on 2 February 2003
Most people assume that the future will be better than the present. Not so in Futurama. Even a thousand years from now, politicians are still crooked, the Internet is still full of porn and people are just as stupid as they ever were. Maybe even slightly more so.
Futurama is Simpsons creator Matt Groening's second animated show, crashing together the worlds of Star Trek and Springfield in a fast-paced comedy that combines social satire, farce, movie spoofs and hot alien chicks. Loser delivery boy Fry is accidentally frozen on New Year's Eve 1999, getting thawed out a millennium later just in time to see in the year 3000 - in his new job as, you guessed it, a delivery boy. Hooking up with cyclops space captain Leela and surly robot Bender, as well as the other misfit employees of the Planet Express delivery service, Fry gets to experience all the malfunctioning wonders of the 31st Century.
At its best, Futurama is easily as funny as a top-whack episode of The Simpsons - hardly surprising, since many of its writers moved over from Groening's first show. The jokes come just as fast and are every bit as sharp, and each episode stands up to multiple viewings because of the sheer number of sight gags and hidden details tucked away in the background. The writers all appear to be huge science fiction fans as well - spotting every reference, from the obvious to the obscure, is an almost impossible task, but if you get them it's yet another layer of comedy to enjoy.
This boxset actually contains more than the 'official' first season of the show - the four episodes on disc three were held back until the show's second year. Their inclusion here is a definite bonus, bringing the total up to 13. The standard of the shows is so high that it would be far quicker to list the few shows that aren't quite as brilliant as the rest. But, like The Simpsons, even a comparatively weak episode of Futurama is better than 90 percent of the dreck currently found on TV.
The audio commentaries are nearly as entertaining as the episodes, as the various people involved in each are having a great time reminiscing and reliving the jokes. Groening and co-creator David X Cohen also drop in nuggets about early ideas for the show and point out hidden details that will be paid off years down the line. The deleted scenes were all dropped for reasons of time rather than lack of humour, so are worth watching. Audio is just stereo, but the picture is crystal-clear and full of vivid colours - far sharper than the first Simpsons boxset, probably down to Futurama's extensive use of computer graphics.
A lot of people didn't give Futurama a chance purely on the grounds that it's "sci-fi". In reality, there's usually more science in a L'Oreal advert - it's a comedy, and a bloody good one at that. You owe it to yourself to take a trip into the world of tomorrow!
on 10 February 2002
In light of the shabby treatment given to Futurama by the Fox network in the States (and by other networks in other countries as well), I was overjoyed to have the first season of this innovative program finally made available on DVD. I'm the first on my block with a set, and probably the only one in town with one, as it is not available yet here in the States. Go figure! But as Matt Groening says in an interview on one of the discs, if you love science fiction, you'll love this. And if you hate science fiction, you'll love this. One word of caution: Disney it ain't, with suicide booths, a malt liquor-swilling foul-mouthed robot, and some rather adult situations. If you like your toons with an attitude, then go for it! It's well worth the price, and the special features will provide hours of enjoyment.
on 9 January 2002
In my opinion, 'Futurama' is a clear cut front runner for being the best animated TV show ever. Shaking off the shadow of 'the Simpsons' is difficult, but if they have to be compared, 'Futurama' is certainly the more original, witty and imaginative of the two, with a stronger cast of characters and a more inventive context. And, for a pilot series, this is a pretty darn good collection, filled with sharp jokes and some surprisingly poignent moments. So be uncynical and just sit back and enjoy these fantastic adventures of feisty Leela, alcoholic Bender, immature Fry, accident-prone Amy and eccentric Professor Fransworth. Sci-fi and comedy doesn't come any better than this!
on 27 August 2003
When Futurama was first aired on t.v. It always seemed to be on at a time when I was busy doing something else so I just caught fleeting glances of it as it played in the background, my first impression was "The Simpsons in the future".....how wrong I was.
