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Author Topic: Futurama Runtime Extension?  (Read 772 times)
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Mobius Dick
Crustacean
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« on: 08-08-2011 17:04 »

First time poster, very, very long time lurker.
I've noticed a lot lately that people are getting frustrated with Futurama episodes feeling rushed, particulary at the end. It looks to me like shaving a minute and a half of run time has wounded the show somewhat. So as a possibly very obvious question, how about just making episodes longer? What's actually stopping this happen? I was thinking the show could either move to a 40 minute long format, or simply the normal length episodes but as two part episodes.
I mean think of all the classic sci fi shows that are currently thriving on tv, and they are almost always 40 minutes long. This is mostly because a good sci fi plot requires more than the usual amount of time, if its going to introduce an alien (BAM. PUN) topic to its audience, deal with it, then resolve it properly. Why should Futurama be any different, just because it's animated? I'd happily take half the amount of episodes in a season for fully fleshed out plots any day.
I know most of the problems with this probably come from the network but there are ways around it; two part episodes but which have self contained plot elements for example. I just think that if you look at Futuramas current ratings the majority of those people are the hardcore fans who would happily sit through extra minutes of the show.
Thoughts?
Bend-err

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #1 on: 08-08-2011 17:09 »
« Last Edit on: 08-08-2011 17:12 »

Welcome to PEEL.


Adding another 20 or so Minutes would also add 20 more minutes of story writing, drawing, animating and dubbing them. So it would make the episodes quite a lot more expensive all around. And who says that making the episode 40 instead of 22 minutes less rushed? Might very well just have more story crammed into the time.
Or it could also end up in an episode feeling to dragged out and too much "nothing" happening.
DannyJC13

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #2 on: 08-08-2011 17:12 »

It pisses me off that we could fit a full length ep on our UK channel Sky One but we have to watch a shorter CC version. mad

MAKE FUTURAMA IN THE UK THEN YOU'LL HAVE LONGER EPS! big grin
SonicPanther

Professor
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« Reply #3 on: 08-08-2011 17:14 »

Because Futurama is a comedy show more than it's a sci-fi show. There have been comedies at that run time, I'm sure, but ~22 minutes is standard for the genre.
Mobius Dick
Crustacean
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« Reply #4 on: 08-08-2011 17:20 »

Perhaps then two part episodes could be used as the premier and finale stories? Might give a nice special touch to the event of it all. (In fact CC already show a double bill for premiers so we know they are behind it) While i think the 'specials' we had were slightly TOO long, it was nice to see the plots have more time to breathe. As you suggested it backfired slightly on Benders Game for examp,e as it didnt have an one episodes story to tell, let alone 4 episodes worth. So perhaps see how it goes just on the once or twice season basis - to be used only when the writers know they have a big story to tell. Take some of the more plot filled episodes of Futurama and tell me they couldn't be benifitted with a some more introduction time for new characters, perhaps some more time to provide a reason to go to 'X' plannet for 'X reason?
Mobius Dick
Crustacean
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« Reply #5 on: 08-08-2011 17:22 »

Because Futurama is a comedy show more than it's a sci-fi show. There have been comedies at that run time, I'm sure, but ~22 minutes is standard for the genre.

Do you really think that though? i guess i always loved the show because it made me laugh, but the specials in particular made me see that the shows sci fi credentials made me want to watch it just as much, if not more. I thought ITWGY was distinctly lacking in jokes, but was really cool as a sci fi story for instance.
SonicPanther

Professor
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« Reply #6 on: 08-08-2011 17:47 »

I'm not saying it isn't also sci-fi, but comedy is its primary genre and that's what it's marketed as. It's on a network called Comedy Central, for starters.
Mobius Dick
Crustacean
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« Reply #7 on: 08-08-2011 17:57 »

I'm not saying it isn't also sci-fi, but comedy is its primary genre and that's what it's marketed as. It's on a network called Comedy Central, for starters.

I do see what you mean, and i've never seen an animated comedy run for longer than 20 minutes or so. However it's very rare to see Family Guy, Simpons etc feel rushed, mostly because what thier humour tends to focus on is a family issue, one part of a political debat or societal issue. Futurama does these too like with Proposition Infinity, but that didnt feel rushed. Its the fact that a lot of Futuramas comedy is about sci fi plots. I think its just a branding issue where Futurama is pitted against rival animated comedy shows, when its kinda in its own category.
Otis P Jivefunk

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« Reply #8 on: 08-08-2011 18:23 »

I have noticed the rushed endings; in fact it's often the entire third act which is rushed in these new Futurama eps. I don't think they require massively extended run times to cure it though, I mean they were fine how they were in the original run at just a little bit extra. They managed to fit so much into eps like Luck Of The Fryrish, Parasites Lost, The Sting, and Roswell That Ends Well for example, and they weren’t massively longer, just a little bit longer. They didn't feel rushed to me, so that to me proves a massively extended run time isn't required...

