'Final Space': TV Review

Not even if you're stoned.
2/26/2018

This new animated series from TBS misses the mark, and will likely float off into space.

There's probably an audience somewhere for TBS' new animated series, Final Space — the background story of how it got to the small screen from creator Olan Rogers' YouTube channel is more interesting than what's in the first couple of episodes — but it's hard to imagine that audience being large enough to sustain TBS' effort.

There's nothing overtly bad about Final Space, but it couldn't really muster up any laughs in the two episodes reviewed, with the animation leaving a lot to be desired (this might be on purpose, but it if that was the idea, it wasn't taken far enough) and the overall effect being very, very mild amusement that is quickly overcome by rapid checks of the time as things get uninteresting.

If you need reminding, that's not a good sign.

Final Space is about a not-super-bright guy named Gary who might or might not be an astronaut and is more likely a low-level deckhand. Gary (voiced by Rogers) tries to impress a much more successful female "brilliant badass" astronaut named Quinn (Tika Sumpter) by posing as a pilot, only to accidentally blow up a bunch of important government stuff. Now he's "in jail" aboard a spaceship.

Gary spends his days aboard the ship saying dumb things and trying to get a cookie out of a vending machine while the artificial intelligence of the spacecraft, Hue (Tom Kenny), tells him no and otherwise warns him of doom. Gary then finds a "cute innocent ball of pureness" that is basically a green blob, and Gary names it Mooncake (also voiced by Rogers). Turns out Mooncake can destroy planets and, as a super treacherous weapon, is being chased by the all-powerful Lord Commander (voiced by David Tennant), which brings danger to Gary from all corners of the galaxy.

None of that is very exciting. None of what Gary says or does in the meantime is very funny. Maybe as a more limited YouTube short (it was called Gary Space) it was funnier, one would assume, which is why it caught the attention of Conan O'Brien, who is now executive producer? The original idea allegedly sparked a bidding war that TBS, home of O'Brien, won. Anyway, O'Brien brought on David Sacks (The Simpsons, Third Rock From the Sun) as showrunner and co-writer and the voice cast was peopled with some big names (including Fred Armisen and Steven Yeun).

But something got lost in the translation. Final Space isn't as remotely entertaining as, say, Futurama, nor any of the Fox animated series nor the non-animated Third Rock for that matter — and especially not TBS' non-animated slice of brilliance People of Earth, which O'Brien also executive produces. It's hard to ask people in the Peak TV era to stick with an animated comedy that's not exactly working on any level.

Again, there will be people who might love Final Space. But their love won't make it better.

Cast: Olan Rogers, David Tennant, Fred Armisen, Tom Kenny, Steven Yeun, Coty Galloway, Tika Sumpter.

Created by: Olan Rogers.

Premieres: Feb. 26, 10:30 p.m., TBS