The History of FuturamaFuturama was born in March 1999 as an offshoot of the Simpson’s. It was created by Matt Groening, who developed it with David X. Cohen for Fox. Unfortunately, Fox put it on at the end of football games, which meant that it was pre-empted or started in progress more often than not. And so, for four years, the show limped along with episodes being shown in parts, out of order, or not at all. Still, the show found an audience. Thus, when the show was essentially killed when Fox refused to pick it up again in 2004, Comedy Central picked it up for four direct-to-video films, which would then be broken up into episodes. Those proved so popular that another 26 episodes were made to take the series through 2013 before it was cancelled.
What Is FuturamaFuturama is the story of Philip J. Fry, a pizza delivery boy who delivers a pizza to a cryogenics lab and ends up accidentally frozen for a thousand years. He emerges to find a completely unexpected future. All of humanity has been brought together under one government... an incompetent government run by the head of Richard Nixon. Humans and robots and aliens live side by side in harmony... with periodic bouts of belligerence and tons of crime and other vices. And little else has changed.
Why This Cartoon RocksFuturama works on so many levels:
● At the top level, it’s a cutely drawn cartoon with funny robots and creatures, lots of comedic punch lines, and cartoon-violence. The kids will love it, even though the show is probably too adult for kids in its themes.
The writers also bring in lots of familiar ideas from the present, which one would think wouldn’t make it to the future, such as the idea that a condo being in New Jersey rather than New New York makes it as bad as a condo into which sewage leaks, or Atlanta (which sinks into the ocean) being an airline hub, or rap music being “the classics.”
In episode after episode, liberal sacred cows get slaughtered. The UN (now DOOP) proves to be cowardly, incompetent, and wrongly conquers a planet. Bureaucrats are brought down by their own obsessions with procedure. Environmentalists and vegetarians are idiots and hypocrites. Etc. Leela too is constantly trying to be a good liberal, but gives it up in every episode when it interferes with her ability to solve problems.
● Next, there is a strong emotional layer in this show. There are episode, like the one where Fry’s dog dies waiting for him, which will make you cry.
● Finally, you have the heart of this show... the nerd jokes. Futurama is crawling with scientific and philosophical jokes as well as references to nerd culture, such as science fiction and Dungeons and Dragons. Whole episodes are based around these nerd jokes. And these are subtle; they are not explained. For example, in one episode, Bender is describing a nightmare he had:
Bender: Whoa, what an awful dream. Ones and zeros everywhere. And I thought I saw a two.
This is why this show works: it offers something at every level – from childish humor, to more clever humor, to social satire, to truly deep jokes that require some knowledge to fully understand. But since each level is presented with equal earnestness, this show can be enjoyed by anyone. It is unique, it is clever, and it has strong characters. It's also amazingly quotable.... "I know where you live!"... "I'm gonna buy you so many lizards!"... "Bite my shiny metal ass!"... "How can the power go out? I live in the future!"... "Death by snu snu!"... etc.