A friend of mine owned the season 1 dvd box set, and being a big fan of The Simpsons I watched the first episode of Futurama at his house, I was instantly hooked and bought the season 1 dvd the very next week.
The story is about a pizza delivery boy called Fry, who, on new years eve 1999 is sent forward through time to the year 3000 due to a cryogenic freezing accident. Fry then looks up his only relative in the year 3000 who happens to be a professor who owns an intergalactic delivery company and Fry ironically once again becomes a delivery boy (a job he hated in 1999, but loves in 3000 because it involves piloting a spaceship).
Fry teams up with Bender, an alcoholic, kleptomaniac, psychopathic robot. Leela, a cycloptic babe who gives up her job to become Fry's delivery-ship captain. His great great great great great etc. nephew (the mad professor). And a host of other great characters as part of the delivery company.
The animation and humour of Futurama are very similar to The Simpsons (which is no bad thing)the razor-sharp wit, sarcasm, irony, and laughs at other people's misfortune are all there.
But where Futurama differs I personally think is in the scope for inventiveness and creativity on the part of Groening and his team, after all no-one knows what the year 3000 will be like.
I think this gives Futurama an edge over The Simpsons because they can create whatever they want......new planets, new gadgets, different species etc. it has a lot more freedom than The Simpsons, and this I beleieve is what will keep Futurama going long after the last episode of The Simpsons (although I hope that never happens).
All in all Futurama is great for anyone who likes The Simpsons style of humour (I personally now prefer it to The Simpsons)or for anyone who enjoys cartoons full stop. A great box set and a fantastic series.....all credit to Matt Groening and his team.
on 1 May 2005
This is the boxset that takes you into the future! Futurama Season one contains the first episodes of this great show, created by Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. Episodes include the famous 'Space Pilot 3000' in which Fry, the main male of the series and a young pizza delivery boy, delivers a pizza on new years eve 1999, unfortunatley enough falls back from a chair and freezes himself for 1000 years. Then he wakes up, in the year 3000. Other episodes include 'Love's Labours Lost in Space,' 'My three suns' and 'Mars University' in which there is a University on Mars- quite obvious from the title, and the University is yet again set around the year 3000. You may have seen these episodes before and want to re-visit them, or maybe you have never seen Futurama before and want to watch the very first episodes. Whatever it is, with these fab graphics and episodes, you won't want to miss a thing.
on 23 February 2002
One of the first things you notice (well, if you are slightly obssessive like me) is how much was edited out by Channel 4.
Because of its early time slot many of more "adult" jokes were snipped so it's great to see it how it was intended.
Many snubbed this series as a poor alternative to The Simpsons, but on repeated viewing it really comes to life.
The gag thickness is superb, with there always being something you missed first time.
Extras are good with missing scenes (although not that many) various scripts and stuff.
But best of all is the commentary.
Although slightly nerdy American prep school, it is fascinating to see how the creators go about creating.
David X Coen also sounds exactly like the comic book man in The Simpsons. Spooky.
on 15 July 2010
Futurama is absolutley amazing. All the charachters are unique and individual. Each character produces different jokes in their own way. Every episode is brilliant and as it is set in the future the idea possibilities are endless. Why did Futurama get canceld!? What a terrible mistake! Curb the Simpsons and bring us more Futurama..
The first Season of Futrama sets the tone and the standard for the seasons that follow, the only negative point is there are only 3 more seasons. Sadly Futurama was cancelled long before its time, it could have potentially been bigger than its sister show, "The Simpsons".
In this boxset we me Phillip J. Fry, the down on his luck delivery boy from the 20th Century, he is acciddently frozen and wakes up in a scary new world full of aliens and robots in the year 3000. With the help of Leela, the cycloptic purple haired alien babe and Bender, the alcoholic, cigar smoking, bending robot he tracks down his great great great... nephew, Prof. Hubert Farnsworth. Prof. Farnsworth gives the 3 a job as delivery guys for his company Planet Express.
