All aboard the Galaxy One.
David Kaldor: What can you tell us about the new season and the changes it will bring for the characters? And what are some lessons you’ve learned from Season 1’s production that you can apply to Season 2?
Olan Rogers: Pretty much everything we could improve on Season 1, we did. One of the things you’ll see is that a lot of the art has a lot more detail. We tried to push that as hard as we could without breaking the bank. As far as the story goes, we have a bunch of female characters this season. We really wanted to round out that cast a lot more.
[Regarding lessons learned,] everybody noticed that Gary was kind of annoying in Season 1. It was a good note to see because when you’re the creator of the show, you’re also the director. So, when I would get to the booth, no one would want to give me notes, and it was like “no, I WANT notes! Please direct me!” I love constructive feedback, that’s how I get better at stuff. And this season, I sat down with the editor and said “don’t cut any air out of anybody’s performance, keep the performance the way it is”, because in Season 1 they would just smash [everyone’s lines] together. And I sat down with the director and said “direct me! If you feel like you want it another way that would be better, please direct me.” You’ll see a more well-composed, well-rounded show.
The idea was always to make this epic space adventure that had a lot of heart and drama, and a lot of the times, when you work with so many people, some of that stuff doesn’t get across. It’s hard to work with so many people and have so many hands on it and have it come out exactly the way you envisioned it. But there are a few episodes in Season 2 that are as close as I could get to what I imagine Final Space to be.
DK: With a couple of years in television experience behind, what has been the biggest change you’ve noticed from working on your Youtube channel to making a TV show?
OR: On my Youtube, it’s me. It goes through one creative person, one avenue, and that’s my brain. [Television] goes through so much political stuff. If you have a network that’s really involved after a few notes pass, your original idea is deconstructed a little bit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. It’s a very collaborative effort and you get notes on every step along the way. And I think that’s the big thing that it’s hard for people to process.
DK: What are some of the challenges of balancing Final Space’s comedy with its drama and action?
OR: A good example [of these challenges] would be Season 1 of The Orville, which I really like, but even with them, there were moments where I thought “that was KIND OF a joke, but I don’t think they meant for it to be a joke.” With Season 1 for us, it was me and David [Sachs] getting to know to work with each other and coming up with that tone together. Where do you put a joke and not make it too sad? And I think we really found that balance in Season 2. I always love comedy and drama together, and I think if you can make somebody laugh and cry at the same time, then you’ve experienced most emotions with a human. But it is always a challenge, balancing those two.
DK: How did Avocato’s death in the first season come about? Was it intended from the start?
OR: It was always intended from the start, even from the Proof of Concept and how we pitched it. Obviously, it sucks because it’s my friend Coty [Galloway, the voice of Avocato], but in a weird way, I think that’s one of the reasons why they let him have that role. I don’t think they were going to give a nobody a main starring position on a show like this, but because he was dying in Episode 6, they were like “okay!”
Anything that David and I try to write, it’s setting up a rule in this universe. There are consequences in this thing, and if they do something, there has to be a direct reaction to that. That was always the plan from the get-go. Avocato is dead, and any time there’s a death, we’re going to make sure that we’re going to send off a character in a very special way. But it has to have meaning.
DK: Have there been any notable differences in working on the show now that it is airing on Adult Swim instead of TBS?
OR: I mean, Season 1 premiered on TBS and did re-runs on Adult Swim, and they just did naturally better on Adult Swim. Originally, we were going to be part of this big block [of animated shows on TBS], and I still don’t know what happened. That Louis C.K. show got canceled because of what came out about him, and Tarantula they just burned off, and Close Enough is still in limbo! The block never manifested, so we were put next to American Dad which wasn’t the best companion for us, but on Adult Swim we just did really well on there. I think their thought process this season was “just premiere it on Adult Swim and we’ll do the reruns”. But Adult Swim and TBS have been great to work with.
DK: Could you see Final Space expanding into other mediums like comics or games?
OR: I think so! That would be awesome, but I think we have to wait for the blast radius of AT&T/Warner Media to dissipate before that happens. Though even with Adult Swim, all their marketing money goes to Rick and Morty. And for good reason! But their other shows could definitely benefit from that stuff. I’d love to do a video game, or a graphic novel, make a spin-off script, it just depends on where or how that would manifest. So I don’t really know the first thing about that. I think it’s about to get crazy in Hollywood in general with everybody starting their own streaming service. It’s definitely a good thing since it’ll have a lot of content and we have a lot of allies there, but that’s just my guess. I could be completely wrong and we might end up finding out the show’s canceled, haha.
DK: Any other upcoming projects you can talk about?
OR: Me, Conaco [Conan O’Brien’s production firm], and David Sachs are about to take out a pitch for “Lion’s Blaze”. We can’t elaborate right now, it’s based on a previous thing [that I’ve worked on] but we’ve built it out and made it bigger and more epic. It’s gonna be really, really cool.
Final Space Season 2 premieres on Monday, June 24 on Adult Swim. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity
Buckle up your butt cheeks – it’s about to get wild. Season two of Final Space finds Gary restarting with a new ship and a new AI voiced by Jane Lynch (Glee) as they recover what’s left of his crew. Conan O’Brien reprises his role as Clarence, now a series regular, alongside Ron Funches (Undatable) and Ashly Burch (Attack on Titan) as they embark on an epic mission to free the Titan Bolo (Keith David). Along the way, Gary battles new villains led by Alan Tudyk (Firefly), Christopher Judge (Stargate SG-1) and Gary’s Mom, Claudia Black (Farscape).
Final Space is created by YouTube sensation, Olan Rogers, and Emmy award-winner David Sacks (The Simpsons). Rogers stars in the animated series with Fred Armisen (Portlandia), Tom Kenny (Adventure Time), David Tennant (Dr. Who), Tika Sumpter (Mixed-ish), and Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead). The half-hour animated space action/adventure series is produced by Conaco and New Form, with animation production by ShadowMachine.