Futurama: Episode Reviews

Click the link of the title of the show to see the review.

Season One Episodes

“Set in the year 3000, Futurama is the acme of sci-fi animated sitcom from Simpsons creator Matt Groening. While not as universally popular as The Simpsons, Futurama is equally hip and hilarious, thanks to its zippy lateral-thinking contemporary pop cultural references, celebrity appearances (Pamela Anderson and Leonard Nimoy are among a number of guest stars to appear as disembodied heads in jars) and Bender, a distinctly Homer Simpson-esque robot.

Part of Futurama’s charm is that with decades of sci-fi junk behind us we’ve effectively been living with the distant future for years and can now have fun with it. Hence, the series stylishly jumbles motifs ranging from Lost in Space-style kitsch to the grim dystopia of Blade Runner. It also bridges the gap between the impossible dreams of your average science fiction fan and the slobbish reality of their comic reading, TV-gawping existence. Groening himself distinguishes his two series thus: “The Simpsons is fictional. Futurama is real.”

The opening series (premiered in 1999) sees nerdy pizza delivery boy Fry transferred to the 31st century in a cryogenic mishap. There, he meets the beautiful, one-eyed Leela (voiced by Married with Children’s Katey Sagal) and the incorrigible alcoholic robot Bender. The three of them join Fry’s great (x30) nephew Professor Farmsworth and work in his intergalactic delivery service. Hyper-real yet strangely recognisable situations ensue–Fry discovers he is a billionaire thanks to 1,000 years accrued interest, Leela must fend off the attentions of Captain Kirk-like Lothario Zapp Brannigan, and Fry accidentally drinks the ruler of a strange planet of liquid beings.”

–David Stubbs, Amazon

 Space Pilot 3000

Written by Matt Groening, David X Cohen
Directed by Rich Moore, Gregg Vanzo

The Series Has Landed

Written by Ken Keller
Directed by Peter Anvanzino

I, Roomate

Written by Eric Horsted
Directed by Bret Haaland


Love’s Labours Lost in Space

Written by Brian Kelley
Directed by Brian Sheesly


Fear of a Bot Planet

Written by Evan Gore, Heather Lombard
Directed by Peter Anvanzio, Carlos Baeza

Fishful of Dollars

Written by Patric M Verrone
Directed by Ron Hughart, Gregg Vanzo

My Three Suns

Written by J Stewart Burns
Directed by Jeffery Lynan and Kevin O’Brien

A Big Piece of Garbage

Written by Lewis Morton
Directed by Susan Dietter

Hell is Other Robots

Written by Eric Kaplan
Directed by Rich Moore

A Flight to Remember

Written by Eric Horsted
Directed by Peter Anvanzio

Mars University*
Written by J Stewart Burns
Directed by Bret Haaland

When Aliens Attack

Written by Ken Keller
Directed by Brian Sheesly

Fry and the Slurm Factory

Written by Lewis Morton
Directed by Ron Hughart

* Reviews being prepared

Season Two Episodes

“The continuing adventures of Fry, Leela, Bender, Zoidberg, Hermes, Professor Farnsworth and the rest who work at Planet Express. Not to forget Captain Zapp Brannigan (“We have failed to uphold Brannigan’s Law. However I did make it with a hot alien babe. And in the end, is that not what man has dreamt of since first he looked up at the stars?”) and his hapless subordinate Kif Kroker. ”

Play.com

Matt Groening’s second series of the 31st century sci-fi sitcom Futurama maintained the high scripting standards of the first as well bringing improved digital animation. Couch potato Fry now seems thoroughly reconciled to his new existence, transported 10 centuries hence to “New New York” and working for Professor Farnsworth’s delivery service. He’s surrounded by a cast of freaks, including the bitchily cute Amy (with whom he has a romantic brush) and Hermes, the West Indian bureaucrat.

Most sympathetic is the one-eyed Leela (voiced by Katey Sagal). Like Lisa Simpson, she is brilliant but unappreciated; she finds solace in her pet Nibbler, a tiny creature with a voracious, carnivorous appetite.

By contrast, Bender, the robot, is programmed with every human vice, a sort of metal Homer Simpson with a malevolent streak.

In one of the best episodes, Bender is given a “feelings” chip in order to empathise with Leela after he flushes Nibbler down the toilet. Elsewhere, Fry falls in love with a Mermaid when the team discover the lost city of Atlanta, Fry and Bender end up going to war after they join the army to get a discount on gum, and John Goodman guest stars as Santa Claus, an eight-foot gun-toting robot.

