Matt Groening's second series of the 31st century sci-fi sitcom Futurama
maintained the high scripting standards of the first as well bringing improved digital animation. Couch potato Fry now seems thoroughly reconciled to his new existence, transported 10 centuries hence to "New New York" and working for Professor Farnsworth's delivery service. He's surrounded by a cast of freaks, including the bitchily cute Amy (with whom he has a romantic brush) and Hermes, the West Indian bureaucrat. Most sympathetic is the one-eyed Leela (voiced by Katey Sagal). Like Lisa Simpson, she is brilliant but unappreciated; she finds solace in her pet Nibbler, a tiny creature with a voracious, carnivorous appetite. By contrast, Bender, the robot, is programmed with every human vice, a sort of metal Homer Simpson with a malevolent streak.
In one of the best episodes, Bender is given a "feelings" chip in order to empathise with Leela after he flushes Nibbler down the toilet. Elsewhere, Fry falls in love with a Mermaid when the team discover the lost city of Atlanta, Fry and Bender end up going to war after they join the army to get a discount on gum, and John Goodman guest stars as Santa Claus, an eight-foot gun-toting robot. Brimful with blink-and-you'll-miss-them hip jokes (such as the sign for the Taco Bellevue hospital) and political and pop satire, Futurama isn't a stern warning of things to come but rather, as the programme-makers put it, "a brilliant, hilarious reflection of our own materially (ridiculously) over-developed but morally under-developed society."
On the DVD: Futurama's four-disc package presents the show in 4:3 with a Dolby Digital soundtrack. Among the many extras here are audio commentaries, storyboards, trailers, mock ads for "Soylent Chow" and "Human Rinds" and deleted scenes, including one from "Bender Gets Made" in which he seeks to evade the Robot Mafia by changing his identity. --David Stubbs
The complete second series of Matt Groening's futuristic animated comedy, following 20th-century slacker and pizza delivery boy Philip J. Fry in his adventures as a 31st Century interstellar delivery boy along with cyclopean Captain Leela, Bender the boozy robot, Professor Hubert Farnsworth, Doctor Zoidberg, and Captain Zapp Brannigan. Episodes comprise: 'I Second That Emotion', 'Brannigan Begin Again', 'A Head in the Polls', 'Xmas Story', 'Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love?', 'Lesser of Two Evils', 'Put Your Head On My Shoulder', 'Raging Bender', 'A Bicyclops Built for Two', 'A Clone of My Own', 'How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back', 'The Deep South', 'Bender Gets Made', 'Mother's Day', 'The Problem With Popplers'. 'Anthology of Interest I', 'War Is the H-Word', 'The Honking' and 'The Cryonic Woman'.