An Australian way to kick it into the new year, Koala Man is a lot of fun and the next great series to check out on Hulu. Part Family Guy and part The Simpsons, mixed with every superhero trope in existence, the show is about a Koala-themed average Joe and father turned superhero, and the misadventures he falls into while keeping evil away from his small town of Dapto.
What works best about Koala Man is how the series features a lot of heart. It has a run-time of about 30 minutes, all filled with action potential given the many enemies and strange monsters threatening the town. Most importantly, the series focuses in on the small town hero tropes of everyday man against impossible situations is a low-budget Batman type of parody. The show is essentially answering the ‘What If’ question of what would it be like to see Homer Simpson as a Superhero, if Springfield was based in Australia.
The family structure even follows the same tropes. You have the supportive but possibly regretful wife, Vicky (Sarah Snook); the daughter who wants to be a popular influencer, Alison (Demi Lardner); the uncool and shrimpy son Liam (Michael Cusack); then of course, Kevin as Koala Man (Also, Cusack).
The first-ever Australian superhero based TV series, Koala Man is left in great hands by being executive produced by Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit, who are both the writers behind Pokemon: Detective Pikachu. The series is created by Michael Cusack, who’s a beloved Youtube and Newgrounds animator actually from Australia, known for Smiling Friends and Yolo: Crystal Fantasy. Though what makes Koala Man pretty righteous watch is how grounded Cusack has shaped this world regarding his hometown and the people in Australia.
The first episode plays on the importance of putting the bins on the outside on garbage day. Which may seem like a simple annoyance, until the episode dutifully drags it out onto a metaphor for something much bigger. This, along with, the tall poppy syndrome where a person feels the need to bring a fellow Australian down a peg when they get too hoity-toity, kind of showcases just what type of comedy the series aims to be. It also just focuses on a simple premise of a working class Australian dad who just… wants to do a pretty basic right thing. Who then, surreptitiously, gets dragged into a larger conflict along the way almost every day.
If that weren’t enough to check it out, then how about the fact that the series is also pulling major stars such as Jermaine Clement and Hugo Weaving. As a treat for what’s essentially the series version of ‘Adam West in Family Guy’, Koala Man has also, somehow, was able to pull in Hugh Jackman… who is easily the most lovable Australian in existence with the exception of Chris Hemsworth.
What I think I notice best about the series, is just how much heart went into making it. It’s sort of pleasant, polite, yet also, very trope-filled parodies of the nuclear family and the superhero genre. Just like the early Simpsons episodes it features a family who just seeks to be normal but is set in a world that’s anything but…
Which is a pretty standard testament to the times.