Soma's Blog

July 4, 2010

Futurama is back

Filed under: TV — somanov @ 09:45

Good news everyone… One of my all time favourite TV series is back. And like a lot of die hard fans I have been worried if the new season will still be Futurama as we all know and love it. After watching the first three episodes I am relieved to say: it still is…. wait let me rephrase this: It still is BUT….

Warning: minor Spoilers ahead!

Although the first episodes have been rather mediocre they still got the distinct wacky feel of true Futurama episodes and I got a few good laughs out of each. Bender still has the “right” attitude, the professor is mad as ever and Zoidberg is still the funniest side character in the history of TV ( ” Aha that explains the growth on your drive shaft! “). I still have a few gripes:

First of all as Futurama runs on a different network now they can probably get away with a lot more stuff. This was plainly visible in the first two episodes where there was a lot more explicit nudity than ever before. Dont get me wrong, I dont mind nudity on TV ..especially not of characters like Leela or Amy (and of course Zoidberg 😛 ) .. but I sure hope they will not overuse this.

My bigger gripe so far is the writing. Although I will admit that there have been weak Futurama episodes in the past, and none of the new episodes have been terrible. The writing on “Rebirth” was pretty solid. The story felt a little rushed but they had a lot of ground to cover. The first part of “In-a-gadda-da-Leela” was pretty strong (death spehere , invisible stealth craft piloted by Leela and Zapp) but the second half of the episode was kind of a letdown. The Leela/Zapp interaction just did not do it for me, and the conclusion of the episode felt just plain WRONG. Leela eagerly volunteering to “take one for the team” was completely out of character. I loved the final punchline though … “Was it as good for you as it was for the human race?” I gotta try this one myself some day 😉

The “Killer App” episode was solid Apple/Twitter bashing. Which is not a bad thing by itself and I kind of enjoyed it. But it feels weird to have Futurama do a whole episode of social commentary about current day phenomena. The show is set roughly a 1000 years in the Future, today’s technology and hypes will be ancient history by then. To think that social media will not evolve beyond Twitter and viral videos in the next 1000 years appears unimaginative and short-sighted to me. A lot of the jokes in this episode seemed random and reminded me more of Family Guy than Futurama (A singing boil named Susan? Come on writers you can do better than that.)

Also it feels like the writers have no idea where the Fry/Leela relationship is going, and thats pretty unsatisfying to me. Give them a chance I say (or kill the whole thing off and show them move on). But please be clear about it.

But despite these gripes I am pretty happy to have Futurama back. I just hope the writing in the upcoming episodes will be stronger and more akin to the “old classics”. Please dont go down the Family Guy road and dont focus on social commentary .. Family Guy, South Park and Simpsons already got that covered pretty well. At its core Futurama always was a Science Fiction show, and there are a lot of SciFi things out there that need to be made fun of. I have always loved Futurama for their strong well-told stories, great characters and inside jokes. So what better way to end this post than with an appeal to the writers in the words of their very own show: “Good humor based on character and real situations, not random crazyness.” (Amazon Women in the mood)

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