’s, one apparently from the future who has come back to ensure Gary survives because he’s important. No doubt this will lead to the notion of alternate realities or timelines or lead us to question our very universe, but anyone who’s sat through one philosophy lecture can do that.
This is yet more evidence for my ‘everything is trying to be Adventure Time/Rick and Morty’ theory. There are lots of shows like this floating about, and it’s indicative of the dark times. We have had the luxury of passing through the Golden Years of television. We have seen the rise of streaming services. We are no longer slaves to terrestrial TV. We make the television schedules now. We can watch what we like, when we like and as often as we like. What we want is more, when is now and we want to do this forever.
It is consumerism at it’s very best. Great television and convenient services have created an insatiable demand and studios are desperately trying to supply. It is capitalism at its very finest. Endless, easy to digest blandness is coming our way. It’s the only way to keep us content. Greedy fuckers that we are.
It’s not that the show is necessarily bad it’s just not that good. I would offer a rating as critics tend to, but here I get confused. Do I offer stars or a percentage? Sites tend to vary. Also, Amazon’s maximum is 5 stars, IMDB goes up to 10. Does that mean one Amazon star is inherently more valuable than one IMDB star?
With IMDB, I refuse to watch anything that has less than a 7. Anything below that is going to be awful. People will watch anything so if it has 6.9, it’s not worth watching surely? And yet, that’s 69%. That’s markedly better than average.
So instead, I will rate it ‘meh’. It’s by no means a ‘bleurgh’ but it’s certainly not an ‘oooh’.
I’ll give it until episode 6 to change my mind. I gave 13 Reasons Why that courtesy before I condemned it.
The Golden Age is ending. All good things come to an end. Mediocrity goes on forever.