Today we had the privilege of sitting down with the cast of TBS’ Final Space at San Diego Comic Con to discuss a successful first season and the upcoming second. Details on season two were scarce since it is still early in production.
There were some bits about Hue “evolving” in the second season, according to Tom Kenny who voices Gary’s AI warden. EP David Sacks said that the second season is going to “slow down” and open up the world a bit which is in contrast to the first season’s high velocity story telling.
Avocato isn’t going to come back and everyone else’s fate is very much up in the air after the wild season finale. We’ll have more about everything discussed in the press room in another article because this one is different. This one is less about precisely what was said or what details were shared and more about how conversations can remind us and force us to clarify why we like a piece of media.
In my case, my conversations with Coty Galloway, Olan Rogers, Tika Sumpter, EP David Sacks, and Tom Kenny brought me to the heart of why I love Final Space so much. I’d been meaning to write this editorial for quite some time but I could not find the words until today.
Final Space is remarkable because it is vulnerable, because it is real, and because being a hero doesn’t always mean you will win.
The conversation about this started with David Sacks who said that as a producer he loved the balance Final Space achieved between comedy, action, and emotion. In my experience it is rare to find such a perfectly struck balance in animation.
This conversation continued with Coty Galloway who talked about the death of his character, Avocato. Apparently he knew from the start that Avocato was going to die. Everything in the first part of season one led up to episode six where he gave his life for his son, and that death is permanent.
At first, being a fan of Avocato and not being a fan of death (who is?) I had hoped that through some sort of timeline crunching we’d get to see him again. Coty dashed that idea immediately and that’s really when it sank in: Final Space is a show where risk is real and death is permanent.
Somehow that makes the show all the more worth watching. There has to be a bigger buy-in to the story and the characters because now their decisions matter. This is not a video game where someone can hit “reset” when they make a choice and mess up. The audience can no longer be passive, because everything has more meaning now.
One miscalculated choice could mean a hero will fall, even if they were one of the good guys.
I think that’s what makes stories like Final Space so compelling, and probably also explains my recent fascination with Dungeons & Dragons and web series that showcase the game like Critical Role. These are all stories where heroes, despite their good intentions and noble actions, might actually fall.
Because oftentimes being a hero means you have to sacrifice some part of yourself – if not your life – for the greater good.
If that’s not the kind of story we should be buying into as people then I don’t know what stories we should be telling. Final Space translates to the real world so well when it is distilled down to the core values. While we all may disappear into media to try and escape the world, I think parts of our hearts and souls are always yearning to find the piece of relatable truth in the television shows we watch, the comics and books we read, and the movies we go and see.
After all, if there’s no risk and no consequences then what is victory anyway?
I don’t know if Gary and the crew in season one actually won their battle, but I do believe they were heroes. Season two will reveal more and if it sticks to the values that season one held to, I think it is going to be a hell of a show.