After Josh Futturman finally beats the unpopular and supposedly unbeatable game he’s dedicated his life to in Future Man, he celebrates by promptly masturbating. Should it disturb us that he does it to a poster of Tiger, the badass, beautiful female character from the video game? How about when she travels from the war-torn dystopian future with her companion Wolf into his bedroom just as Josh finishes?
Future Man, from the same team that wrote and produced Sausage Party, hits Hulu on November 14. Its crass humor strikes a strange but familiar chord when paired with its hard sci-fi premise. What if Hot Tub Time Machine was actually good sci-fi? Well, you’d have something closer to Future Man, where outrageous bits of gratuitous violence and unrepentant dick jokes serve rather than detract from a genuinely cool sci-fi adventure.
As it turns out, the Biotic Wars game that Josh beats is actually a recruitment tool sent through time. He’s branded the “Savior” by Tiger and Wolf, who are two battle-hardened warriors from the future. They come off as pretty insane, partially because they think Futterman’s success in the game translates to real-life battle prowess.
Tiger and Wolf are what remains of the Resistance, and they risked everything to steal a time machine so they could stop the war from ever happening. But they needed a Savior. Fortunately, even though Josh is a total disappointment as the Savior, he still has valuable knowledge that can help them.
Doctor Kronish, a scientist at the lab Josh works for, contracted herpes years ago in college and then dedicated his life to finding a cure. But in the future, his research goes on to cure all diseases, purifying humans into the Biotics that Wolf and Tiger have spent their life fighting.
The show becomes a time-traveling romp to prevent the oncoming downfall of society. Do they kill Kronish as a baby? Do they do something in the present day to change the course of history? Nope. Their hilarious first choice is to travel to Kronish’s college decades ago to “cock-block” him and prevent herpes from ever reaching his lip.
If that sounds like a combination of The Terminator with The Last Starfighter (1984) and an STD, then you’re exactly right. The show itself acknowledges all of the obvious sci-fi references sprinkled throughout. The first thing Wolf and Tiger do is assault some bikers and steal all their shit. (Hello Terminator 2.)
Hutcherson is pitch-perfect as Futterman, bumbling his way through this misadventure as a likable loser. Speaking with Inverse, the show’s creators, Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir, said, “Josh’s power is his nerdy sci-fi knowledge.” Along the way, Josh constantly references every sci-fi movie he’s ever seen. Tiger and Wolf might be totally badass in a fight, but they wouldn’t last very long killing their way through time without considering how their actions might affect the timeline.
Derek Wilson and Eliza Coupe are positively delightful as Wolf and Tiger. They come off as borderline insane, perfectly comfortable navigating through any time period like it’s some war-torn future. Reckless and violent, they have no qualms about murdering cops in the past. One of the series running gags has a rookie cop obsess for decades over a dead partner that they killed in 1969.
Watching the repercussions of these and other actions unfurl in the present-day proves that this show totally respects time travel even though it calls time travel rules “bullshit.”
Throughout the whole run of the series, these two warriors are “fish out of water.” Think Thor or Wonder Woman exploring a strange new world, but they have the matter-of-fact personality and violent temperament of Drax the Destroyer. Watching them act totally crazy and gradually adapt to mainstream society over time offers some of the most satisfying arcs of the show.
Future Man simultaneously glorifies and pokes fun at so many genre properties, including itself, with a kind of self-deprecating honestly that feels refreshingly mature for a show with such immature jokes. Even if you don’t like dick jokes or brutal physical humor, you won’t be able to stop yourself from laughing at how ridiculous and fun the show gets at its best moments.
Even if you don’t want to, you’ll probably still laugh when you learn the definition of “rat-hole” or “charging,” because it’s just insane enough to be totally believable in the apocalypse.
Future Man’s 13 episodes hit Hulu on November 14, 2017.
Future Man’s first 13-episode season hits Hulu on November 14, 2017.