Brimful with blink-and-you’ll-miss-them hip jokes (such as the sign for the Taco Bellevue hospital) and political and pop satire, Futurama isn’t a stern warning of things to come but rather, as the programme-makers put it, “a brilliant, hilarious reflection of our own materially (ridiculously) over-developed but morally under-developed society.”

 –David Stubbs, Amazon

I Second that Emotion

Written by Patric M Verrone
Directed by Mark Ervin

Brannigan, Begin Again

Written by Lewis Morton
Directed by Jeffrey Lynch

A Head in the Polls

Written by J Stewart Burns
Directed by Brett Haaland

Xmas Story

Written by David X Cohen
Directed by Peter Avanzino

Why Must I be a Crustacean in Love?

Written by Eric Kaplan
Directed by Brian Sheesley

The Lesser of Two Evils

Written by Eric Horsted
Directed by Chris Suave

Put Your Head on My Shoulders

Written by Ken Keller
Directed by Chris Louden

Raging Bender*
Written by Lewis Morton
Directed by Ron Hughart

A Bicyclops Built for Two

Written by Eric Kaplan
Directed by Susan Dietter

A Clone of My Own

ritten by Patric M Verrone
Directed by Rich Moore

How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back

Written by Bill Odenkirk
Directed by Mark Ervin

The Deep South

Written by J Stewart Burns
Directed by Bret Haaland


Bender Gets Made

ritten by Eric Horsted
Directed by Peter Anvanzino

Mother’s Day

Written by Lewis Morton
Directed by Brian Sheesly

The Problem with Popplers

Written by Darin Henry, Patric M Verrone
Directed by Gregg Vanzon, Chris Suave

Anthology of Interest I

Written by Eric Rogers, Ken Keller, David X Cohen
Directed by Rich Moore, Chris Loudon

War is the H- Word

Written by Eric Horsted
Directed by Ron Hughart

The Honking

Written by Ken Keller
Directed by Susan Dietter

The Cryonic Woman

Written by J Stewart Burns
Directed by Mark Ervin


* Reviews being prepared

Season Three Episodes

Good news, everyone, the third series of Futurama is just as funny as ever–irreverent, boundlessly inventive, warmhearted and chock full of in-jokes, sight gags and fleeting references to all manner of pop culture icons and obscure genre classics. In fact, if the show has a problem it’s this very fecundity: it’s all so lovingly crafted that scarcely a frame goes by without something both funny and clever going on: when a horse wins a race by a quantum fraction, Prof Farnsworth fulminates “You changed the result by observing it!”

Recurring minor characters (Elzar the chef, the robot mafia, the mutants in the sewers) pop up unexpectedly throughout, providing another wink to dedicated fans; like Red Dwarf, this is a show that loves the genre it sets out to spoof.

Shame, then, that the show has had a troubled broadcast history and never quite found the mainstream appeal of its stablemate The Simpsons.

This year, Fry and the Planet Express team find themselves stranded on a planet of unfeasibly large women (“Amazon Women in the Mood”), standing in for psychotic Robo-Santa (“A Tale of Two Santas”, with John Goodman reprising his evil robot) and variously falling in love with each other and sundry other humans, aliens, man-bots, fem-bots, virtual reality constructs and even the Planet Express ship itself.

 –Mark Walker, Amazon.


Amazon Women in the Mood

Written by Lewis Morton
Directed by Brian Sheesly

Parasites Lost*
Written by Eric Kaplan
Directed by Peter Avanzino

A Tale of Two Santas

Written by Bill Odenkirk
Directed by Ron Hughart

Luck of the Fryrish*
Written by Ron Weiner
Directed by Chris Loudon

The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz

Written by Dan Veeber
Directed by James Purdum

Bendless Love

Written by Eric Horsted
Directed by Swinton O. Scott III

The Day the Earth Stood Stupid

Written by David X Cohen, Jeff Westbrock
Directed by Mark Ervin

That’s Lobstertainment!

