Hello, Space Cadets! I wanted to take the time to tell you about a fantastic new show on the air called "Final Space," airing on TBS and available on platforms such as iTunes.
First off, I have to nerd-correct a common misconception about this show. The few times I've spoken to people in the "real world" about the show, they either have one of two reactions - "I haven't heard of it" or "oh, Conan O'Brien's new cartoon!"
As much as I love Conan, and I do - Conan's production company Conaco is involved with the show in so much that they took on the show for development, gave a lot of creative encouragement to mold the show into what it is, and helped to get it to TBS. Conan and his cohost Andy Richter have also done voiceover work for the show, but "Final Space" is actually the creation of Olan Rogers.
playbill - who is olan rogers?
Olan Rogers started his career as a content creator on YouTube close to a decade ago.
Amassing millions of views and around the corner from 1 million subscribers, he was initially popular for his stories AKA comedy sketches in which he would tell one outlandish tale from his life at a time.
GHOST IN THE STALLS, or the "it's a Monday" video, is his most popular video and made him a YouTube icon. But that wasn't enough.
Olan ventured off into other branches of business, which also doubled as a means to show appreciation for and give his fans access to him. He has an apparel company called Space Cadet and a Nashville business called The Soda Parlor where you can, of course, partake in soft drinks, enjoy ice cream floats, and play video games in pure vintage fashion.
Star Cadet also acts as a production company that helps to make this cartoon in question. Bringing us to the main point of this blog - when did "Final Space" really begin?
Act 1 - the birth of gary space
The first cartoon created and animated by Olan Rogers (yes, animated by Olan himself with the help of Dan Brown) premiered May 4, 2010. Three episodes of "Gary Space" were uploaded, but Olan admits that it was not the quality he desired, with the cartoon hibernating a while. You know what they say? Quality is not a race. I also look at "Gary Space" like a storyboard to a concept that just took a long time to bring to life!
Olan's voiceover for Gary is a goofy, Midwestern type accent. In the first video, he meets an alien lifeform named Mooncake, testing communication with it and offering it PEZ candy. An alien approaches offering help, but Gary blasts him away immediately. A good precursor to Gary's hapless, whacky behavior.
The second episode improved greatly in quality, and we learn of Gary's odd fascination with cookies. The now famous quote from Mooncake "chookity" also appears in this episode (with "chookity dookie" meaning "move," apparently). Gary shoots another alien offering help and admits out loud he may have started a galactic incident.
In episode 3 - Mooncake took a three month long "nap," Gary sitting with no company except a space rock. Two more aliens come looking for the "outlander" AKA Gary, ready to confront the murderer of their brethren. It is at the end of episode 3, we see that these aliens who were operating under the guise of wanting to assist the stranded Gary had ulterior motives. Mooncake is kidnapped and his identity as a weapon of destruction comes to light. Then, there was radio silence...
act 2 - final space: the pilot
The "Final Space" plot we know now comes into play here. Gary gives a monologue as we see visuals of a ship laid to waste, saying that final space is either a source of power or the means of the universe's end.
In this story, Gary is still a space explorer, but now we have the back story of him being an officer for a military entity called the Infinity Guard. We also are introduced to the artificial entity known as H.U.E. (Heuristic Unified Entity), Gary's sidekick Avocato (voiced by Coty Galloway), Gary's love interest Quinn, and the current version of Mooncake we know and love. Of course, we are also introduced to the villain Lord Commander and a robot named KVN - both being scourges of the universe for different reasons.
The pilot is unique, introducing us to the concept of starting the episode with what looks to be a possible series/season finale. A temperal worm hole is Gary's goal to reach - his hope being to go back in time to try and prevent the deaths of his friends. The mystery, the music and the visuals of this pilot are stunning.
Olan said when he made this pilot, he was given a budget and dumped all of that money into the concept - essentially betting it all on black. Olan only took a one dollar payment from producing it. The day the pilot went public, he received emails from Adult Swim, Lionsgate and Conaco. Olan's life would soon change.
act 3 - final space: the series
Now, eight years after appetizers, we finally get the full course meal that is "Final Space," courtesy of TBS. I won't go too much into the plot, since I want you all to watch it, but here are some notes to highlight:
"Final Space" packs a punch with a very talented cast of voice actors. Olan once again voices Gary and Mooncake, while he fought for Coty to come back for the role of Avocato and succeeded. Other than Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter doing voice work, there are many other notable players. To list a few, there's David Tennant (Doctor Who & Jessica Jones), Ron Perlman (Hellboy & Sons of Anarchy), Fred Armisen (Portlandia & SNL), Steve Yeun (The Walking Dead & Mayhem), and Tika Sumpter (Ride Along & Gossip Girl).
The visuals of the galaxy we are treated to in the show are legit photos of space, layered on top of each other to make the background more authentic. The show's original soundtrack from Shelby Merry and a talented team also at the reigns is noted as many fan's favorite part of the show.
In contrast to Gary being a space officer in the first two versions of this show, he starts out the series by being arrested for impersonating an Infinity Guard pilot, which is how he first met Quinn to try and impress her - didn't go well, obviously. Gary meets Mooncake and Avocato, plus more new characters, while he is serving his prison sentence in space. The biggest stand-out change, other than Gary's shift in origin, is that Lord Commander in the series is far more evil than the pilot carnation. This is accomplished with a transformation in animation style for the character, coupled with the brilliant skills of Tennant.
To watch the first episode of "Final Space" for free, courtesy of TBS, click here to check it out!
Epilogue - Why i love "final space"
I'm a huge fan of "Star Wars" and have seen from his videos, and this series, that Olan draws creativity from this sci-fi franchise. What is also so cool about "Final Space" is that from concept to execution, it was the creation of a guy who is an openly weird, loud, silly, and creative dreamer. All qualities I myself have been admonished for, but attribute to my successes as a professional and a human being. Olan took an unconventional career path and that is inspiring. He always remembers the people who helped him get to the top and involves them in his success. And I mean, come on, Mooncake is adorable.
I was lucky enough to meet Olan, Coty and Tika at Wondercon 2018 after winning free tickets to the convention. I got to finally meet Olan after years of being a fan, and two awesome talents behind this show I am obsessed with, and thank them for their part in it. It was also cool to see fellow fans at Wondercon also devoted to this TV show. To be part of a young fandom and watch it grow is exciting.
So fellow readers, I hope you will join me and together, we can rule "Final Space"!
"Traps are just open casting calls for heroes" -Gary
as always - as little ads as possible. Enjoy your visit!
Amanda Rosenblatt has been running SingularityFanPages.com for close to 10 years and has been blogging on Fan-Culture.org since 2012. This is an archive of the blog & a new concept for the existing blog.