Futurama: Season One
If youve ever wanted a comical look into the future (1000 years into
the future to be exact), you could start by checking out Futurama, from Simpsons
creator Matt Groening.
In the year 1999, Fry is a miserable pizza delivery boy who wishes for nothing
more than a better life. One night, he accidentally steps into a cryogenic freezing
chamber and awakens exactly 1000 years later. After escaping from those who
want to permanently implant a delivery boy chip into his hand, he seeks out
his closest living relative, befriends a one-eyed alien and becomes an intergalactic
The show then follows the various adventures of Fry and his companions in the
13 episodes that make up season one.
Obviously trying to recreate the success of The Simpsons, Futurama features
the same kind of humor, but is not as well written. Some episodes are definitely
very amusing and rival The Simpsons in cleverness, but overall it doesnt
deliver as consistently (although in all fairness, The Simpsons took a couple
of seasons to really find its feet)
Fry & The Slurm Factory is quite possibly the most enjoyable
of the lot, parodying Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Fry wins a tour
of the Slurm factory, but is horrified to discover the secret ingredient. The
weakest is probably The Series Has Landed, the second episode of
the season, which finds the crew on the moon. It means well enough, but its
just not overly funny.
Trying to give us everything we love about The Simpsons, the opening to Futurama
even features a varying element, much like The Simpsons couch gag and
chalkboard. When the title comes across the screen, we get a different subtext
every time, such as In Color or In Astro-Vision. Again,
its not as clever as the oft-mentioned Simpsons, but its a noble
Before it sounds like were putting down Futurama, we should say that
it is an entertaining enough show (infinitely more so than most of the crap
on TV). Its hard to put aside time to watch it every Sunday night when
it doesnt always deliver, but now that its on DVD and we can watch
it when we want, its that much more satisfying. Fans of the show should
not hesitate to pick up this set.
Especially when the presentation is so good. Few TV shows get this kind of
treatment, including The Simpsons.
Presented in full screen, unfortunatetly in this time of changeover to widescreen
HDTV, the picture is actually pretty good. We wouldnt expect reference
quality here, so the fact that its as good as it is makes us happy enough.
Its clean, and looks better than it does on television, so we cant
complain. The audio should have been 5.1 Dolby Digital, but is only 2.0 surround.
Again, we cant really complain since this is merely a TV show, but its
still nice to have the best possible sound. Obviously, the rear surrounds are
never used, but the front channels are used very effectively. Most of what you
want is in the dialogue, and you can always hear it perfectly clearly, so at
least you get what you need. But being a semi-sci-fi kind of show, it probably
could have benefited greatly from a 5.1 track to use during the space or action
Extras include an audio commentary for all 13 episodes by Matt Groening and
select other cast & crew members (but not the same for every commentary),
deleted scenes on select episodes (all of which should have been left in the
show), animatics, scripts and storyboards for the pilot, a concept art gallery,
and a very short (less than 5 minutes) but amusing featurette.
This is a very nice presentation; now if only we can get the rest of The Simpsons
Futurama: The Complete First Season, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
299 minutes, 1.33:1 full screen, Dolby Digital 2.0 surround
Starring Billy West, Katey Segal, John Dimaggio
Created by Matt Groening and David X. Cohen
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think