So those of you who don’t watch Comedy Central or have bad taste you might not know that Futurama has been uncanceled and is back on TV as of today. Sure over the last year of so they put out 4 movies of middling quality, but now its back to the format in which it is best. So I’m writing quick reviews of tonights pair of episodes
Season 6 (I guess) Episode 1: Rebirth
It starts with showing how they made it back to Earth after the end of “Into the Wild Green Yonder” (Which I predicted as soon as new episodes were announced.) Though all except the professor were “killed” during their return, he manages to regenerate all of their bodies. But Leela remains in a coma and Bender must party all the time to keep his new power source from exploding. Fry is crazy and builds a robot Leela to replace the real Leela who finally wakens at her funeral. After much confusion over exactly who is a robot and how dumb Fry is everything goes back to normal.
I liked it. They main story, about Fry, Leela and Robot Leela was some classic Futurama flavor sci-fi. The professor had several funny lines, Fry was dumb and the side characters all got a few funny lines. I liked robot Leela philosophizing over whether or not she could really feel and Fry not understanding a word of it and Fry building a robot Leela and not realizing it. Another thing I liked a lot was the return to the classic theme song and not the remixed version from the movies. Not that it was bad, but with the original theme it feels more like real Futurama. On the bad side was the party Bender b-story. It was funny for about 2 minutes and afterwards was annoying. I think the creators realized this as well because there was really little to his story. Rebirth also continues a theme that shows up in several Futurama episodes: that each member, except Bender, really doesn’t like themselves. When there are two Leela’s they do not get along. The same is true when there are two Frys around. Overall Rebirth is a not quite great but still very good way to restart the series.
Season 6 Episode 2: In-a-Gadda-da-Leela
The second episode focuses on Zapp Brannigan. It starts with the Zapp Brannigan Show, a crappy TV show about the adventures of the incompetent 25-star General. President Nixon’s Head then tells Brannigan about the destructive Death Sphere that is destroying the universe. They go to recruit Professor Farnsworth and his new stealth fighter. Leela and Brannigan go in the one man craft to take out the Death Sphere, also known as V-Giny. Leela and Brannigan fail to stop the Sphere and end up crashed and incapacitated. The Professor finds out that the V-Giny is a combined military and censorship probe that destroys vulgar planets. To save Earth they preach against obscenity. Zapp treats Leela surprisingly well after their crash and Earth is apparently destroyed. Until Fry shows up and Zapp’s kindness is shown to actually be more sociopathic than kind. The V-Giny shows up and forces Leela and Zapp to have sex to save the Earth. They do.
I have some problems with this episode, most notably that it essentially ends with a rape. It really seems meanspirited and wrong to force Leela to have sex with Zapp. Worst of all its not very funny. Fortunately “The Transcredible Exploits of Zapp Brannigan” is really funny. As is Wonder Woman’s invisible plane that they fly to the Death Sphere. It is invisible but Leela and Zap are not. Zoidberg has a humorous fixation with Parcheesi and bender is a jerk. But the whole Leela and Zapp in the garden of eden part is about half hilarious and half mean. Zapp goes from being incompetent and careless to downright evil, but it is kind of funny until he gets rewarded for it. Overall I liked the first episode better, but this one was not really bad, it just featured some poor taste.
Most importantly Futurama is back!! All should be dancing in the streets in celebration. The only thing better would be the Arrested Development movie actually happening. But this did happen. I’m glad they brought back a show that deserved to comeback. (Family Guy is terrible and has been since a while before it was cancelled.) The only problem I see is that comedy central probably frees them of some of the restrictions that fox had. That would seem like a good thing, but judging by the audio commentaries on the DVDs the restrictions actually forced the show to be more clever than vulgar. Now they don’t have that and I hope my qualms with tonights show is a momentary thing. It feels lazy and cheap at times. I hope I am wrong and its not yet a problem but more of a suspicion. Futurama’s back baby!!!