With Matt Groening’s new show Disenchantment finally arriving on Netflix, I figured I’d revisit my personal favorite Groening show: Futurama.
Sorry Simpsons, but you lasted a few decades too long.
Spoiler alert: this show still holds up. At least the first few seasons do. But good god, those first few seasons are a treasure even to this day!
For those who don’t know, I’ll break down the basic premise of Futurama. The show stars Phillip J. Fry, or just Fry, a regular loser from 1999. His girlfriend doesn’t respect him, his family members are far more successful than him, and he’s working a pizza delivery job with a bicycle. His life is miserable.
That is until, one day, he is knocked into a cryogenic freezing tube for a thousand years. When he awakes, he’s in the year 2999, where he meets some new friends: Leela the cyclops woman, Bender the alcoholic robot, his Great-Great Nephew Professor Farnsworth, Zoidberg the space crab man, Amy Wong and Hermes. Together, they work the Planet Express delivery service.
Antics ensue. Antics such as an adventure through a Willy Wonka parody in the ‘Slurm’ Factory after Fry wins a contest (my personal favorite episode), Fry accidentally getting rich and pissing off the head robot-production company in the world MOM, running Planet Express into the ground (this happens a lot) or a trip into the sewers to confront mutants.
All of which are still hilarious to this day.
The characters are wonderful. Everyone is just likable enough for you to care about them, and just evil enough to be hilarious. Seeing them get into over-the-top situation one after another is great.
Better yet, the characters actions do have consequences that last throughout the series (most of the time, at least. it does every time it’s important). For example, near the end of the Titanic episode (another classic) the space soldier Kip hooks up with Amy thanks to a little pushing from her parents. Then, in a later episode, Kip struggles to confess his genuine love for Amy. They get together in the end, and from that point on they’re a couple for the rest of the series.
Stuff like that makes a comedy far easier to stick with. It makes the series feel like an actual story, and not just ‘check out this weeks goofy situation’. Sure, most episodes fall under the latter category, but the former happens just enough to keep the world evolving and growing.
I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it at that. It’s still a great series, even to this day. If you haven’t watched it before, fix that. If you have, watch it again.
Or you can watch that new show, Disenchantment (not sponsored). I haven’t seen it yet, so I can’t attest to it’s quality, but you won’t know until you try.
Not that I’m expecting it to be better than Futurama.