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It's time to save the future, man.

“Okay so it’s Last Starfighter meets Quantum Leap now?”
Josh Futturman
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Future Man is a sci-fi action/adventure comedy web series produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg for Hulu released on November 14, 2017 [1]. The show follows loser janitor Josh Futturman (Josh Hutcherson) as he sleepwalks through his life, working a dead-end job at medical research company Kronish Laboratories for crusading scientist Elias Kronish (Keith David), his only escape being the video game ‘’The Biotic Wars’’.

Everything changes the instant Josh finally beats the game and two people exactly resembling its characters appear in his room, Tiger (Eliza Coupe) and Wolf (Derek Wilson), telling him the game is a real depiction of the future. A future he has been chosen to help them stop from happening.

Future Man is not only a nostalgic call-back to various pop-culture phenomena of the 1980s and 1990s, but also a rather serious deconstruction of several pieces of time travel lore. And it features a fair amount of over-the-top violence and gore for good measure.

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A second season premiered for Hulu premiered on January 11, 2019.


Tropes That Will Appear (Depending on the state of the timeline):

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     Season 1 
  • And You Thought It Was a Game: Josh is chosen as the savior of humanity after he beats an unbeatable video game. He even points out that this is the exact same plot as The Last Starfighter, thus having some difficulty believing Wolf and Tiger.
  • Animal Theme Naming: As it turns out, Tiger and Wolf aren’t just loner badasses. All of the members of the resistance are named after animals. With 40 some-odd people on their team alone, the names get a little silly.
    • That said, certain animal-themed members are specialized in areas. Owl, The Smart Guy, seemed to have been the team leader; Otter and Porpoise were the water team, with Cheetah helping too. Though all Cheetah did was splash around.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The Time Travel Device runs on bio-fuel refined from life-forms discovered from deep, deep underwater, also known as Cameronium. Because James Cameron was the one who discovered it.
  • Arc Words: "You can't keep doing the same thing and expecting different results."
  • Bi the Way: Wolf doesn't seem to care if his partners are male or female. He'll "charge" them just the same.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The protagonists succeed in stopping Kronish's cure from going public, but Josh takes the fall for blowing up the labs and is now imprisoned in an asylum. However, he finds peace in the fact that he knows that he saved the world as well as the fact that his parents are now doing well in this timeline.
  • Body Horror: When making time jumps with unrefined Cameronium, the jumps get unstable with multiple people, meaning individual parts of you get mixed and matched. Could be your scars, your toes, your dicks.
  • Bottle Episode: "Pandora's Mailbox" which takes place almost entirely in the James Cameron Compound, or the J.C.C.
  • Butt-Monkey: Elias and Stu trade places with this role depending on which Alternate!2017 the team is in.
    • Josh is pretty much always in this role, considering how upside down his life gets and how much crap the others give him.
  • Calling Your Attacks: You would think this was just some design aspect of the game, but no, Tiger and Wolf really do call out all their attacks, like something out of Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: When Tiger and Wolf first jump into 2017 and meet the Savior of Mankind... Josh is masturbating in his room alone and finishes all over Wolf’s leg.
    "Goddammit, it’s all over me!"
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Wolf's chest box containing the explosives from killed Biotics is showcased many times, and the danger of just carrying it around, though Wolf assures Josh it's strictly designed to ensure they do not go off inside the case. In the final attack on the Kronitorium, Wolf unleashes *all* of the stockpiled explosives while he and Tiger hide behind a heavy steel door.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: Tiger and Wolf "re-charging", as they see no reason this should be a private activity.
  • Cyanide Pill: The Biotics have small explosives implanted in their skulls which they detonate when the Resistance is close to capturing them alive. However Wolf has become quite good at disabling them before it happens.
  • Cyber Punk: Tiger and Wolf seem to come from a future that is a classic flaming car, steaming tunnel variety of apocalypse, yet still has some surplus of energy weapons and electronic devices.