The basic plot of the episodes follows the planet express crew, also made up of Amy, the chinese millionaires daughter, Hermes, a jamaican limbo champion who is also the accountant and Dr. Zoidberg, the lobster-like ships doctor.
The stories are always full of laughs and even some emotional moments, just as you would expect from the creators of "The Simpsons". Scenes are constantly stolen by the fantastic Bender and Dr. Zoidberg, probably the best 2 characters on the show, absolutely hilarious.
Don't miss out, buy it now!
on 5 February 2002
At the time of this DVD's release the show is currently in it's third season in the US. Unlike most new animated series the very first look as good as as the new ones. This for a very simple reason: the show was created by Matt Groening and his team who have been bringing us the simpsons for many years so they already had the experience when they started on this show.
This does not mean this series is a lot likle the Simpsons. There are similarities in the type of humor and animation style but this format is slightly more adult oriented and the jokes go beyond the PG level from time to time (though not too much). In general you can asume that if you like the Simpsons you will like this too. It's not trying to cross borers like South Park or mind blowingly stupid like Beavis & Butthead. It's good clean sci-fi humor with a hint of naughtyness - not a catagory often found I might add.
Going into details on the story line is beyond the point as there are too many good ones and it's amazing what they are able to fit into a twenty minute episode! In short boy is frozen and wakes in the year 3000. There he meets a beer drinking robot, a one eyed alien girl, a hidious lobster creature, an insane elderly relative and your typical dumb blonde that's not blonde but Japanese and born on Mars. They have many adventures delivering packages where no man has boldly delivered packages before.
on 7 January 2003
As Matt Groening himself admits, first seasons of TV shows are particularly difficult, but when the show is set 1000 years in the future things are even trickier. This was the task set for the shows on these three DVDs. The shows meet the challenge admirably.
The pilot episode ('Space Pilot 3000') is the introduction of loveable loser delivery boy Fry, the suicidal alcoholic renegade bending robot Bender, the morally upstanding cycloptic alien Leela and Fry's 164 year old nephew Professor Farnsworth. The pacing of the first show is utterly superb and any budding comedy writers like myself will be extremely impressed by the sheer amount of plot that is stored in these 23 minutes.
The season continues at such a high pace, but the viewer is never left wondering what just happened. The other main appeal of Futurama is that it being set 1000 years in the future allow the writers the freedom to alter standard Sci-Fi plotlines. In particular, the episodes, 'Love's Labours Lost in Space' (the introduction of my favourite character, Zapp Brannigan), 'My Three Suns' and 'When Aliens Attack' give novel spins on old Sci-Fi ideas.
The amount of features is equally excellent. There is an insightful commentary to each episode, an animatic for the Pilot episode, and a couple of featurettes. The only criticism perhaps is the slightly clunky menu system.
It's well worth buying whether you're a Sci-Fi fan or not. Fans of good comedy would be well advised to buy this now.
on 6 March 2008
DO not expect "the simpsons in space" with Futurama- the humour is more adult and darker, the setting is not cosy, like the simpsons' suburb. I think the feel of the show was founded in the first episode with Fry walking into a suicide booth, thinking it was a phonebox. The animation is excellent-3D is mixed with Matt Goerning's distinctive style, making the show very appealing visually (except the bits with Zoidberg in- he's intentionally disgusting).
The sci-fi references are numerous, but you don't have to be a big sci-fi fan to enjoy Futurama, in fact, you can laugh at the genre with this show. In the audio commentary (which is availible on every episode and is very good) Goerning explains that the futurama universe is a mixture of dystopian and utopian elements (both are lampooned of course), meaning that the futuristic setting is, well, alot like is is now. Although the Simpson is increasingly relying on farce and fantasy for its plot, which is unbelieveable in the setting, futurama is believeable, despite being pure fantasy.