A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Final Space is an animated show about a lug named Gary (voiced by Olan Rogers) who's traveling through space in search of an end to the universe. Violence and language are the two main concerns here. The former is frequent and can be surprisingly intense. Characters have their arms ripped off, are eaten alive, get shot by futuristic laser weapons as they scream in pain, have their arms, legs, and head wrenched out of their sockets, and more. Many battles are between faceless robots and other non-human creatures, which may make it less scary for young viewers, but the camera lingers on details like spouts of blood, disembodied limbs, and other disturbing (even when animated) sights. Meanwhile, Gary swears constantly, though he usually uses mild words in place of actual profanities. "Freaking crap!" "Shut your face hole!" "Bag of wet turds!" and lots of other examples are heard in every episode. Women and people of color have central roles, but most of the characters are still white guys.
What's the story?
On his 1,818 day of imprisonment inside a spaceship for imprisoning an Infinity Guard pilot, Gary finds something new: a floating, glowing green ball he names Mooncake (Olan Rogers). Cast adrift in space with only his annoying "insanity avoidance" robot KVN (Fred Armisen) to talk to, Gary's grown desperate for company -- and for someone to play cards with, since his only other hobby is romantic unsolicited video diary-style messages he sends to the space captain of his dreams, Quinn (Tika Sumpter). But Mooncake has a secret. He's not just an adorable floating orb -- he's a world destroyer, and all the baddies in the universe are after him. Now it's up to Gary and Quinn to fight off the evil Lord Commander (David Tennant), save Mooncake, and search for the FINAL SPACE at the end of the universe.
Is it any good?
It scans like Futurama, it looks like Futurama, it even sounds like Futurama -- at least, when voice cast member John DiMaggio pops up -- but brother, this weak comedy is no Futurama. Why? Because it's just not as funny. In fact, though this animated comedy does have some good moments, the most it scares up is some pretty mild chuckles. The best lines occur when Final Space skewers space-drama clichés. When a "running out of oxygen" alert pops up, Gary muses "Huh, they went with green for a red alert. I mean, I would have went with red, a periwinkle, heck, even an egg nog." But there are far few of such pleasantly absurd moments, and far too many moments when the show seems to be begging us to find humor in Gary's constant spew of non-profanities (sorry, "freaking crap!" just isn't a thigh-slapper, especially not on the fifth go-round).
In addition, the show adheres to way too many space clichés to get credit for puncturing a few. You've got your guy trapped on a space ship (Mystery Science Theater 3000) having animated space-y adventures through the galaxy (Futurama) while fighting off the clutches of the powerful and evil Lord Commander (Star Wars, and every other space movie ever made). Come on, show! You have so many funny people working on you, on- and offscreen, why aren't you funnier?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the kinds of stories animation makes possible. What can be shown in a show like Final Space that can't be shown (easily) in live-action comedies? What dramatic or comedic possibilities does the animated genre have? Have you ever seen another animated show about characters set in space?
Families can also talk about who this show is designed to appeal to. Do you think the fact that it's animated gives it more "kid appeal" than a live-action version? Do you think people often assume that anything animated is OK for younger viewers?
Does Gary remind you of any other characters you've seen on TV or in the movies? Why do comedies so frequently revolve around dumb, blithe 20-something white guys? What's particularly funny about that type of character? Or does the predominance of these characters reflect the types of people who get their shows or movies made?
For kids who love animation
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.