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Author Topic: Mainstream Futurama: Yay or nay?  (Read 3105 times)
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PEE Poll: Would mainstream popularity ruin futurama?
Yes   -11 (35.5%)
No   -7 (22.6%)
Not Sure   -11 (35.5%)
Futurama is already ruined   -2 (6.5%)
Total Voters: 31

Mr Snrub

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« on: 09-06-2012 19:31 »

Imagine if, overnight, futurama got ridiculously popular. Like, Simpsons levels of popularity. Suddenly you can't go into a shop without seeing futurama t-shirt's, posters, cuddly toys, knives, forks, wallets, hats and every other thing you can think of as merchandise. Since futurama is somewhat a hipster/underdog show, part of its charm lies in the fact that it doesn't really try to appeal to a mass demographic, and has a much more contained audience. But if everybody was watching it, more pop culture references and celebrity cameos would be an almost certainty. What do you think?
sparkybarky

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« Reply #1 on: 09-06-2012 19:57 »
« Last Edit on: 09-06-2012 20:07 »

Good question, Snrub. I voted a hesitant yes. Not because I have that mentality where if something is popular then I dislike it (what other term is there besides hipster-think? That word is so overused), but due to the nature of the entertainment business. Not like I have the inside track in that industry; it just seems that when a movie or book franchise, or TV series, starts appealing to mainstream tastes, then Big Corporations step in. Executives who care little about artistic value and genuinely good storytelling would influence the show in order to increase viewership and profit.

(Edit: with the current run, I think this has already happened, to a certain extent; though not the vast gangbang rape that The Simpsons has undergone.)

And I always thought, once an artist has become well known by the masses, then s/he loses that edge, a uniqueness that is what appealed to his/her core fan base in the first place. That's not necessarily true all of the time, but much of the time.
Otis P Jivefunk

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« Reply #2 on: 09-06-2012 19:59 »

Since futurama is somewhat a hipster/underdog show

Hipster show now? no no...

I wouldn't want cheap tacky merchandise pouring out of every orifice, nor would I want a surge in popularity to cause the writers to change what they're doing in order to please the masses. Neither of those should have to be the case if it were to get more popular though...

If the increased popularity caused more revenue to invest in a larger team of writers then that could in theory be a good thing. It is already a popular show though, but if it got more mainstream then I wouldn't mind at all just as long as the show itself didn't suffer for it. As it is the show is already suffering, but not for that reason...

totalnerd undercanada

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« Reply #3 on: 09-06-2012 20:30 »

Popularity itself won't ruin anything. It's pandering to the whims of the masses that'll ruin it. Which will happen if it attains mass popularity, because all of a sudden people will be worried about keeping that popularity. Which will ruin it, but suffice to ensure that it remains popular with the masses whilst alienating the initial audience who allowed it to reach out to the new fanbase in the first place.
MuchAdo

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« Reply #4 on: 09-06-2012 21:20 »

Exactly what he said.

That's why The Simpsons sucks now, it's all pandering... it became what it parodied the most.
DannyJC13

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« Reply #5 on: 09-06-2012 21:43 »

I'm not sure if it would ruin the show itself, but Futurama's underdog status is what I like about it. It's so annoying when you go into school or on a social network and just see everyone talking about the same thing. I think part of Futuama's awesomeness is the amazing hardcore fans it has, and the casual viewers, which are mainly made up of cool nerdy dudes and dudettes.

Part of me wants the show to become super successful, but the other part of me wants it to stay super exclusive in a way, I guess both options have pros and cons. hmpf I'm on the fence.
Boxy Robot

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« Reply #6 on: 09-06-2012 22:01 »
« Last Edit on: 09-06-2012 22:04 »

Futurama is a show that rewards it's longtime/hardcore viewers. Either it be through a return to a one time planet or through a return of a joke only used once. I believe that if the shows popularity did increase we would be seeing a lot less of that and a lot more episodes focused on Bender (being the character many casual viewers remember and like)and a lot less secondary characters.

