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The Futurama Review Project

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I've decided to watch all of Futurama. I was big on the show when it premiered but I never followed it that regularly. I would see episodes here and there. And then it got cancelled. Years later, I saw it on the cartoon network and started trying to catch up on it again and what I missed but then I kind of stopped because other stuff would catch my eye.

Then there were the 6th and 7th seasons that I never saw but I think it was Plugabugz or Ooohboy who used to review them in the "rate the last TV show" thread (which is sometimes why I wish things could be divided by series instead of everything in one mega thread to look up past comments) and seemed pretty positive about them especially the ending of the series. A good series ending can go a long way to make a series great. I think it's one helps give MASH part of its enduring appeal. Recently, I just wanted to watch a little comedy while eating a meal and thought of Futurama and finally seeing it all. I'm sure there's even episodes in the original 4 season run I've missed.

Why not post the progress here on NWR and make this forum further into my own personal blog? Sure, the reader reviews forum mentions it for being about Nintendo games but that doesn't give this forum much life. I've always felt that just opening it up to reviews in general might better suit it. If the mods don't agree, then you can move this over to General Chat but I say we shake things up a bit. Rattle a few cages. Plus, destroying the Review Forum will at least give the Funhouse time to breath and recover from how much I've been suffocating it in the last couple months so that I can go back and burn it all down again later.

I'm not interested in really getting in depth with things here. I'm sure there are many other sources out there and better reviewers than I who have broken the series down quite well. I'm just going to rate episodes and make a few quick observations about them. My grading system will just be a simple A, B, C, D, F. Here's a breakdown:

A = a top tier episode and one I would watch again and again and recommend to people to make them fans of a show. Using The Simpsons as a reference, an A would be an episode like Last Exit to Springfield. 

B = a solid episode but slightly lacking in someway which holds it back. Using The Simpsons as a reference, a B episode would be like Homer the Vigilante

C = an average episode. You get some enjoyment out of it and sometimes you are a bit bored by it. Using the Simpsons as a reference, a C episode would be like Lisa on Ice.

D = a subpar episode. There's a bit of enjoyment but a lot of the episode doesn't work or, worse, annoys you. Using the Simpsons as a reference, a D episode would be like Saturdays of Thunder.

F = a failure. Would not want to watch again. Even if there is one or two good moments, the rest of the episode destroys any desire to see them again. Using the Simpsons as a reference, an F episode would be like All Singing, All Dancing.

As I watch more episodes, I'll add them to this thread. If anyone wishes to join in on this or make their own specific comments about episodes as I cover them, please feel free to join in. I'm always interested to know what other people take away from the same viewing experience.

Let's begin!

Season 1

Space Pilot 3000

Despite having seen this episode a few times, it had been years since I'd last watched it so a lot of it felt fresh again. The characters voices seemed a bit off to me but that is to be expected as the voice actors were only just learning them. It does a good job of introducing the main 3 characters and this world to get you to come back for more even if it feels more like set-up then self-contained story. Rating: B

The Series Has Landed

This episode sold me on Futurama and it still holds up so well. More of the cast is introduced, there are more laughs than the pilot and all kinds of different gags throughout the episode come together in the end. Really well done and Fry's sentiments about the moon echo my some of my own thoughts about it. A perfect blend of sentiment and laughter. Rating: A

I, Roommate

The series is still doing some world building in this episode which is to be expected and establishing the character relationships. It's not as brilliantly plotted as the 2nd episode but it's got a lot of great material especially the whole Bender being sober and told to drink element. I was cracking up at that. A good little twist ending also helps wrap up the episode strong. Rating: B

Love's Labours Lost in Space

The introduction to Zap Brannigan. While the beginning of finding Leela a date is ok, when the episode meets up with Zap Brannigan and starts making some Star Trek jokes is when it really takes off. His willingness to send wave after wave of men to their deaths cracks me up now thinking about it. Long-suffering Kif is the perfect foil. The episode then scales back down on the comedy by the time the crew leaves Zap and land on the planet. Another good ending although it isn't really funny but a bit clever in how it all works out. Rating: C

Fear of a Bot Planet

While Bender is clearly the comedic star of the series right now, it's hard to feel a lot of sympathy for him at the beginning although the casual way Fry dismisses robots as living is a bit humorous. There are a few good gags along the way and yet it feels as though the set up wasn't used to as full a potential as it could have been. The ending is a bit weaker than what had come before as well. The Robot Council admitting their corruption was a problem is the standout joke I take from that episode. Rating: C

A Fishfull of Dollars

I love the premise of this episode of Fry collecting all the interest on his bank account. The opening with ads in dreams and shopping is great. Mom is a so-so character but it is the eldest son who sounds and looks a bit like Vincent Price who is the standout to me of that group. I do feel bad though that Fry loses all his money over nothing which returns things to status quo but it irks me and I feel bad for the guy even if he doesn't seem all that bothered by it. After the strong beginning though, the episode is just hit and miss for me. Rating: C

My Three Suns

A rather forgettable episode. I can detail the plot for you but it's hard to think of any big laughs from this episode aside from Dr. Zoidberg regretting he had seconds and Bender making Amy cry at the end. It's also the third time now where Fry has had to make up with a friend. First its Bender in the third episode, then Bender and Leela in the 6th episode and now Leela in this episode. It's already starting to become tiresome. Rating: D

A Big Piece of Garbage

This is the episode where I realized how different Futurama could be from The Simpsons. If they want to parody a movie like Armageddon, the setting and world is far more flexible to do it than in The Simpsons. Which is funny since it has a sort of Bart Simpson cameo in it. A pretty solid episode with a lot of great gags and a new foil in Wernstrom. I did like the solution to how the problem was solved. Just an overall solid job of making some great jokes around the set-up and material. Of all the episodes I've seen of Futurama, I think I've somehow ended up watching this one the most. This might have been my 5 or 6th viewing. Rating: B

