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.
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.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, this is the full Fox Fall Schedule with new shows in ALL CAPS.
Wednesday, Sept. 12
8-10 p.m. The X Factor (Season premiere, part one)
Thursday, Sept. 13
8-9 p.m. The X Factor (season premiere, part two)
9-10 p.m. Glee
The rest of Fox’s Fall 2012 schedule is after the jump.