When I think of sci-fi shows appropriate for kids, all I can come up with are animated stories. Ones which usually star white kids and, at most, may feature a token person of color. Will vs. The Future changes that. It is both live action, starring an Asian (?) and a Black character trying to save the world from a Terminator sounding future.
Will (Teo Briones) is a bit of a genius. To the point his mom Danielle (Shi Ne Nielson) kind of relies on him to keep their life together. Especially since his dad is dead and his mom is just a simple waitress. However, unlike most geniuses, Will doesn’t seem socially awkward. Granted, his only friend is the trouble maker Hailey (Ashlyn Faith Williams), but it seems he has a few acquaintances he can talk to as well. Be it Glenn (Noah Ziggy James) or Mr. Hamilton (David Wells).
But, unbeknownst to Will, while his present is bleak, his future will be bright – despite him shrouding the world in darkness. Something Athena (Lexi Underwood) is tasked with stopping. For in the future, Will becomes part android and uses his first major invention, an infinite power source, to make a robot army. One which threatens and oppresses humanity.
However, to save his life from “elimination” Will is going to try to convince Athena, during the two months she is stuck in his time period, to not kill him. Mostly by trying to show he is capable of changing the future and not becoming this evil guy who stole her childhood.
It’s difficult to not be excited about the idea of a Black female lead kicking ass. Especially a girl like Athena who was specifically chosen to save the future. Now, granted, when we first meet her, Athena seemed robotic as hell as if Underwood was a stunt actress turned actor. However, it is explained to us that her robotic nature was actually her showing discipline and once she eased up that the only way was to kill Will, we see her soften up. She smiles, seems friendly, and I think as she grows used to the idea of having friends and the privileges the people in the past had, we may very well see Underwood make the most of this role. Perhaps to the point of, when she is older, taking on a Buffy role or becoming one of the few Black women who, in the ilk of Scarlett Johansson or Charlize Theron, alongside Angelina Jolie, can become a go to when it comes to action films.
It’s Comical At Times
Though vulgarity is always what gets the quickest and easiest reaction out of me, I won’t pretend some of the silliness presented on kids shows don’t make me laugh. Take for example how Glenn is handled or how Gary (Braxton Herda), the school bully, are written and performed. Though I’m sure some may find them corny or eye roll inducing, they tickled the hell out of me. Especially Gary and his 20-second countdown to hitting people. That and just how strange Glenn is yet not so strange he seems like he was made to be laughed at.
On The Fence
The Effects Aren’t The Best
This isn’t a blockbuster. So to expect the special effects to be top notched is ridiculous. However, for a kids’ show, I thought they were quite good. Especially Athena fighting off a multi-armed robot in one of the first scenes and her arm gadget. Though, to be completely honest, when she gets shocked by her arm guard the acting was a little side eye worthy. At least from an audience point of view.
Hailey (Ashlyn Faith Williams) letting us know she is a bad girl [Amazon]
While it is understood that something between adult Will and Hailey leads to the future Athena is trying to prevent, present day Hailey will give you pause. If only because it really seems someone is trying too hard, between the writer and actress. Because it is clear she is supposed to be this little trouble maker, with her multicolored hair and her trying to make fake hall passes. However, unlike Athena and Will, there is something inauthentic about her – even when you take into consideration the sci-fi elements. For something about her seems like she was written from the perspective of someone who wasn’t a troublemaker. Someone who is trying to write based off some ridiculous idea of what a kid troublemaker would look and act like and it sort of takes the show down a notch.
On one hand, we have Danielle. She is a mother struggling to pay the bills and you can appreciate this realness. After all, not every kid’s show should, or needs to, feature a middle, or upper middle class, family. However, while I enjoy Danielle’s representation of adults, unfortunately, Principal Rhodes (Thomas F. Wilson) is a sort of Disney channel version of adults. The bumbling kind who seemingly lucked their way into the position they are in. And while it is kind of explained to us how Principal Rhodes got his job, if you know anything about what it takes to become a principal, much less run a school, it makes it hard to take what this show is selling seriously.
Overall: Positive (Watch This)
I can’t necessarily say, Will vs. The Future gets picked up, I’d watch it religiously. However, I’d at least check out episode 2 and 3 for there is definitely some potential here to be more than another kid series made to create merchandise. In terms of representation, it kicks ass. Story wise, Principal Rhodes sort of puts a damper on things, and Hailey needs to be reworked a little bit, but otherwise, it does draw you in to genuinely care what the future may hold.
To the point that I could fully imagine this show going on for a few seasons and becoming a launch pad for the young actors. For the foundation set definitely gives each one something to work with. Be it Will coming from a single parent family (by way of his dad dying) that isn’t in the best financial position, Athena coming from a future in which she didn’t get to have a childhood and us getting to watch her experience things we take/took for granted for the first time and coming to further understand how Hailey became who she is and what part she may play in the bad future.
Those things, all together, are why I’m hoping this gets picked up. For while I am not that big into sci-fi movies or shows, I do think others could get behind and like this. Especially because it is well cast and only needs a few, easy to do, adjustments to really be a notable kids show.