Hell is Other Robots

Ugh. Maybe this is why I stopped following Futurama in its beginning. I remembered not liking it but not why so I was interested to re-watch it. Big mistake! This episode is terrible. While the premise of Bender becoming well mannered seems like it could create some laughs, there were maybe two times I smiled in this episode. For the most part, my expression was probably slack-jawed incredulousness at what the writers were thinking when they wrote this or how it ever made the air. The episode just keeps getting worse and worse until the absolute nadir of when the characters sing a song about robot hell. I was ready to just stop it and walk away but I hung on until the bitter end to get nothing. I know Bender flies out of Hell but I can't recall anything that happens after the hatch closes. Different plot points raise so many questions about why things happen yet the characters just go from one scene to the next just because they happen that way. A complete mishmash. Rating: F

A Flight To Remember

A Titanic parody because everyone in the end of the 90's had to do Titanic jokes and parodies because of that behemoth of a movie. Despite what could be a tired premise, this episode actually holds up pretty well and gives most of the characters some great moments. My most favorite thing of this episode has to be Hermes and the limbo. That has me laughing again already. Even with Titanic now a distant pop culture phenomenon, the episode fits quite well into the Futurama universe and one can almost imagine it being written for this show anyways even if the movie Titanic never existed. Maybe I'm rating it a bit high after the last episode but... Hermes. Rating: B

Mars University

A sort of random episode. Bender helping the frat had a redundant feeling of Homer Goes to College which was a blending of Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds anyways. Still, it did make me laugh so I guess there's a reason shows and other stories keep referencing that material although the Fry vs Gunter material was stronger. I do love the gag of the elephant appearing out of nowhere. Ranking: B

When Aliens Attack

It's funny how a show about the future seems to just be so full of 90's references and pop culture. In this case, the Ally McBeal just lends the episode a dated feeling and the jokes or comments about TV didn't really work for me. The middle is probably my favorite part when Zap shows up and McNeal is trying save his own life. Last episode made a joke about FOX and this one then made a couple more. When you watch a few shows in a row like this, things like that stand out and make the writing seem a bit weaker. Rating: C

Fry and the Slurm Factory

I remember watching this episode when it first aired years ago and while I may have forgotten the dialogue, I've always remembered the plot. Thus, I already knew Slurm's secret. I remember laughing a lot at the Oompah-Loompah jokes and I was pleased to see they hold up well after all these years. The strength of that element is enough to recommend this episode. I also enjoyed how no one had any mercy towards Slurms McKenzie and it was a pretty good parody of the film. Yet, I feel like the episode lacks something especially in the last act when you already know the secret. I feel like if it was the first time I was watching this, I'd give it an A but on re-viewings like this and compared to other episodes, I'm going with how I felt and giving it a B. Rating: B

Season 1 Overall Rating: C

Without worrying about doing an average of my scores, I'm just going with how everything felt to me. The season and show seemed to start out strong with a lot of energy and excitement about this world but then that excitement began to peter out a bit and the season cratered for me in the middle but then rebounded and ended with a few strong episodes. I had someone warn me that they felt the later seasons of 6 and 7 may have had or relied on too many parodies but I countered that the show has always seemed to do a lot of parodies from the beginning and Season 1 definitely backs me up on that point. To the show's credit, the parodies are pretty strong and are probably the better episodes of the season even. It's just a shame that with all the possibilities that the show seems to offer at the beginning, it then relies so much on mimicking and parodying so many other properties. Still, having seen other episodes of the show, I know the setting of this world will be used for greater things.(At least I hope so when I eventually get to them again.) Plus, most first seasons of a TV show are usually a bit rough and uneven so I shouldn't be too surprised at this being the case with Futurama as well. On to season 2!

Dan Laser:
And now I have the Robot Hell song in my head.

When I started rewatching the series last year, I enjoyed seeing how characters and certain stories were introduced. Not having watched it for a while, I was surprised to see how early some them actually appeared in the show and Nibbler’s shadow is really in the first episode. And yes, the voices were really weird at first!

The moon episode would be one of my favourites. I remember liking “I, Roommate” and “A Big Piece of Garbage” too. “A Fishfull of Dollars” had some good laughs, but I did feel sorry for Fry too. I don’t really remember much about the “My Three Suns” or “Fear of a Bot Planet” episodes, which might make sense given your ratings of them.


--- Quote from: Dan Laser on March 26, 2015, 09:01:10 PM ---And now I have the Robot Hell song in my head.

--- End quote ---

How can you have that song stuck in your head? I can't remember a thing about. I can only remember some of the animation. I'm still in shock over how horrible it was. Maybe that's just me.

--- Quote ---and Nibbler’s shadow is really in the first episode.

--- End quote ---

Really? Where? Of course, I wasn't looking for him and forgot he even existed until the 4th episode but I'm just kind of curious about when in the episode it happens.

--- Quote ---The moon episode would be one of my favourites. I remember liking “I, Roommate” and “A Big Piece of Garbage” too. “A Fishfull of Dollars” had some good laughs, but I did feel sorry for Fry too. I don’t really remember much about the “My Three Suns” or “Fear of a Bot Planet” episodes, which might make sense given your ratings of them.

--- End quote ---

Yay! I'm not out to lunch here with my views.

Also, just to derail this thread for a moment, looks like I was wrong about Better Call Saul. Jimmy did work at HHM. A pretty strong episode that I thought was starting to tie a lot of things together and is now giving a better picture of what may happen in the Chuck and HHM conflict.

"No fair! You changed the outcome by measuring it!"


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