I also believe that the writers would try to get laughs by making more references to popular culture that would make the casual viewer chuckle on the night of it's airing but fans like us, watching in two or three years on DVD, just sigh. Painfully (if we even get what it was referencing)


PS. I also hate it (especially in the Simpsons) when guest stars play themselves (it works sometimes but most of the time, just no) I also don't particularly like it when done in Futurama so I would hate seeing celebrity cameos (unless they play an actual character such as Patrick Stewart did)
cyber_turnip

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« Reply #7 on: 09-06-2012 22:33 »

The show would almost certainly improve in the short term because the budget would almost certainly get increased.

That would allow them to revert back to using full orchestrated music and the maintain the higher standard of animation they used to have (less sloppy drawings getting through the woodwork), but most importantly, they'd be able to hire a full team of staff writers like the golden years of the show so that each episode would be pumped full of humour on top of having lots of people in the room who could shout out "that idea is bullshit" when someone pitches something like Fry pulling Leela's arm off.
Boxy Robot

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« Reply #8 on: 09-06-2012 23:15 »

That would allow them to revert back to using full orchestrated music and the maintain the higher standard of animation they used to have (less sloppy drawings getting through the woodwork), but most importantly, they'd be able to hire a full team of staff writers like the golden years of the show so that each episode would be pumped full of humour on top of having lots of people in the room who could shout out "that idea is bullshit" when someone pitches something like Fry pulling Leela's arm off.

I love the idea of them hiring just one single person to sit in the corner of the room and shout that out whenever a bad idea is raised. They don't provide a better idea, they just sit there and say that  tongue
Mr Snrub

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« Reply #9 on: 09-06-2012 23:37 »

So basically the futurama writing room needs Statler and Waldorf.
Professor Zoidy

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« Reply #10 on: 09-07-2012 02:02 »

Yes, yes they do.


I do agree with TNUK. Anything that becomes popular becomes the populace's little bitch just to keep an audience for as long as possible.
DotheBartman

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« Reply #11 on: 09-07-2012 02:53 »

It's not like The Simpsons was some obscure cult show until 1998; in all the years it was at its best it was an incredibly popular show. It just went on too long.

I like for things I enjoy to be popular because it means more people get to enjoy them. Wishing for something to be less popular is pointless.
TheMadCapper

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« Reply #12 on: 09-07-2012 03:23 »

Imagine if, overnight, futurama got ridiculously popular. Like, Simpsons levels of popularity. Suddenly you can't go into a shop without seeing futurama t-shirt's, posters, cuddly toys, knives, forks, wallets, hats and every other thing you can think of as merchandise. Since futurama is somewhat a hipster/underdog show, part of its charm lies in the fact that it doesn't really try to appeal to a mass demographic, and has a much more contained audience. But if everybody was watching it, more pop culture references and celebrity cameos would be an almost certainty. What do you think?

Popularity itself won't ruin anything. It's pandering to the whims of the masses that'll ruin it. Which will happen if it attains mass popularity, because all of a sudden people will be worried about keeping that popularity. Which will ruin it, but suffice to ensure that it remains popular with the masses whilst alienating the initial audience who allowed it to reach out to the new fanbase in the first place.

I think along the lines of cranky Briton tnuk, with one exception. The whole premise of this thread presupposes that all of a sudden the world starts loving Futurama. To me, this means Futurama as it exists now gets more and more notice, not that Futurama changes to pander and THEN becomes popular. Because when they change the soul of the show to attract more viewers, it was ruined before it became popular.
UnrealLegend

Space Pope
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« Reply #13 on: 09-07-2012 05:39 »

Not immediately, but I think it it would inevitably go downhill if that were to happen, as others have pointed out.
El-Man

Urban Legend
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« Reply #14 on: 09-07-2012 07:50 »

One hopes that MG and DXC are smart enough to see what happened to The Simpsons and avoid it. Then again, pressure from the suits could change it all...
Spacedal11

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« Reply #15 on: 09-07-2012 08:35 »

Dammit, I hate that hipster is becoming a way to describe something. As I understand it "hipster" logic dictates that the person/place/thing in question is not popular and that's why people like it. There isn't any other reason to like it other than it's not the "cool" thing so they like it "ironically" (I hate this new expression of "I like this non-ironically" too).

