I actually meant to write this while I was in Granada, but with hanging out and working and then no laptop I never got around to it. Now more than half a year later I’m getting around to it when it is no longer relevant, but meh. I was very excited to hear that Futurama had been renewed after a 5 year hiatus since it seemed about as likely as Firefly being renew. Since it was Comedy Central that renewed the show this allowed for slightly more adult humor than on Fox. This is one of the things that stood out to me…it seemed to be nudity and sex just for the sake of it, while on Fox adult jokes had managed to be implied and be funnier at the same time.
The episodes were a lot better than the movies in my opinion. The movies were interesting and funny enough although they often seemed to miss the mark. Perhaps it was the writers just being out of practice, or perhaps more likely the show simply isn’t suited to a movie format. The D&D/LOTR paraody for example seemed like it would have been fine for an episode or two, but being stretched out over 4 episodes was just too much and felt strained.
So, let’s look at the episodes. Rebirth was a nice start to the series giving a plausible explanation after the conclusion of Into the Wild Green Yonder with some nice well deserved jabs at Fox. In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela was a nice story showing the lengths Zapp will go to for Leela’s respect, although I feel the childish sex humor mentioned above somewhat let it down. Attack of the Killer App managed to be a perfect parody of the typical Apple customer and Apple as a corporation which I liked. At the same time, it seemed a bit too obvious. I don’t know exactly why but The Simpsons or Futurama just don’t stand out when they do parodies…they always seem far too obvious without much thought behind them.
Speaking of which I felt The Duh-Vinci Code was one of the poorer episodes of the season. A shorter version of The DaVinci code with robots and aliens but short on humour. That Darn Katz! Was a nice paring of Amy and Nibbler with a few jokes, but again it just seemed like a mediocre episode somehow. Still this isn’t a bad thing as a mediocre episode of Futurama is far far better than much of the stuff on TV. The Prisoner of Benda was a fun little bodyswapping adventure….although how it is that Bender can switch with Humans is yet to be explained. I quite liked the Fry/Leela subplot where they went to disgusting lengths to prove they were not shallow.
Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences was a nice Lrrr-centric episode. There isn’t much more to say on it as Lrr is awesome by himself and that’s all that needs to be said. The Mutants Are Revolting was a nice 100th episode which resulted in the mutants being allowed to live on the surface. Futurama has always been good with continuity so it will be interesting to see if this has any effect on later episodes. The Futurama Holiday Spectacular was a nice additional episode although I somewhat missed the What If Machine premise.
Now for my favorite episodes. Two of my favorite episodes of Futurama were Jurrasic Bark and The Luck of the Fryrish. Very well written with real character development, pathos and just the right does of humor. Not since the early episodes of The Simpsons have there been such well written heartfelt animated shows. There were two episodes in season 6 that I felt came close but ended up falling short of the bar set by the previous episodes. Lethal Inspection was a heartfelt story with Bender realizing that he isn’t immortal (despite all the evidence to the contrary) and showing a softer side of Hermes. I really enjoyed this episode and don’t have anything bad to say about it and it’s probably my third or fourth favorite episode now.
The Late Philip J. Fry was an interesting episode. I really liked the subplot with Fry running late for Leela due to circumstances outside of his control and there being tension on the relationship because of it. It was interesting to see how the staff got on with their lives absent the Professor, Fry and Bender. The trek through time was interesting and I liked many of the different era’s be it a world of voluptuous educated insatiable women or a time when giraffes rule the land. This episode seemed to be equal parts The Farnsworth Parabox and Love and Rocket which was an impressive feat to pull off.
One aspect I really liked and that I have always appreciated in Futurama is the accurate use of scientific theories or hypothesizes. The idea that the Universe is the result of a Big Bounce effect is interesting, although it is quite disheartening to think we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over for eternity. Speaking of the science aspect, A Clockwork Origin is probably my favorite episode of the season. This episode tackled the Creationism Vs Evolution debate in a very intelligent manner and not just going for the easy Creationist bashing as is so often the case. I expected something similar with The Simpsons episode The Monkey Suit (S17) although that was quite a let down. Simultaneously acknowledging there are things we simply cannot prove with Science and never may be able to and that we can’t simply dismiss some ideas simply because they may seem ludicrous from one perspective was well done. It was a very pleasant surprise, and I can’t wait for the next season.
I’m very glad that Futurama is back, here’s hoping for six more awesome season. As a final thought, I will leave this link to some Futurama artwork. Some creepy, some interesting, some cute…all impressive.