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Binge Watchin' TV Review: Futurama

11.16.2016

Welcome to Binge Watchin,’ where we take a look at some of the best TV shows available on streaming or disc that have a great catalogue of seasons to jump into and get sucked into the beautiful bliss of binge watching! From crime, action, comedy, drama, animation, etc., we’ll be evaluating an assortment of shows that will hopefully serve as a gateway to your next binge experience.

Binge Watchin' TV Review, TV Review, Futurama, Animated, Sitcom, The Simpsons, Comedy, Science Fiction

Series: Futurama

Number of Seasons: 7 (140 episodes)

Where to watch: Blu-Ray/DVD, Netflix, Comedy Central

Binge Watchin' TV Review, TV Review, Futurama, Animated, Sitcom, The Simpsons, Comedy, Science Fiction

What’s the show about? 

Futurama is the brainchild of Simpsons creator Matt Groening and writer David X. Cohen. Set in the year 3000, the show follows the exploits of average schmoe Philip J. Fry. A pizza delivery boy without a bright future ahead of him, Fry falls into a cryogenic pod on January 1, 2000 only to awaken a thousand years later to a vastly different world. Seeking employment with his distant nephew, the old and brilliant Professor Hubert Farnsworth, Fry begins work as a delivery clerk for Planet Express. He befriends the foul-mouthed criminal robot Bender, falls in love with the one-eyed Leela, and meets a wide array of characters from our world and around the galaxy. Combining elements of The Simpsons with films like IDIOCRACY, Futurama is a brilliant spoof of our modenr society while exploring the funniest possible dystopian future.

Binge Watchin' TV Review, TV Review, Futurama, Animated, Sitcom, The Simpsons, Comedy, Science Fiction

Why should I watch it?

Airing over seven seasons and compiling 140 episodes, Futurama is like the best era of The Simpsons: topical, hilarious, irreverant, and unlike anything else on television. Sharing a biting satirical writing style, Futurama is a more adult cartoon than The Simpsons but retains the same skewed perspective on our world. But, at it's core, Futurama is still a story that finds humor in everything we humans find in everyday life: love, friendship, politics, family, and work. What makes this show work is the lack of limitations of a physical universe. Being animated, Futurama can exceed any boundaries that live action has while also being so ridiculously over the top that we can excuse what we are seeing as fiction despite it mimicking our real world to an almost eerie degree.

By presenting a future society that has reached almost a maximum of multi-culturality, Futurama still manages to mock and satirize things we see in our contemporary world. Robots, like Bender, are a minority and treated as such, leaving the mechanical beings as a ethnicity-less representation of everyone on Earth. Religion is shown as a corporate entity that can be used to sell goods and services while companies are alltogether different beasts whose power foreshadows arguments made in recent presidential elections. The show throws around terms like robosexual, Hypnotoad, Oprahism, blernsball, and countless other fictional ideas that make fun of 21st century America while still driving home a message of what our world could look like if you squint your eyes just a little bit. Hell, the head of Richard Nixon manages to get elected President. If that isn't a timely tale I don't know what is.

Binge Watchin' TV Review, TV Review, Futurama, Animated, Sitcom, The Simpsons, Comedy, Science Fiction

But, where The Simpsons saved their totally wacky stories for the annual Halloween specials, every outing of Futurama manages to take things to a ridiculous level. But, Futurama also manages to keep a pretty consistent timeline that incorporates stories from all seven seasons. The overarching tale of Fry's journey from useless loser to a member of a tight-knit group of friends and family as well as his gestating romance with Leela are given a fair and nice ending while leaving the door open for more stories. While Futurama was cancelled once by FOX and resurrected on Comedy Central, it seems like we will not see more new tales, but never say never. There is so much this universe that still deserves to be mocked. Now, shut up and take my money!

Best season:

While I was not a fan of the multi-part, single story later seasons of the show, they did offer some great stories missing from the third season of the show. The first two seasons of Futurama were the brightest the series had, especially the second year which introduced numerous characters and themes that would help build the later years of the show. Season two put extra focus on supporting characters like Hermes and Dr. Zoidberg while introducing secondary characters to bigger roles like Mom, Zapp Branigan, and Richard Nixon's head. The second season is one of the most critically acclaimed of the series and definitely can hold it's own alongside the best years of The Simpsons.

Final thoughts:

Futurama, unlike FOX's succesor series like Family Guy and American Dad, is written with a focused plot and narrative that mocks our society and culture while also embracing the best elements of genre fare. Like a cartoon spoof of Star Trek and STAR WARS, Futurama is representative of what The Simpsons brought to the small screen in regards to witty humor and razor-sharp wit, something sorely lacking from some live action series out there. I would love for there to be more Futurama but not if it dilutes the legacy of the episodes we already have out there. There are certainly some uneven episodes of the show, but binge-watching the entire series offers a look at how consistent the show was able to be while still maintaining standalone stories that can operate as their own unique tales. Futurama is a bright spot in genre television that deserves a larger base of viewers who appreciate the ridiculous and insane humor.

Source: JoBlo.com

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