All of this does not fit the bill to describe Futurama. This is a show that had a small following, but had loyal viewers who provided enough revenue to revive the show after it's cancellation. On Comedy Central now it pulls in viewers. There are the casual and the hardcore, but I've never heard anyone say they like the show just because it's not that popular. I think Futurama is popular, but at a healthier level than The Simpsons. It's always fun when I find someone who also watches it but I like that it's under the radar, I don't need it to be hugely popular for me to like it. The only thing popularity would bring in is more seasons and bigger budget, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The only annoying thing about the show now is all the memes. Also I forget is the "Not sure if..." meme actually a still from Insane in the Mainframe after the exchange "Robots don't say ye!" "I'll show ye..."?
Mr Snrub

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« Reply #16 on: 09-07-2012 11:16 »
« Last Edit on: 09-07-2012 17:15 »

The only annoying thing about the show now is all the memes. Also I forget is the "Not sure if..." meme actually a still from Insane in the Mainframe after the exchange "Robots don't say ye!" "I'll show ye..."?
Nope, the lesser of two evils, after Fry takes the map from Bender.
futurefreak

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« Reply #17 on: 09-07-2012 18:27 »

Wow these are all fascinating observations to read!

I wouldn't call this show hipster, and I detest that word being associated with it, for the reasons Spacedal mentioned mad

Danny: Dude/dudette? You're starting to sound like me 10 years ago. I didn't hit a weird time code and now I am in the presence of a younger, maler Randi am I? big grin Hehe.

I agree with what sparkybarky said, about the show already kinda being mainstream. Mainstream enough that people are now juts starting to get into it who had never seen the ORIGINAL episodes when it was good, and just want something new to watch on TV to replace The Simpsons perhaps. Maybe it's because they don't know what they're missing, but I do - and so I am a little biased in saying that I don't see how anyone could jump on the Futurama bandwagon right now considering how high it soared before.

That said, I love merchandise as you all know (Miss Most Addicted to Merchandise 2011), but I hate when it becomes mainstream and it's everywhere. It becomes...less special. And more expensive lol. I am irritated that Toynami hasn't come out with new figures in a long while and I am having to rely on Kidrobot for my addiction, but I also like that  can't find the stuff in a Target, Wal-Mart, etc. It's pretty much either online or if you're lucky, a bigger comic shop (although Bender encores have started popping up at Toys R Us as some of you merchers may be aware of).

Like part of the reason I enjoy Star Trek over Star Wars is 1. the heavy influence its had on early Futurama writers, and 2. it's merch isn't as prevalent as Star Wars. Go into any store at Christmas time and you'll have shelves of Wars ornaments, stockings, etc. But nothing of Star Trek. It makes me sad and glad at the same time, because although I do wanna see more Trek on the sheves, it's more special to me to know that it's not pandering to 6 year olds in order to feed Lucas' bank account.

So to sum up, I guess then my answer would be no, I would not like it to become mainstream (more so than it already is anyhow).
totalnerd undercanada

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« Reply #18 on: 09-07-2012 18:32 »

Go into any store at Christmas time and you'll have shelves of Wars ornaments, stockings, etc. But nothing of Star Trek.

Aww. Were you hoping to be able to hang Kirk and Spock's baubles on your tree, or did you just want to see the Captain's Yule Log?
futurefreak

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« Reply #19 on: 09-07-2012 18:36 »

I was hoping to make a very special Captain's Lieutenant's log entry this Christmas, actually flirt
totalnerd undercanada

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« Reply #20 on: 09-07-2012 18:44 »

I was hoping to make a very special Captain's Lieutenant's log entry this Christmas, actually flirt

I think you mean you were hoping to upload the contents of his log to your main computer. The way you said it sounds like you want to stick something down his urethra.
futurefreak

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« Reply #21 on: 09-07-2012 20:22 »

This is not a productive area of discussion shifty
totalnerd undercanada

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« Reply #22 on: 09-07-2012 20:51 »

I dunno. A urethra can be pretty productive. As in it can produce rather large amounts. As in... well, I think you can guess. It certainly lends another layer of meaning to mainstream.

