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: Tv Guide  (Read 896 times)
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« : 08-10-2003 18:17 »

From tvguide.com

(7 pm/ET, FOX)

Futurama was a better show than it ever got credit for, save for last year's Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program, and another nomination this year. It was unfortunately easy to miss, up against 60 Minutes when it wasn't pre-empted by football overruns, which seemed to be most of the time. It was a comic jewel, mishandled by Fox and forgotten amid its more celebrated Sunday-night animated shows, The Simpsons and King of the Hill. The final first-run Futurama is tonight, but fans can at least be happy that repeats run daily on TBS, and will return to Cartoon Network in November.
For those of you new to this sharply satiric adventure, you're in for a treat.

In 1999 on a starry spring night, or what passes for one in Los Angeles, a preview party for Futurama was held at the Griffith Park Observatory, a landmark of science, elementary-school field trips and the climactic scene in Rebel Without a Cause. The first episode, "Space Pilot 3000" was projected on to the giant rounded ceiling, similar to the planetarium's astronomy shows. I thought it was the funniest thing I'd seen since, well, The Simpsons, the Matt Groening creation that had given him the freedom to produce this irreverent look at the year 3000.

And what glorious freedom! What couldn't you do in illustrating the 31st century? The star was a 20th-going-on-21st-century pizza-delivery slacker who on New Year's Eve 1999 was accidentally frozen for 1000 years. Dim but amiable Philip J. Fry (voiced by Billy West) stayed in the delivery trade by going to work for his great-great-great... great, etc. uncle, a nutty professor who also owned Planet Express, a one-spaceship intergalactic transport outfit. The staff included a swaggering, egotistical robot named Bender (John DiMaggio), a booze-and-fembots-loving kind of guy who would have been at home in early-1960s Vegas. Bender's stomach was a door, literally, to endless possibilities, usually producing just what was needed at least for a joke. Shades of "Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!" Bender seldom missed. He and Fry became roommates, recalling a way-latter-day Rocky and Bullwinkle, Bender with 31st-century street smarts and newcomer Fry his hapless-but-earnest (and taller) buddy.

Meanwhile, Fry developed a crush on the crew's captain, a purple-ponytailed, tank-top-clad pilot named Leela, as sexy a female cyclops as there ever was. But with Katey Sagal's deft vocal combination of strength and vulnerability, Leela never seemed quite to know how sexy she was, occasionally battling insecurities stemming from growing up an orphan. Leela, Bender and Fry were the nucleus of the series, maintaining a somewhat tacit friendship as they experienced adventures throughout the universe as well as here on Earth.

Most guests did head shots, literally, playing their own talking heads preserved for the future in glass bubbles. No less than Al Gore (whose daughter Kristin was a staff writer on the series) made his second appearance in this season's opener ("Crimes of the Hot" ) with a great take on global warming (combatted in 3003 by dropping giant ice cubes into the ocean). Other standouts to look for on cable: "Roswell That Ends Well," a terrific time-travel tale in which the Planet Express ship becomes the UFO in the 1947 New Mexico incident; and "Where No Fan Has Gone Before," an inspired spoof with original Star Trek cast members spoofing their series and its devoted followers.

With tonight's finale, in which Fry declares his feelings for Leela by writing and performing an opera, there will be 72 episodes in the can. I like to think that somewhere in the near future, a Fox executive will surf into an episode one starry night, or what passes for one in L.A., and laugh. And then cry. Steve Robinson

« #1 : 08-10-2003 19:50 »

Tips hat and sheds a tear for the beloved series

great article

DOOP Secretary
« #2 : 08-10-2003 19:53 »

Originally posted by vivitar99:
Dim but amiable Philip J. Fry (voiced by Billy West) stayed in the delivery trade by going to work for his great-great-great... great, etc. uncle, a nutty professor who also owned Planet Express, a one-spaceship intergalactic transport outfit.

Way to get the facts wrong, TV Guide.
totalnerd undercanada

DOOP Ubersecretary
« #3 : 08-10-2003 19:56 »

It's as right as non-nerds usually get it, DrT.
canned eggs

Space Pope
« #4 : 08-10-2003 20:50 »

Awesome article.  I never thought of Fry and Bender as Rocky and Bullwinkle before.  More like the odd couple...
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