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Author Topic: 10-12 episodes that best represent the series  (Read 6160 times)
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Binder

Starship Captain
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« on: 09-14-2013 15:10 »
« Last Edit on: 09-14-2013 15:14 »

So last night I was hanging out with a friend of mine. He asked how the Futurama finale was, and before I answered I asked if he had even seen the series. He had not. After a bit of arguing, mostly about how telling him what happened in the finale would mean nothing to him given he has never even seen the show, he agreed to watch 10-12 episodes and then the finale. Sort of a 13 episode truncated version of the series.

I've attempted a list, which I'll post below, but I need advice. I've tried to cover the big arcs, like Fry being sent to the future, the brain spawn, Fry and Leela's romance, and a few standout episodes. I also stuck in three episodes that ill note as being optional. I mainly chose them because I think they'll appeal to him.

1. Space Pilot 3000 (Sets everything up, essential viewing)
2. Hell is Other Robots (great episode, and essential for understanding The Devil's Hands)
(I didn't choose any season 2 episodes, any suggestion for at least one?)
3. The Luck of the Fryish
4. The Day The Earth Stood Stupid
5. Roswell that Ends Well
6. Jurassic Bark
7. The Why of Fry
*Where No Fan Has Gone Before (Optional episode - he's a big Star Trek fan, but mainly TNG)
8. The Farnsworth Paradox
9. The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings
*Bender's Big Score (Optional - I told him about the four movies, if by this point he wants to see one, this is the best of the four)
*Attack of the Killer App (Optional episode - not a great episode, but he is a fan of Apple products so I'd think he'd personally enjoy this one)
10. The Late Phillip J. Fry
11. Meanwhile

I'm either open to a season 2 episode that will really be essential viewing, or moving Where No Fan Has Gone Before into the 11 episodes. Or both?

I've noted that I cover a lot of the past and time travel. Perhaps a season 2 episode that really shows off the secondary characters of the PE crew and New New York?

Thoughts? Anybody have their own list?
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #1 on: 09-14-2013 16:10 »

The AV Club did a "ten episodes that represent Futurama the best" article recently. I agree with some of it, though would need to give it a good think before writing my own list. smile
Binder

Starship Captain
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« Reply #2 on: 09-14-2013 17:47 »

Thanks for the link! My only issue with the AV Club list is that it contains a few less than stellar episodes, and Reincarnation really only makes sense when watching it after ITWGY. It isn't really Futurama virgin friendly with the intro eps either.
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #3 on: 09-14-2013 19:44 »

True. But I guess there's a dividing line between introducing the show to someone with some small semblance of familiarity with the show, and someone who knows nothing about it whatsoever (in the case of the latter, you would pretty much need to show them a decent portion of season 1, since it establishes so much).

Futurama's top qualities lie with its premise, its futuristic setting, its penchant for sci-fi storylines, its characters, its emotional depth, and of course, its humour. The one Futurama outing that I think hits all those marks would be Bender's Big Score, but it's also a huge no-no for Futurama virgins, as they would need prior knowledge of the Nibblonians, Robot Santa, and Fry's extensive past among other things. In terms of regular-length episodes, I think the one that comes closest to meeting the all-around criteria would be Parasites Lost (which doesn't require TOO much knowledge of the mythos, either).

As for the rest of my list, I'd pick some individual episodes that meet at least one of two of that criteria. Definitely The Late Phillip J Fry, for its awesome sci-fi storyline and its big emotional punch. And you'd definitely need one relentlessly funny episode, to showcase the great comedy of Futurama... Maybe War is the H-Word, which also contains some great Zapp & Kif moments, and falls into the "adventure on another planet" category too, of which I think you should include at least one. But like I said, I'll jot up a full list once I've mulled it over some more. It's an interesting task to ponder. smile
Mr Zoidberg

Delivery Boy
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« Reply #4 on: 09-14-2013 20:20 »

I've noted that I cover a lot of the past and time travel. Perhaps a season 2 episode that really shows off the secondary characters of the PE crew and New New York?
How Hermes Requesitioned His Groove Back

I like your idea of a sort of condensed "best bits" season. Good luck!
Binder

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #5 on: 09-14-2013 21:58 »

So right now I'm considering (season and episode numbers correspond to Netflix, for his convenience):

1. Space Pilot 3000 - Season 1, Episode 1
2. Hell is Other Robots Season 1, Episode 9
3. War Is The H-Word - Season 3, Episode 1
4. The Luck of the Fryish - Season 3, Episode 8
5. The Day The Earth Stood Stupid - Season 3, Episode 12
6. Roswell that Ends Well - Season 4, Episode 7
7. Jurassic Bark - Season 5, Episode 2
8. The Why of Fry - Season 5, Episode 8
9. Where No Fan Has Gone Before - Season 4, Episode 12
10. The Farnsworth Paradox - Season 5, Episode 10
11. The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings - Season 5, Episode 16
12. The Late Phillip J. Fry - Season 7, Episode 7
13. Meanwhile - Season 10, Episode 13 (not yet on Netflix)

Optional episodes:
Bender's Big Score - Season 6, Episode 1
Attack of the Killer App - Season 7, Episode 3

I figure it covers the first and last episode (#1 and #13 on the list), introduces the Robot Devil (#2) which makes it easy to understand who he is in The Devil's Hands (#11), offers up a few very funny mission episodes (#3 and #9), offers up the big emotional episodes (#4 and #7), has a couple of crazy time & space bending episodes (#6, #10 and #12), and answers the big "was Fry's trip to the future an accident?" question (#5 and #8).