  • Evil Me Scares Me: JFUTZ is this to Josh (or Joosh).
  • Faceless Goons: Normally when we see the Biotics, they are wearing battle gear, with helmets obscuring their faces. In the game, they have hideous blank faces underneath, heightening the dehumanizing aspects. It's later revealed that those are masks as well and that they all look like regular humans.
  • Free-Love Future: In the future, sex is apparently so casual that it's just for "re-charging" before you go into battle. While Wolf and Tiger both say they're sterile, there is a plot point that they aren't immune to STDs. However Tiger says that one of their comrades died from AIDS, perhaps due to all the casual sex. Prior to the last mission, there's an orgy.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Bad!2017 has an opposite Josh (or rather, Joosh) and he is ‘’not’’ a pleasant person, though he is outwardly a highly successful e-sports celebrity.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Very early on, Josh touches the box on Wolf’s chest, and he testily growls, “Don’t touch [that]!” It’s later revealed to house many tiny explosives recovered from killed Biotics.
    • When Wolf is left to hang out with some men who turn out to be dealers in what was thought to be a simple chemistry lab, they introduce him to methamphetamines and the economic concept of the drug trade. Wolf says “nothing has ever made more sense to me in my life.” When stuck in the late-80s/early-90s, he becomes addicted to cocaine.
    • Josh and Jeri, his Love Interest, are reviewing employee personnel files at Kronish labs. Josh knows that Biotics are immune to disease and is reviewing all files for people who have never been sick/have no allergies. He grabs Jeri's file and sees she has never been sick and has no allergies and then moves on to the next one. Guess who turns out to be a Biotic? Hint: Jeri.
    • When Tiger becomes a nanny for baby Kronish, she leaves him a knife, instructing his mother to give it to him on his 5th birthday. In the Bad!2017, Elias is seen using the knife to peel an apple. It seems like he will use it to attack Josh with, but subverted when he does not and plays no role in the plot.
  • Future Slang: Wolf and Tiger have strange euphemisms for everything, like calling a ‘mouth’ a ‘rathole’ (“because where else do you put rats?”) as well as idiomatic expressions like ‘crap-pot!’ instead of ‘jackpot!’
  • Gag Penis: Apparently, Wolf. And later, Josh, thanks to TTD body-splicing.
  • Going Cold Turkey: After getting addicted to cocaine from an extended stay in the late-80s/early-90s, Wolf is Nailed to the Wagon and forced to detox by his teammates. The withdrawal actually leads to a Mushroom Samba sequence. Wolf later lampshades how easy it is to kick the habit.
    ”The downside to cocaine addiction is the single day of withdrawal you lose to giving it up. The upside is it’s fucking awesome.”
  • Heroic Suicide: Dr. Kronish willingly kills himself to prevent his invention being used for evil.
  • Hidden Depths: Wolf, the gruff, grunting, boiling with testosterone war machine- is a born master chef.
    • Tiger has a natural talent for being a motherly figure too.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Subverted. Tiger and Wolf expect that playing and beating The Biotic Wars has made Josh into the ultimate warrior, but in fact he has no real-world combat skills whatsoever.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Josh was able to prevent Kronish contracting herpes as he did in the original course of events on his first trip through time, but when he returns to the present, he learns that Kronish just contracted the disease from someone else (and he's now less confident as a person due to Josh's actions).
  • Inspector Javert: Officer/Detective Skarsgaard. No matter where we find him in the various timelines, he’s a policeman of some sort, and he’s still trying to avenge the death of his partner, Santiago. A slight subversion in Skarsgaard's case in that Wolf and Tiger really are responsible for all the mayhem he's been tracking all these years (including the death of his partner), they just deem it all acceptable collateral damage in the Biotic Wars.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the Bad!2017, Josh's father complains of not having access to cable, "even though nobody wants that anymore!" poking fun at how the production is a web series and not broadcast.