Written by Patric M Verrone
Directed by Bret Haaland

The Cyber House Rules

Written by Lewis Morton
Directed by Susan Dietter

Where the Buggalo Roam

Written by J Stewart Burns
Directed by Susan Dietter

Insane in the Mainframe*
Written by Bill Odenkirk
Directed by Peter Avanzino

The Route of All Evil*
Written by Dan Vebber
Directed by Brian Sheesly

Bendin’ in the Wind*
Written by Eric horsted
Directed by Ron Hughart

Time Keeps on Slipping*
Written by Ken Keller
Directed by Chris Loudon

I Dated a Robot*
Written by Eric Kaplan
Directed by James Purdum

“A Leela of Her Own”*
Written by Patric M Verrone
Directed by Swinton O Scott III

“A Pharaoh to Remember”*
Written by Ron Weiner
Directed by Mark Ervin

Anthology of Interest II*
Written by Lewis Morton, David X Cohen,
Jason Gorbett and Scott Kirby
Directed by Bret Haaland

Roswell that Ends Well*
Written by J Stewart Burns
Directed by Rich Moore

Goodfellas*
Written by Ken Keller
Directed by Susan Dietter

Future Stock*
Written by Aaron Ehasz
Directed by Brian Sheesley

The 30% Iron Chef*
Written by Jeff Westbrook
Directed by Ron Hughart


* Reviews being prepared

Season Four/Five Episodes

No more good news everybody–this fourth series of Futurama is the show’s last. By turns frenetic and far-sighted, Matt Groening’s futuristic comedy provided belly-laughs for self-confessed SF nerds, but somehow failed to connect with a broader audience, even though it was often funnier and sharper than stablemate The Simpsons. So now bid farewell to the Planet Express team–Fry, Leela, Zoidberg, Bender, Amy, Hermes, Prof Farnsworth–as well as to kindly Kif, cloned Cubert, megalomaniac Mom, mutants in the sewer, the cast of robo-sitcom All My Circuits, swashbuckling space lothario and William Shatner wannabe Zapp Brannigan, Elzar the four-armed chef, and all the other characters that made Futurama such a unique experience.

This fourth and final year has all the elements that fans enjoyed so much–but also those elements that partially explain its cancellation. Recurring characters are great if you’ve watched the show before, as are the in-jokes; and the many parodies of classic science fiction are fine for the initiated, but risk leaving other viewers out in the cold. The show’s strengths and perceived weaknesses are exemplified in the episode “Where No Fan Has Gone Before”, in which the original cast of Star Trek play themselves: hilarious for Trekkers, but not really for anyone else. Elsewhere we find Leela discovering her real parents aren’t aliens at all but in fact live in the sewers; Kif getting pregnant; Fry discovering the fossilised remains of his faithful pet dog; and Bender being converted to steam power. Despite some ups and downs, it’s still the funniest animated show on TV. Those responsible for cancelling it can bite my shiny metal …

–Mark Walker, Amazon.

 

 Love and Rocket*

Written by Dan Vebber
Directed by Brian Sheesley

Leela’s Homeworld*
Written by Kristen Gore
Directed by Mark Ervin

Where No Fan Has Gone Before*
Written by David A Goodman
Directed by Pat Shinagawa

Crimes of the Hot*
Written by Aaron Ehasz
Directed by Peter Avanzino

Jurassic Bark*
Written by Eric Kaplan
Directed by Swinton O Scott III

A Taste of Freedom*
Written by Eric Horsted
Directed by James Purdum

Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch*
Written by Bill Odenkirk
Directed by Wes Archer

Less then Hero*
Written by Ron Wiener
Directed by Susan Dietter

Teenage Mutant Leela’s Hurdles*
Written by Jeff Westbrook
Directed by Bret Haaland

The Why of Fry*
Written by David X Cohen
Directed by Wes Archer

The Sting*
Written by Patric M Verrone
Directed by Brian Sheesley

The Farnsworth Parabox

Written by Bill Odenkirk
Directed by Ron Hughart

Three Hundred Big Boys*
Written by Eric Kaplan
Directed by Swinton O. Scott III

Spanish Fry*
Written by Ron Weiner
Directed by Peter Avanzino

Bend Her*
Written by Mike Rowe
Directed by James Purdum

Obsoletely Fabulous*
Written by Dan Vebber
Directed by Dwayne Carey-Hill

Bender Should Not Be Allowed on TV*
Written by Lewis Morton
Directed by Ron Hughart

The Devil’s Hands are Idle Playthings*
Written by Ken Keller
Directed by Rich Moore

* Reviews not yet prepared

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Futurama reviews are © 2006 – 2019 Chrystal Litchford, Ryan Bechtel and other named reviewers.  Not for reproduction without the authors express permission

Futurama names, characters and everything else associated with the series are the property of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.