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Photo: Hulu

Television

‘Koala Man’ season 1 review: Making the mundane extreme

Koala Man is here to protect suburban Australia.

The next great superhero TV series is not from Marvel or DC, but from an unlikely place. Created by Michael Cusack (Smiling Friends, YOLO: Crystal Fantasy) and executive produced by Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites), Koala Man offers a delightful alternative to those shows from the Big Two.

Our protagonist is Kevin, a middle-aged family man with a boring office job in the local government. Both he and his alter ego are a stickler for the rules and are unwilling to compromise, even for the smallest of infractions. This mundane, every man persona serves as a stark contrast to the outlandish threats he encounters. Because of his lack of powers, there are real stakes as he takes on a variety of enemies such as street level gangs and cannibals to larger cosmic dangers and invading forces. Koala Man has a nice villain of the week format, each as creative and twisted as the next. Every episode captures the adventure and excitement of a comic book.

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What’s also enjoyable are the warped takes on pop culture and genre. Some are silly such as the time physics of “The Red Hot Rule.” While others can be out there including the sexual charged invasion of the body snatchers of “The Great One” and the full blown Mad Max type rumble found in “Emu War II.” The unpredictability of everything keeps you glued to find out what is coming next and the world building will have you wanting for more. Though episodes stand on their own, it’s nice to include sprinkles towards the overall narrative tied to the big bad, the Kookaburra.

Koala Man has an interesting band of characters as well. Kevin’s daughter, Alison, is the black sheep and has her own diabolical plans to become the most popular girl in school. The biggest buzz may surround the alpha male and head of the town council, Big Greg, because he’s voiced by Hugh Jackman. It’s quite surprising to hear the actor say such obscene things. However, the real breakout member is Maxwell, the wheel chair bound, senior war veteran. He has a colorful and humorous history and might come off as even more heroic than the titular character.

koala man big greg cheers sodas back on
Photo: Hulu

The over the top theatrics are entertaining, but what keeps you invested in Koala Man is its lead. We receive a compelling backstory of our hero and what made him choose this lifestyle. It’s his purity and being a regular guy that grounds everything in spite of the extreme events occurring around him. We also learn why he chose to be a koala in a tragic story. This all helps foreshadow the ending and the true identity of his nemesis, the Kookaburra.

The series also explores the toll the superhero life takes on the ones closest to you. There is a large strain on his family relationships, especially his wife. Kevin is a devoted dad and makes sincere efforts to repair his connections to his spouse and children. It’s endearing to see the family grow closer together as the season progresses. Even Alison softens up a bit. This applies an emotional balance to all the action.

Koala Man has everything you want from a superhero series: exciting action, high stakes, colorful characters, and a surprising amount of heart.

Stream the entire season of Koala Man on Hulu.

koala man 2
Koala Man S 1 review
Koala Man has everything you want from a superhero series: exciting action, high stakes, colorful characters, and a surprising amount of heart.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Strikes a good balance of outlandish action and situations with more grounded intimate moments.
The storylines are inventive, twisted takes on genre and pop culture.
The senior veteran, Maxwell, steals the show with his humorous past and moments of heroism.
The identity of the big bad is predictable.
9
Great

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