Author Archives: Al Mannarino
Tina Fay, Amy Poehler, Kristin Wiig, and Jason Sudeikis. These are just some of the many talented comedians who have become household names through Saturday Night Live. They have all left the show and become successful film and television stars. The newest actor to have his own series is Andy Samberg. Samberg is already a talented recording artist thanks to his comedic rap group phenomenon The Lonely Island. Now, he is going back to television.
After fourteen years, seven seasons, four movies, a cancellation, and a rebirth, Futurama has aired is series finale on Comedy Central. It has been a long and strange journey for the Planet Express crew, but that journey has finally reached its end. For those of you who haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, I suggest you stop reading here because this review contains spoilers.
“Meanwhile” started with a trip down memory lane, as the Planet Express crew delivered a package to the Moon. This of course is an ode to the crew’s first delivery from the second episode in the series. While on the moon, Leela is sucked into space and lost forever. Fry decides he can’t live without her and decided to marry her. The Professor invents a “Time Button” that allows you to go back in time ten seconds. He uses the seemingly useless device to play a trick on Zoidberg, but Fry realizes he can use the time button for his proposal.
Fry uses the button to get the perfect ring for Leela and tells her to meet him at the top of the Vampire State Building with her answer. When she doesn’t show up, Fry attempts to jump off the building only to realize his watch was wrong and Leela was on time. Fry falls into a time loop, which has him splattering on the pavement over and over again. While attempting to save them, the Professor is killed. It isn’t until Bender comes to the rescue with his air bag. The plan backfires, as Fry is saved, but he destroys the time button leaving everyone in the world frozen in time.
Ten years after creating one of the most recognized television families of all time, Matt Groening and company introduced us to a new kind of animated series. Futurama had a few similarities to The Simpsons. They both aired Sunday nights on Fox. The type of design and animation were similar. They even contained the same pop-culture referencing humor that has become synonymous with current generation comedies, such as South Park and v. Although they shared a few similarities, Futurama was very different from The Simpsons.
The Simpsons was and will always be one of Fox’s most beloved and successful series. Futurama may never reach that status, but it will go down as one of the funniest and original programs that Fox had the audacity to cancel after only four (almost five) seasons. Luckily after a successful string of straight to DVD releases, Comedy Central resurrected the cult series for four more seasons.
With the final episode airing this week, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit some of the things that made Futurama the under-appreciated heartwarming show that it is. Starting with some of the soul crushingly sad moments from the shows impressive seven-season run that spanned over fourteen years.
The series finale of Futurama airs on Comedy Central this Wednesday at 10 pm
5. When Fry is Late to Dinner with Leila Because of Time Travel
Season 6, Episode 7: “The Late Phillip J. Fry”
Fry never has any luck with time travel. One of the latest examples was in last season’s episode “The Late Phillip J. Fry.” Professor Farnsworth invents a time machine and before a date with Leela for her birthday and Fry, Bender, and the Professor end up going on an adventure through time. Unfortunately for Fry, the Professor fails to invent away to go back in time, only forward. They continue to travel further in time until they kind find a year where backwards time travel exists.
Back in the present, Leela is stood up by Fry, and is never seen again. The audience sees a dismal future that does not contain Fry, Bender, and the Professor. Leela’s future is successful, but loveless. She is mad at Fry for leaving and not explaining why. Years have passed a birthday card appears out of nowhere and hits future Leela in the face. The card is from Fry and it explains why he disappeared. Leela goes back to the restaurant and leaves a message for Fry to hopefully see in the future. Fry sees the heartfelt message left by Leela and says, “I made it, Leela. Sorry I’m a billion years late.”
Fry, Bender, and the Professor are unable to find away back to their time. They travel to the end of time and watch the destruction of the universe, only to realize the universe keeps restarting in a non-stop loop. By going further in time, they could get back to the time before they left. They come back in time to kill and replace themselves (avoiding a time paradox, according to the Professor). Fry gets to go on his date with Leela, and everything is right with the world.
Nine nominations is not a fluke, it’s something to brag about. The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honored House of Cards with nine nominations including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Kevin Spacey) and Outstanding Drama Series. Not too bad for a series that a majority of television viewers have never heard of.
How could this be? How could a show with such amazing talent, near perfect writing, and incredible pacing be overlooked? Surely this show is on a major network during a competing time slot; going against programs like Breaking Bad. The truth is, this show has no competition and doesn’t need a time slot. All one needs is a Netflix account and a device to stream it through. This allows them to have access to every episode of the first season of House of Cards and another fantastic show called Orange is the New Black.
The dangerous part of having access to full seasons of a program is a new addiction that comes with owning an account to Netflix or Hulu, most commonly known as “binge-watching”. Binge-watching occurs when you have total access to a program and you sit around all day and night until suddenly you realize hours have passed and you’ve watched 13 episodes of a show. Here in lies a problem that major networks like Fox and NBC are facing. There is no doubt the instant streaming has infiltrated every house hold and has changed they way people catch up on programming. There is no doubt that networks are using DVR and on-demand to their advantage, but what programs are left to record?