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.
Futurama opened its seventh season with two episodes on Wednesday night. Using futuristic settings to bring a satirical commentary on current popular culture, the show seems as good as ever. In its second season on Comedy Central, it seems more likely than ever that it will enjoy success for years to come.
The hour opened with a hilariously overblown red alert from Professor Farnsworth summoning the Planet Express crew. As it turns out, he installed a new soda machine. The crew was thrilled. This opening scene was very enjoyable and loyal to the usual dynamic of the group having disproportionate emotional reactions to what is happening around them. This seemed from the start like it was going to be a great episode.
On Monday, Simpsons writer Al Jean wrote a letter to The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences asking them to consider reworking the organization of Emmy nominations. In it, he criticized the lack of recognition for the individual achievements in animation. According to Emmy rules, a show nominated in the animation category cannot also be nominated for a writing award. The Academy’s reason for this is apparently because of the collaborative efforts in animation. If the show so chooses, it can be nominated in the comedy category. Jean took issue with this, citing that NBC’s Community was given a one-time exception to this rule. Because it was a significant format change, it could technically be classified as a standalone special. I saw it and it did not seem like a standalone special to me. Besides, Jean is right. Animation may be collaborative, but so is everything else in television.
This rule seems to ignore the hard work that multiple writers invest into an animated show. Animation is just as legitimate as the live action medium. Of course, it is a newer format, but that should not make it any less respected. The production of an animated series is much harder than that of a live action series. The writing is certainly not any easier. It makes no sense to have to ignore either one of these achievements.