Then, like I noted, he said he might watch one of the movies so I chose the best one, and I threw Attack of the Killer App in ONLY because he is a big Apple fan so he might get a kick out of it. But I'll preface that it isn't there because it is great or essential in any way.

If he wasn't such a Star Trek fan, I'd have replaced "Where No Fan" with "The Sting".
SolidSnake

Professor
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« Reply #6 on: 09-14-2013 22:06 »

I don't think 10 episodes is nearly enough to represent the series. I'd say around 25-30 does the trick. The top 25 episodes I think best represents the series before Meanwhile aired is listed below. These episodes are pretty much essential for understanding some of the series' continuity, and other major facts of the show.

1. Space Pilot 3000
2. The Series Has Landed
3. I, Roomate
4. A Head in the Polls
5. Xmas Story
6. A Bicyclops of Her Own
7. War is the H-Word
8. Parasites Lost
9. The Day the Earth Stood Stupid
10. The Luck of The Fryrish
11. The Cyber-House rules
12. Time keeps On Slippn'
13. Roswell that Ends Well
14. Leela's Homeworld
15. Jurassic Bark
16. The Why of Fry
17. The Farnsworth Parabox
18. The Devils Hands Are Idle Playthings
19. Lethal Inspection
20. The Late Phillip J. Fry
21. The Prisoner of Benda
22. Reincarnation
23. Fun on a Bun
24. Vivas Mars Vegas
25. Murder on The Planet Express
Binder

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #7 on: 09-14-2013 22:45 »

I don't disagree, but the 10-13 number came from my agreed upon number with my friend. So I was restricted to that number.
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #8 on: 09-14-2013 22:49 »
« Last Edit on: 09-14-2013 22:50 »

It's tough to try and distill it down to so few.

1. Space Pilot 3000 (obviously, it's the pilot and it establishes things)
2. The Series Has Landed ("Meanwhile" has a lot of callbacks to it and it establishes a lot of other things)
3. Parasites Lost (the first really emotional episode and one of the first real developments of Fry and Leela's relationship)
4. The Luck of the Fryrish (just plain fantastic and the first episode to really deal with Fry's past)
5. The Day the Earth Stood Stupid (deals with Fry's grand purpose in the universe and sets up "The Why of Fry")
6. Roswell that Ends Well (generally considered to be the best episode)
7. Leela's Homeworld (establishes that Leela is a mutant, rather than an alien - and a great episode)
8. Jurassic Bark (probably the most notorious episode - and a great episode, too)
9. The Why of Fry (further deals with Fry's grand purpose and one of the real hints at things to come with him and Fry and Leela)
10. The Farnsworth Parabox (I'd say that this is the best example of an episode with no goal other than to be hilarious)
11. Bender's Big Score (I'd say it's the best of the movies)
12. The Late Philip J. Fry (a phenomenal episode, the best of the revived run and the first time we've really seen Fry and Leela properly interact as anything resembling a couple)

13. Meanwhile


Although, if he's a big Star Trek fan, you definitely want to swap one of those for "Where No Fan Has Gone Before".
Binder

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #9 on: 09-14-2013 23:24 »

I might add "The Series Has Landed" and hope he'll accept a 14 episode list. Thanks!
totalnerd undercanada

DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #10 on: 09-14-2013 23:27 »

Turnip's list works pretty well for me. It covers the major points of Fry's overall arc, as well as the Fry/Leela relationship. But I think that I agree with Snake. You need at least fifteen to make a decent stab at encompassing the series as a whole (and I'd slap Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles in there, along with The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings.

Given twenty-five episodes, I think that you could pretty much sum up the entire show, whilst including at least one episode from each season, and thus get a newcomer to the series well and truly introduced to the Futuramaverse.
Monster_Robot_Maniac

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #11 on: 09-14-2013 23:57 »

Here are my picks, in no paticular order.....

1)SP3K
2)A Tale of Two Santas
3)Roswell that ends Well
4)The Why of Fry
5)Leela's Homeworld
6)The Farnsworth Parabox
7)The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings
8)The Prisoner of Benda
9)Overclockwise
10)Meanwhile
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #12 on: 09-15-2013 01:56 »

Here are my picks, in no paticular order.....

1)SP3K
2)A Tale of Two Santas
3)Roswell that ends Well
4)The Why of Fry
5)Leela's Homeworld
6)The Farnsworth Parabox
7)The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings
8)The Prisoner of Benda
9)Overclockwise
10)Meanwhile


What is this? Some kind of Monster Robot Maniac Fun Collection?
UnrealLegend

Space Pope
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« Reply #13 on: 09-15-2013 03:33 »

It's tough to try and distill it down to so few.

