Reviews of Futurama (1999) and related work
- Sequel: Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs (2008)
A pizza delivery guy in his mid-twenties falls into a cryotube and is flash frozen on the eve of Y2K. Defrosted 1000 years later, he quickly adjusts to a far-future world from his Gernsbackian childhood fantasies, a New New York of robots, aliens and affordable sidewalk suicide booths.
A racier retro-SF analogue of The Simpsons (1989), sharing its creator, character design style, occasional musical performances, and inconsistent degree of serialization. The animation relies partly on cel-shaded CGI. The worldbuilding is lifted from the ostensible Golden Age of Science Fiction, recognizable from stories like “The Repairman” (1958).
There’s a good edge at first, and some gold (Zoidberg, Nixon, “I’m a gigantic brain”, brilliantly smooth metafiction), but the series jumps the shark in season four with “A Pharaoh to Remember”, plodding through its last episodes—these include a whole season—in the US quagmire of zany melodrama and discontinuity. Don’t listen to the fanboys who say it was cancelled ahead of its time. It would have been better off dying young, with planning.
‣ Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs (2008)
More of the same, for better and worse.