Okay. I'll be good now.
DotheBartman

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« Reply #23 on: 09-07-2012 21:27 »

With how many millions of reruns that Comedy Central schedules per day, I can guarantee that new casual fans are not watching JUST the brand new episodes. Most likely, they're watching whatever episodes happen to be on and don't even notice a difference.
futurefreak

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« Reply #24 on: 09-07-2012 22:54 »

Most likely, they're watching whatever episodes happen to be on and don't even notice a difference.

Ohhh that's a little insulting and scary to think about no no
Mr Snrub

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« Reply #25 on: 09-08-2012 00:06 »

Most likely, they're watching whatever episodes happen to be on and don't even notice a difference.

Ohhh that's a little insulting and scary to think about no no
True, but it could improve the chances of more futurama in the long run, if they're liking the CC run as much as the old run.
futurefreak

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« Reply #26 on: 09-08-2012 02:35 »

More Futurama isn't necessarily the answer. I give you The Simpsons as proof of that. If it continues the way it is I would rather see it put out of its misery than have to sit through another agonizing season no no
Mr Snrub

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« Reply #27 on: 09-08-2012 02:55 »

You see it that way, but it hasn't reached that stage for me just yet. I'm happy with the quality of the episodes at the moment, but if it drops any further, yes, it would need to be killed off while it still had some dignity.
DannyJC13

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« Reply #28 on: 09-08-2012 14:01 »

More Futurama isn't necessarily the answer. I give you The Simpsons as proof of that. If it continues the way it is I would rather see it put out of its misery than have to sit through another agonizing season no no

Why don't you just stop watching? Seems silly to want it to end (which would be ruining it for people who still like it) and forcing yourself to watch it instead of just stop watching. hmpf
sparkybarky

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« Reply #29 on: 09-08-2012 17:20 »

Danny, I think she said she pretty much stopped watching. 
futurefreak

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« Reply #30 on: 09-08-2012 17:41 »

What sparkybarky said. There's a reason I stopped watching in August.
sparkybarky

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« Reply #31 on: 09-08-2012 17:51 »

Offtopic: don't you have Frisco with you? Is so, please don't watch much of anything but do other "activities."  wink
DannyJC13

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« Reply #32 on: 09-08-2012 19:50 »

What sparkybarky said. There's a reason I stopped watching in August.

Then why do you keep mentioning you're gonna catch up? confused
futurefreak

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« Reply #33 on: 09-08-2012 22:58 »

Offtopic: don't you have Frisco with you? Is so, please don't watch much of anything but do other "activities."  wink
Can't it be a little of both? flirt

What sparkybarky said. There's a reason I stopped watching in August.

Then why do you keep mentioning you're gonna catch up? confused

Just so I can rant about it some more big grin Also you know, I kinda feel like I have to so I stop avoiding certain threads for fear of spoilers.
DotheBartman

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« Reply #34 on: 09-09-2012 09:19 »

Honestly, if I was watching random repeats for the first time right now I doubt I would particularly be able to tell the difference myself. Sure if I actually got into the nitty gritty of it and looked at episode guides I'd probably eventually observe "hey, seasons 3 and 4 seem to have been the best ones," but that's not the same as watching the newer ones and immediately thinking "wow, this isn't very good, it must be a later episode" or whatever. Stylistically and especially comparing the "average" episodes of those seasons to the current ones, I don't really see a whole lot of difference.

I recall getting into The Simpsons when seasons 9 and 10 were the most recent ones running in syndication, and the difference between those and the older (good) seasons was really beyond obvious. Completely different scenario here compared to that.
Mr Snrub

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« Reply #35 on: 09-09-2012 21:10 »

I recall getting into The Simpsons when seasons 9 and 10 were the most recent ones running in syndication, and the difference between those and the older (good) seasons was really beyond obvious. Completely different scenario here compared to that.
It's not from season 9 or 10, but I watched All's fair in Oven War today; one of the most painful half hours of my life.
AllEggsIn1Basket

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« Reply #36 on: 09-11-2012 15:19 »