  • Mad Scientist: Subverted with Elias Kronish. While the Resistance views him as such, as seen with his in universe video game appearance in "Biotic Wars" as Dr. Death, he is always presented as a morally conscious person who just wants to do good and help. Even in the Bad!Future, where Josh initially thinks Kronish has become evil, Kronish willingly kills himself to prevent the Biotic Wars future from occurring.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: We see both Josh and Joosh entirely nude when they meet. Josh is revealed as very well-endowed, since he switched genitals with Wold during the TTD splice.
  • Mercy Kill: Comically done when Wolf shuts down James Cameron's AI at her request, because she can't stand to serve him.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Elias Kronish, the man who will create the SuperCure that sees the rise of the Biotics and brings about a Eugenics War... is really a polite, genuinely nice guy, who just wants to help people. Too bad his work inevitably screws over the rest of the world. In the Bad!2017, he even created the SuperCure because his lover died from a staph infection.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: Both Wolf and Tiger, being raised in the sewers in an ongoing war against Biotics, seem to be amazed or shocked by things that are no longer available to them. One example being Wolf's instant like for cucumber pickles since he only ate rats and other scavenged foodstuff for entire life.
  • My Greatest Failure: For Tiger, accidentally leading nearly her entire team to their deaths. Averted later on when Dingo and Owl time travel to reveal they were the only survivors of a similar trap. It seems that it is inevitable that most of the Resistance dies somehow. Tiger says this is a relief, since they were doomed to die no matter what.
  • Nintendo Hard: Among gamers, The Biotic Wars is referred to as “impossible to beat” and despite playing it for possibly years, Josh himself was only able to complete the final level when radically altering his approach to the game.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Taken to its extreme; when Josh learns of 'Joosh', his counterpart in Bad!2017, he initially assumes that Joosh's life is perfect as he is a professional e-game player, his parents are allegedly in a 'sweet condo' and he has people waiting for him in a fancy house, but he swiftly realises that his 'girlfriend' is actually a sex-doll, the people he believed were his friends are just his employees, his parents 'sweet condo' is a low-quality nursing home where he sent them after getting them declared mentally incompetent, and 'Joosh' is an arrogant idiot completely fixated on his career (his father notes that calling him 'Joosh' hardened him and made him bitter after he was teased about it at school).
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Tiger and Wolf come from a future without movies, so most of Josh's attempts to make references fall on deaf ears. Later averted when Wolf spends time in the period when most of the time-travel films Josh references were released, so he can follow along. (He also actually met a number of the people who starred in them, since he ran a trendy restaurant.)
  • Power Trio:
  • Punny Name: Futturman, Future Man. Get it?
    • Technically also Officer/Detective Skarsgaard. After his encounter with Tiger in 1969 he’s a “Scars Guard.” Then again in the 1990s.
  • Reality Ensues: Despite its comedic nature, the show points out the very real problems or fallout that would occur in such a bizarre scenario.
    • Tiger can operate complex items like the TTD, but has no concept of what a movie is (the video game is repeatedly called a 'combat simulator' and treated as a serious training tool). In Tiger's world, fictional escapism is a luxury no one has the time or resources to dedicate to, although the mental strain this is placing on Resistance members is clearly showing.
    • Wolf and Tiger admit at one point they realize even if they are successful, the world would be completely changed, and if they could return to their time, it wouldn’t be the world they left. People may not even recognize them.
  • Rated M for Manly: Wolf’s frequent stories about the wars are as outlandish as they are brutal.
  • Running Gag:
    • Josh regularly cautions against doing specific things to mess up the timeline, calling it “Time Travel 101.” Eventually this gets a Brick Joke with someone calling another trip-up “Time Travel 102”.
    • Anytime someone vaguely recalls seeing the team decades before causing anarchy, they are hazily remembered as “Latinos.”