I think it's down to two things; losing the extra minute and a half or whatever it is has obviously cost them and they do have to rush a bit more to fit things in, however I don't think it's entirely down to that. In reality if they put a little bit more time into working out what is most important to leave in, and to the pacing of the whole episode then I feel most of the rush endings could be avoided even with the shorter run times. The Late Philip J Fry seemed pretty much perfect to me despite the shorter run time, so again it proves it can be done. No doubt the shorter run time does prove to be an extra challenge though...
SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
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« Reply #9 on: 08-08-2011 18:34 »
« Last Edit on: 08-08-2011 18:37 »

Most of the endings this season are very very rushed, but I don't think its entirely down to a lack of an extension.  I think a lot of the new episodes suffer from pacing problems, and way too many of them take too long setting up their plot, and half the time, I have noticed the plot is finally picking up/getting funny, only to look down and see the episode only has two or three minutes left.  An extension would be great, but the episodes seem to talke too long setting up the second act and the third act, and the results: rushed endings that often don't really make sense or feel very unsatisfying.   Fat needs to be trimmed, and there are episodes like Neutopia, which felt like several great ideas for an episode crammed together.  Neutopia would have been a much better episode if the three acts were actually developed into their own episodes.
meisterPOOP

Professor
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« Reply #10 on: 08-08-2011 19:41 »

I'm sure, but ~22 minutes is standard for the genre.
If you are refering to cartoons, the standard is 2/~10 minute episodes in a half-hour.  Until 2000 prime-time cartoons were very rare and so was the ~22 format.  But stretching it to 40 minutes; that would be rare; and to do that on a regular basis you'd have to be on one of the pay-services such as HBO or Showtime.
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #11 on: 08-08-2011 23:51 »

MAKE FUTURAMA IN THE UK THEN YOU'LL HAVE LONGER EPS! big grin

That's the last thing we need. They'd animate it on Flash. Although I might be able to wrangle some sort of low-level job at their production company if they made it here... so I'd enjoy that.

As for the above post... there's no reason that they couldn't switch to doing 2-parter episodes in their current Comedy Central format. It'd take up 2 of each season's 26 episodes instead of 1, but it wouldn't be impossible. In fact, frankly, I'd like them to consider 2-parters from now on if episodes suit the concept. Obviously not every episode needs an extension, but some would definitely benefit. That said - I agree with SpaceGoldFishfromWazn (which I seem to be doing an awful lot, lately) in that the episodes that feel rushed could probably be saved if the writers took more time stripping them down.

Oh well, I'm still happy with the show as it is.
DannyJC13

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« Reply #12 on: 08-08-2011 23:52 »

That's the last thing we need. They'd animate it on Flash. Although I might be able to wrangle some sort of low-level job at their production company if they made it here... so I'd enjoy that.

Transfer all the companies that make it over here. smile

SonicPanther

Professor
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« Reply #13 on: 08-09-2011 01:50 »

I'm sure, but ~22 minutes is standard for the genre.
If you are refering to cartoons, the standard is 2/~10 minute episodes in a half-hour.  Until 2000 prime-time cartoons were very rare and so was the ~22 format.  But stretching it to 40 minutes; that would be rare; and to do that on a regular basis you'd have to be on one of the pay-services such as HBO or Showtime.
True, but I think adult animated comedies like Futurama are closer to live-action comedies in that regard. I can't think of any of those that use the 2 10~ minute episodes format.
coldangel

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #14 on: 08-09-2011 02:08 »

I call for a trilogy of 3-hour cinematic Futurama movies.
Mobius Dick
Crustacean
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« Reply #15 on: 08-09-2011 02:18 »

I call for a trilogy of 3-hour cinematic Futurama movies.
Then they can release a prequel trilogy telling the previously unknown story of how fry came to the future, and fell to the dark side.
meisterPOOP

Professor
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« Reply #16 on: 08-09-2011 03:37 »

Ha,Ha, Ha...

I guess the idea would be doable if Futurama had a significantly sized broadcast outlet that would commit to a full-hour of back to back episodes for a significant period of time (thus have what would be a 2/~22 format).

It drives me crazy when they rerun the Futurama movies in the 4 episode format, there is nothing particurly compelling that ties my interest from episode to episode and if they are going to air the movie, air the MOVIE, not 4 episodes consecutively.

Kind of reminds me of what KISS did in 1978.
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