Hooked on the Hulu Original, ‘Future Man’

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Spoiler Warning for Episode 1 of Future Man

Ever play a video game and imagine yourself in the shoes of the protagonist? What would you do if you were sucked into the story? How would you fare in a real-life level of a game? This is the premise for the new Hulu original series, Future Man.

Josh Hutcherson plays the role of Josh Futterman (aka Future Man); a relatable–almost too relatable–young millennial with a job he hates, living with his parents and playing video games in his free time. Josh’s sense of ennui permeates every aspect of his life, to the point that his only escape is a video game called ‘The Biotic Wars.’ It occupies his time both in and out of work. In fact, it dominates his conversations with family, friends, and colleagues. Even his object of sexual desire is from the video game. He dreams of it at night. He has posters on his wall. Yet through all of this, it’s not a happiness that drives him to play. He plays to fill a void that comes from an unfulfilled life. His beating the game gives him the briefest moment of elation, before he returns to his routine.

Okay, it’s not nearly as depressing as I just described it. Because it’s at this point when Josh’s life is changed forever.

Josh (Josh Hutcherson). Source: ‘Future Man’ Trailer / Hulu.

As soon as Josh beats the game, characters from the game, Tiger (Eliza Coupe) and Wolf (Derek Wilson) materialize out of thin air into his room. There aren’t even crazy special effects or build up. It just happens in the blink of an eye. They explain to him that they’re warriors from the future and have come back in time to seek his help with defeating a race of mutants known as the ‘Biotics.’ They explain that everything in the video game is real, and is actually a simulation used to train warriors. Josh is the first to ever beat the game, which is what prompted these future warriors to seek his help.

We also discover that the Biotics are the result of a cure to herpes. So their mission literally ends up being that they have to stop the guy who cures herpes. With that, the two future warriors grab Josh and travel back to the 1960s.

I liked everything about this pilot episode. Yes, the “travel-back-in-time-to-save-the-future” concept has been done before, but this is a fresh take; lighter-toned with less “doom and gloom.” It’s a delight to watch Tiger and Wolf try to figure out the present day with their complete lack of knowledge about life before the apocalypse. This is where a lot of the comedy comes from. There is also a hilarious brawl with a biker gang that breaks out when the heroes try to steal the bikers’ clothing, in a Terminator-esque attempt to blend into the 60s.

Future Man
Wolf (Derek Wilson) and Tiger (Eliza Coupe). Source: ‘Future Man’ Trailer / Hulu.

Even as Tiger and Wolf dispatch of the bikers, they yell video game-type NPC dialogue like “murder everyone!” and “f*** this place up!” “Headshot!” “Let’s Go!” Props to the sound editing for making even their voices sound like actual, generic NPCs. The violence is also very over-the-top and gratuitous, in Rated-M fashion.

Another fight scene we see is Josh getting a beatdown from the 1960s version of his family. Josh Hutcherson does a great job in this comedic role. His character got a lot of flack for being lame in the Hunger Games, so it’s funny to see him in a role in which the character is actually supposed to be lame.

The short, 30-minute pilot episode definitely left me thinking, “what did I just watch?” The dialogue was silly and everything seemed to be happening really fast. But at the same time, all of it felt organic. I’m excited to see what happens next. You can catch all the episodes of the first season on Hulu.

Miscellaneous Thoughts
  • The premise is brilliant in its simplicity. Living out a video game is something I’m sure lots of gamers have imagined.
  • lol at “A cure for herpes brings down all of mankind.”
  • Tiger holding an entire restaurant in the 1960s at gunpoint, then yelling “Heads on Tables! We are from your time!”– Probably my favorite line from the pilot.
  • Josh arguing with his friends at the video game store was a great scene. They discuss video games, then the conversation takes a weird turn to as they start debating which video game characters are sexiest. This sort of inconsequential conversation seems like something the writers of the show might casually discuss over a beer.

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