  • Sequel Hook: The series ends with Josh lying in his padded cell after saving the world... only for him to be visited by what seems to be more time travelers.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The entire series is all about Josh trying to fix the future in a way that does not involve killing Kronish.
  • Shaped Like Itself: The device capable of time travel is called... the Time Travel Device, or TTD for short.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: Josh manages to beat the final level of "The Biotic Wars" game by unequipping all of his weapons and making a run for it to the end.
  • Shout-Out: Many throughout the entire series. In the first episode alone, Josh compares the plot to The Last Starfighter.
  • Sterility Plague: Thanks to Biotic's usage of nanite mist, the entire human race is incapable of reproduction that resulted in Tiger and Wolf being the youngest members of the resistance. In addition, Tiger freaked out at an infant for the first time. This situation became somewhat moot since The Reveal of Biotics as humans with genetic therapy.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Apparently most members of the Resistance, except those trained to swim (Otter, Porpoise, sort of Cheetah). Josh also is exceptionally skilled in this area, though in his case it is because he had to dive into freezing cold water to retrieve the Cameronium needed for time travel. He does drown but Tiger and Wold are able to resuscitate him.
  • Superior Species: Biotics are humans who are injected with a super-vaccine that makes them physically perfect in every way, being immune to all diseases and poison as well as being naturally good-looking for humans.
  • Surprise Incest: Josh almost has sex with his own mother, having mistook her for someone else. He finds this out just in time before they get that far.
  • Take That!: Bill Cosby and James Cameron both get it. Josh is shocked to learn in 1969 that Cosby had joked about drugging women even back then. When his impression of Cosby makes one black student say he almost stopped liking him, Josh says "Get used to it". Cameron is portrayed as completely egotistical, having programmed his house AI to sing his praises in an over the top manner.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: All the various problems, conflicts and logistics that arise from time travel are openly discussed, in addition to causing issues for the team.
    • Josh states specific actions that need to be avoided in the past, such as dressing anachronistically and drawing attention, or leaving artifacts from the future behindnote .
    • Neither Tiger nor Wolf take into consideration things like “stable time loops”, “alternate timelines” or other problems or hiccups that might occur with the simple “kill the bad guy, save the future” idea, much to Josh’s annoyance.
    • The team regularly has to plan their jumps around where buildings will or won’t be.
    • When the team is split apart, their separate adventures plus time travel mean their individual life experiences are much different.
    Tiger: I said that years ago.
    Josh: You said that, like, twenty minutes ago!
    Wolf: Time travel is fuuuuucked up.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Both Tiger and Wolf are gassed by Biotics in the last episode. Wolf starts dying, but Tiger is unaffected, revealing her to be a Biotic all along.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Officer Skarsgaard has to go and tell Officer Santiago’s wife he’s been killed in the line of duty. His pregnant wife. Whose in-laws are visiting from Mexico. It just gets worse from there.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Averted with the poisoning of the alternate!2017 Kronish Ball party.
  • Wham Shot: When it’s revealed Biotics aren’t hideous, blank-faced mutants, but actually regular people. Really, really attractive people.
    • While Wolf is dying after being gassed by Biotics, Tiger is unaffected by the poison, as are all Biotics.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: They unknowingly started the Loma Linda Wildfire after blowing up their van.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The plot of the series is a combination of The Last Starfighter (which Josh points out) and Terminator.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: In the alternate 2017, Josh's parents named him Joosh after Josh's alias in the 80s. This led to him being bullied and growing up to be a self-centered asshole who surrounds himself with yes-men and toadies while alienating his parents.
  • Would Hurt a Child: All members of the Resistance apparently, especially Tiger. This changes when she goes back to kill baby Kronish. She fully intended to, but after learning about how his father died and how his mother would be devastated, she can't go through with it, and ends up becoming a nanny to him.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Certain things seem destined to come to pass: the majority of Tiger and Wolf’s team will die before the jump to 2017. Elias Kronish will live to 2017 and have done practically all the research needed to invent the SuperCure. Owl will be tortured and “wormed.”
