Josh Futturman (Josh Hutcherson) is a janitor at a lab involved in cutting-edge research in (ummm) STDs, specifically herpes. In between swabbing floors and scrubbing toilets, Josh plays “Biotic Wars,” a ridiculously hard video game that no one has ever beaten. Then, one fine day, Josh finally wins, and at the moment of victory a pair of the game’s protagonists appear before him: Tiger (Eliza Coupe) and her demolitions-expert sidekick, Wolf (Derek Wilson). Tiger tells Josh that the game is actually a recruitment and training tool sent back in time from the year 2162, and designed to find the one person “with the skills to save us.” The “us” are remnant humans, forced into the underground resistance to battle the “biotics.” Josh is the guy who is now their last, best hope. Deploying a TTD — or Time Travel Device — the three head back in time to 1969 for a special mission.
My say: “Future Man” comes with a couple of significant firsts, which is almost always a reasonable pretext for a review if not necessarily a reasonable one for watching. Foremost, this is the first TV series for “Hunger Games” breakout star Josh Hutcherson, and the first TV comedy series from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. This also features one of the final roles of wonderful character actor Glenne Headly, who died in June at 62. She plays Josh’s mom in a few brief scenes.
So, a good enough pretext to watch? Well … Get beyond the names, the “firsts” and Headly and that pretext does start to fray. Too much of this is standard-issue Rogen/Goldberg, with violence, raw language and plotting that’s occasionally so lazy it hardly rises to the level of plot.
But depending on your tolerance (or maturity) there’s some cause for hope, too. “Future Man” is mostly good-natured, never takes itself seriously, and maintains a steady stream of movie sci-fi 1980-2000 references that are intended as homage.