I think Futurama is pretty popular in the mainstream. Cable is mainstream. Most of it anyway; I'd argue that if it came on Lifetime it wouldn't be. iTunes is mainstream. The only thing that makes it anything but 100% mainstream is the fact that during its original run over a decade ago, it was a cartoon geared towards adults. Back then, it was pretty much just AdultSwim that catered to adults who wanted to watch animated humor. These days that's a completely acceptable format for adult programming. When baby boomers like my parents choose to watch Family Guy even though there's a rerun of Law & Order on at the same time, that tells me cartoons for adults are mainstream. My vote was "no" mainstream popularity wouldn't (and hasn't) ruined Futurama. It's an animated comedy that appeals to a broad age range- high schoolers, college students, people with kids, and even (gasp!) grandparents like my mom.
robodog

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« Reply #37 on: 09-11-2012 19:40 »

Well it certainly deserves more popularity. As long as it doesn't change the quality of the show for the worse I wouldn't mind if it became more mainstream. At least then maybe I could find me a Bender T-Shirt to go with my Homer Simpson and Stewie Griffin ones.
FishyJoe

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« Reply #38 on: 09-12-2012 04:44 »
« Last Edit on: 09-12-2012 04:49 »

The show is pretty mainstream in certain respects. Most people know about it and most people "like" it and most people can recognize the main characters instantly...but not all of those people who know about it and like it etc actually watch the show on a regular basis, which is why the ratings struggle.

That is pretty common with scifi. Mainstream crowds enjoy broad concepts but don't necessarily follow a franchise week in and week out. (Think about how many non-scifi nerds "like" Star Wars and know what a lightsaber is and know who Darth Vader is, but probably couldn't tell you the general plot of the movie?)

Honestly, if I was watching random repeats for the first time right now I doubt I would particularly be able to tell the difference myself. Sure if I actually got into the nitty gritty of it and looked at episode guides I'd probably eventually observe "hey, seasons 3 and 4 seem to have been the best ones," but that's not the same as watching the newer ones and immediately thinking "wow, this isn't very good, it must be a later episode" or whatever. Stylistically and especially comparing the "average" episodes of those seasons to the current ones, I don't really see a whole lot of difference.

I recall getting into The Simpsons when seasons 9 and 10 were the most recent ones running in syndication, and the difference between those and the older (good) seasons was really beyond obvious. Completely different scenario here compared to that.

I've been a critic of season 7A, but I see what you're saying.

Just a few days ago I managed to catch the beginning of The Duhvinci Code (which I'd only seen once before, back when it originally aired) and for a minute I honestly couldn't remember which episode it was, or if it was old or new. It started out with the gameshow, which was pretty funny, then it continued with a decent string of Fry-is-stupid jokes, and then once it kind of launched into the main story I realized it was a newer episode. But there was a minute or two where I honestly wasn't sure.

This may be an indictment of my awful memory more than anything else, but I have to say, I was impressed at how similar in style it was to the early episodes. I don't remember caring for the episode all that much back when it first aired...but now that we are a couple years removed from it, it's just kind of blended in with the rest of the classic episodes.
DotheBartman

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« Reply #39 on: 09-12-2012 07:07 »
« Last Edit on: 09-12-2012 07:13 »

Occasionally I randomly think of a joke from the show and think "wait, which one was that from?" And then I'll realize it's from a newer one.

I'm already not predisposed to disliking newer episodes more really. I do think seasons 3 and 4 were the best ones, but it's more just because there were a higher number/percentage of "home run" episodes then. I think in terms of the show's overall style, and comparing the quality of any random average episodes (not your Roswells and your Godfellases. Or hey, your Late Phillip J. Frys) from each season, the show is really roughly the same. There are differences, but they are differences I would expect to see in a show as it goes on for a while and develops and changes as all shows do (for better or worse or even without a change in actual quality). The fact that I could watch a season 6 episode randomly and not especially notice the difference between it and an episode from an earlier season is actually fairly remarkable just because most TV shows change quite a bit more than that by the time they even get that far.

Mind you seasons 3 and 4 especially just had more real classic episodes (although I feel like they also had a lot more misses than any other seasons, interestingly. Including the newer ones), but beyond that I tend to think that most of the criticism of the show changing is fairly overblown. That's not even to say some of those changes haven't occurred to some degree, but even those are (often, not always) really blown out of proportion in terms of their importance or severity. I doubt your average person would even be able to tell that the show now has maybe 5-10 percent more pop-culture jokes than it used to or whatever.
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