  • Your Head Asplode: All of the Biotics are implanted with a ‘brain bomb’ so if any of them are about to be taken alive, they can self-detonate. It also acts as a beacon to call in reinforcements once armed. Seen in absurdly graphic detail when Jeri's head explodes right in front of Josh, covering him in blood.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: When alone with a Biotic under interrogation, Josh gets a very different view of the future from their side. The Resistance were actively bombing hospitals and medical centers with civilian staff. There’s universal healthcare and a high standard of living. The only people who don’t want a part of it are those living underground and wildly uneducated about the most average social graces. Josh still decides to side with the Resistance given his bond with the team, and since every Biotic we’d seen up to that point had screamed ‘Die, Resistance scum!’ it’s probably a safe bet there was still exaggeration on their part. Even so, they're shown to be pretty brutal. They will kill anybody who gets in their way, unarmed civilians included. One plan they propose repeatedly is killing Kronish as a baby. Ultimately though Tiger can't go through with it. She and Wolf get much nicer over time with Josh as an influence too.
     Season 2 
  • The Alcatraz: The Ultra-Max prison, except it's not.
  • Alternate Universe: Per Susan, this is the effective result of time travel. The original universe goes on as it was, but a new one is split off to accommodate changes to the timeline. As a result, Josh, Tiger, and Wolf are responsible for devastation on a scale that defies description. Every change to the timeline resulted in an entire universe's worth of people who suffer the consequences.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: What the Ultra-Max prison really is.
  • Artistic License – History: Josh's version of WW2 when trying to convince Nut-Faced Josh to help them out.:
    Josh: Look, you-you're playing your part, too.
    Nut-Faced Josh: scoffs
    Josh: All right, do-do you think that those soldiers that got mowed down on Omaha Beach are any less important than the one that smashed through the Berlin Wall and killed Hitler?
  • Bad Future: Not as bad as the original future Tiger and Wolf come from, but still bad. Earth had previously been in a 140 year war (the original Biotic war was only 100 years) and Earth is being destroyed by climate change and all animals have gone extinct. On the plus side, there are at least 3 surviving civilizations: 1) the MONS colonies founded by Stu that thrive on technology and are going to Mars to start anew, 2) the NAG citizens who hate all technology, and 3) an unseen cannibal civilization.
  • Brain Uploading: Stu's plan to "save" all of humanity: to upload their consciousness into his mainframe while disposing of their bodies. Everyone else, as in those who don't willingly subject themselves to this, end up as his other plan to Kill All Humans.
  • Break Them by Talking: Done very well by Susan. While he has Josh, Tiger, and Wolf incarcerated in Ultra-Max, he informs them of all of their numerous time crimes, including the destruction of a cluster of planets, and tries to turn the team against each other. Susan seems to specifically target Josh most of all, informing him that their are numerous Josh time duplicates that each travel to different points to help humanity and all make things worse. He also informs them that each time they time traveled they didn't change the future, they created an alternate timeline, meaning all of their efforts were wasted, to break their spirits. This leads the team to nearly try to kill each other, though they can't bring themselves and try to kill themselves to save each other.
  • The Chosen One: The Pointed Circle name Josh as their savior, giving him the call sign "Jesus".
  • Cloning Blues: Josh, Tiger, and Wolf suffer different flavors of this when they face their alternate universe duplicates in the future.
    • Josh has been subject to the Pointed Circle's experiments that have killed him dozens of times over and driven the only other surviving Josh insane. He dubs himself J1, the Josh Who Lived.
    • Wolf is recognized in the NAG as Torque, a man with a family and career. He awkwardly inserts himself into Torque's life while terrified he'll betray his true identity. When his family and apprentice learn the truth they are quite accepting. He returns their affections easily.