1. Space Pilot 3000 (obviously, it's the pilot and it establishes things)
2. The Series Has Landed ("Meanwhile" has a lot of callbacks to it and it establishes a lot of other things)
3. Parasites Lost (the first really emotional episode and one of the first real developments of Fry and Leela's relationship)
4. The Luck of the Fryrish (just plain fantastic and the first episode to really deal with Fry's past)
5. The Day the Earth Stood Stupid (deals with Fry's grand purpose in the universe and sets up "The Why of Fry")
6. Roswell that Ends Well (generally considered to be the best episode)
7. Leela's Homeworld (establishes that Leela is a mutant, rather than an alien - and a great episode)
8. Jurassic Bark (probably the most notorious episode - and a great episode, too)
9. The Why of Fry (further deals with Fry's grand purpose and one of the real hints at things to come with him and Fry and Leela)
10. The Farnsworth Parabox (I'd say that this is the best example of an episode with no goal other than to be hilarious)
11. Bender's Big Score (I'd say it's the best of the movies)
12. The Late Philip J. Fry (a phenomenal episode, the best of the revived run and the first time we've really seen Fry and Leela properly interact as anything resembling a couple)

13. Meanwhile


Although, if he's a big Star Trek fan, you definitely want to swap one of those for "Where No Fan Has Gone Before".

This list is pretty much perfect.

It's a shame that almost all the great episodes are about Fry, because this selection sadly has little character variety.

If you MUST have a season 2 episode, I'd chose either:

-Brannigan Begin Again (arguably one of the funniest episodes, but might not be as good without seeing LLLIS)

-Xmas Story (a reasonably well-known classic that features some of the earliest Fry/Leela shippiness)

-Why Must I be a Crustacean in Love? (makes great use of Zoidberg, unlike most of the good episodes. Also has a lot of Fry)

-Put Your Head on My Shoulders (another funny episode that makes great use of Amy)

-How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back (One of the only Hermes episodes that's genuinely great)
totalnerd undercanada

DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #14 on: 09-15-2013 03:41 »

Of those, I think WMIBACIL is probably the best for giving a flavour of Futurama. It's got most of the crew doing at least something for at least one scene, and it's absolutely hilarious almost all the way through.

It's definitely a good example of the heights that the show's capable of reaching. Although, the other suggestions are too.
cartoonlover27

Professor
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« Reply #15 on: 09-15-2013 03:56 »

Of those, I think WMIBACIL is probably the best for giving a flavour of Futurama. It's got most of the crew doing at least something for at least one scene, and it's absolutely hilarious almost all the way through.

It's definitely a good example of the heights that the show's capable of reaching. Although, the other suggestions are too.

I agree. WMIBACL is one of my favorites. Some more that are good for representing the show are The Deep South and The Prisoner of Benda.
Monster_Robot_Maniac

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #16 on: 09-15-2013 04:12 »

I always though A Farewell to Arms was pretty good at representing the show. It involves every main Crew member, along with most of the Secondary characters, and had a very large and interesting plot.
Anna3000

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #17 on: 09-15-2013 21:49 »

I think cyber_turnip's list is basically perfect, but if I were forced to choose one single episode to represent the series, it would be a toss-up between X-mas Story and The Prisoner of Benda. They may not be as excellent overall as episodes like RTEW or TLPJF, but I do think they give a better flavor of what the series is as a whole while still being great episodes.

Both of them involve each Planet Express employee in some manner and give a fairly thorough idea of what every one of them is like, including the less-prominent characters, Hermes and Amy. They also give a good image of how life in the future is, whereas TLPJF and RTEW have settings that are pretty far removed from the average Futurama episode.
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #18 on: 09-16-2013 03:21 »

cyber_turnip's list is great, though it's a little too heavy on the "significant" episodes - you don't want to spoil all the big moments of the show for someone in an introduction. Leela's Homeworld, for example, has a much more satisfying emotional pay-off when aired in its intended place in the series because we've been through so much of Leela's hardship up until that point. We've learned all about her past in the orphanarium in The Cyber House Rules, we saw how desperate she was to learn her origins in A Bicyclops Built for Two... Not to mention the pay-off is underwhelming without prior knowledge of the mutants and the their role in the show. I would cut down on episodes like this and maybe just put in at least one "space adventure" episode, and at least one with Zapp and Kif.
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #19 on: 09-16-2013 11:30 »

You know what? I totally agree with Beamer.

Swap "Leela's Homeworld" for "Where No Fan Has Gone Before", seeing as they're into Star Trek.
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #20 on: 09-16-2013 11:45 »

Plus, Where No Fan Has Gone Before also meets the criteria for a "space adventure" and has a decent amount of Zapp & Kif. wink

It definitely wouldn't be in my list unless I was showing it to a trekkie, but yeah, if that's the case, I think Mr. Turnip has just about nailed it. I wouldn't show them Bender's Big Score without showing them at least one Xmas episode though, that whole third act is just going to leave them mystified.
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