    • Tiger's alternate is Ty-Ann, adopted by Stu and spoiled rotten by his terrible parenting. Tiger is mortified by her childishness. She's actually a leader of the alliance against Stu's dictatorship. Tiger eventually recognizes Ty-Ann as the best version of herself.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: This happens to Wolf over the course of the second season. He is mistaken for another person, called Torque, the provider for his cluster of 2 husbands, 3 wives, and daughter, Lugnut. While hesitant at first and trying to escape, he ends up loving his new family and ends up in charge of the NAG, where his family and others live. He tries to implement positive changes to improve their lives but gets disenfranchised as he sees them all stuck in their ways.
  • Foreshadowing: When Susan says the words "Ultra-Max", he turns and looks at the camera, as if he is Breaking the Fourth Wall and making Josh very confused. When it turns out the death sports are sponsored by Ultra-Max, a menstruation pad, it was really just Susan looking at the camera to advertise and name drop the product.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Per Susan, one of the few wrongs the team didn't try to fix with all their time travel in any universe was Hitler.
  • Interface Spoiler: If watching with subtitles on, one may wonder why Mars is always spelled as MARS until The Reveal at least.
  • Kill All Humans: Stu's other plan if his Brain Uploading plan does not work out. After both Tiger and Ty-Anne betray him, after having a Villainous Breakdown, he just decides to wipe out all humanity.
  • La Résistance: The Pointed Circle is this in the new timeline.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Ends up happening to Tiger with Stu. Having been separated from Wolf, after she revealed she was a Biotic, they go their separate ways. Tiger ends back with Stu, after previously trying to leave, and becomes his girlfriend. When she learns about his Brain Uploading plan, she is initially hesitant but agrees with it, until she later realizes Stu had been emotionally manipulating her the entire time.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Wolf basically did this for the TTD; as he prevented Terminator 2: Judgment Day from being made and then beat James Cameron to death in memory of SIGNORN-E, the Cameronium to fuel it doesn't exist.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Ty-Anne, who pretends to be a spoiled child but is really Achilles, the leader of the Resistance.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Ty-Anne is this for Stu for the real Tiger. It gets Squicky since Ty-Anne is Stu's adopted daughter.
  • The Reveal: There is no Mars launch. Stu's plan is to upload all of surviving humanity into his mainframe, called MARS, via Brain Uploading and kill of the rest.
    • Happens again with what Ultra-Max really is. While it may or not be a prison for time criminals, it is reveals as an Amusement Park of Doom where said "prisoners" compete in a death gauntlet to survive.
  • Self-Induced Allergic Reaction: Josh sets off his nut allergy to trigger inflammation. Then he's able to fool facial recognition software and jump to the front of a line as a medical emergency.
  • Thirsty Desert: Josh's ill-fated escape attempt dumps him into one where he attempts to drink his own urine to survive.
  • Villainous B So D: As a computer consciousness, this literally happens to Stu at the mere sight of Josh. Note that the Josh he is familiar with is a convicted terrorist from his own time and Stu is terrified that somehow Josh is alive and possibly after him.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: There are at least 2 sets in season 2.
    • On one hand, is the Pointed Circle, who want to destroy Stu and help humanity. Their methods are...less than ideal. Their main plan involves using alternate Joshs to detroy Stu's mainframe from the inside. Unfortunately, this leads to many alternate Joshs' deaths, including a room literally full of Josh corpses.
    • On the other hand is Stu, who preserved his intelligence as a hologram and wants to send everyone to Mars to live out their lives. Unfortunately, Stu is actually a Not So Well Intentioned Mad Scientist. He is using Brain Uploading to send everyone to MARS, a Matrix-like computer program where Stu has complete control. Anyone who disagrees with him is killed.
    • In the middle are the people who live in the NAG. While they are against Stu and his technology in general, they are not openly against him either, until near the end when they think Stu is declaring war on them.


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